Iowa Heritage Digital Collections
State Library of Iowa

023_Other Suburban Districts


023_Other Suburban Districts


This is a page from the collection "Bicentennial Reflections: History of Des Moines Public Schools, 1876-1976" by Dr. Robert R. Denny, published by the Des Moines Public Schools in Des Moines, Iowa in 1976.

Digital Reproduction Information

JPEG scanned at 600 dpi resolution on an Epson Expression 10000XL Scanner

File Name

Page013Other Suburban Districts.jpg


13 The East Des Moines schools hired subject area supervisors to assist in the improvement of instruction. They maintained a special teacher in drawing as well as a supervisor of physical culture who was also an accomplished gymnast. They also had a supervisor of music on the staff.. Some of the old reports reflect the stress that was laid upon school attendance for those enrolled, as well as the matter of punctuality. The following figures were reported: The percentage of attendance to number belonging was in 1886--90.30 and in 1896--95.80, The percentage of punctuality was in the former year 99.4 and the last year 99.8. Other Suburban Districts It was recognized that the West Des Moines School District was the largest of the so-called urban districts serving this area. The second largest, of course, was the East Des Moines School District. In addition there were a number of other neighborhood school districts and indeed many of these were separate political entities that were later merged into the forming of the City of Des Moines. One of these districts was the Capitol Park School System which was organized April 4, 1874. It was the area in and around Union Park and Grand View College, to give a general geographical location. Its property consisted of the Capitol Park High School which is still retained in the old part of the present Wallace School at E. 13th and Polk (now Washington). The high school was located on the top floor of the building. This building is pictured below. Also in the Capitol Park School System were these units: Whittier School at E. 14th and Washington; Grand View School at E. 9th and Hull; (Cattell) and Logan School E. 17th and Garfield as well as a wooden school known as Pleasant Corner. A report states as follows about this district; "Probably no district in the state of the size and wealth of Capital Park can make a better showing. Many of the best citizens of the Park have served on the board of education and given freely of their time and services." Capital Park High School was accredited by the NCA in 1905. Certainly this was no small indication of the educational institution that they maintained. In football Capital Park High School had an outstanding record. They played the usual high schools in Des Moines, East High and West High. They also ranged out over the state and played Waterloo High School and Ottumwa High School plus a high school in Chicago, as well as Highland Park College. Unfortunately when they played Highland Park College in 1903 the College score was 33 and Capital Park was 6. They fared somewhat better when they played the Ft. Des Moines cavalry troop team. This was the regular U. S. Army stationed at Ft. Des Moines. The score in 1905 was Capital Park High School, 86 and Ft. Des Moines Cavalry, 0. A report from that game was as follows: "The cavalry men were much heavier but were unskilled in the art of football." Duties of Early Board Members A note should be said in passing about the duties of the early members of the board of education in the 1800's and continuing into the early 1900's. This was an era in which the school superintendency had not emerged as a strong leadership role for the piloting of the school system, as it were, over the rough shoals of controversy. The superintendent's role of updating programs and carrying out curriculum improvement that we now have in the last half of the 20th century had not been perceived. Board members of these early times participated vigorously, enthusiastically and directly in the affairs of running the school district. They had committees in which they took charge of the affairs of that area. Typical of the standing committees in most of these districts were those that are listed in the 1897 report of the East Des Moines School District. The standing committees were: 1. Buildings and grounds 3. Finance 5. Janitors 2. Instruction 4. Supplies 6. Printing Kirkwood SchooL (Photograph) 27th and Clark Lincoln SchooL (Photograph) 9th and Mulberry Longfellow School (Photograph) E. 7th and Maple Logan SchooL (Photograph) E. 17th and Garfield