Iowa Heritage Digital Collections
State Library of Iowa

039_Howe School


039_Howe School


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.

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37 HOWE SCHOOL S.E. 7th and Indianola Grades K-6 Dates of construction-1919 One-fourth 1925 One-fourth 1951 One-fourth 1957 One-fourth Site-4.3 acres Howe School in its present location replaced the old frame building located at S.E. 7th and Davis. The "old" Howe was known originally as Sevastopol School which took its name from the area. The school honors the name of Julia Ward Howe famed author of the words of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." A former student of the 1890's, O. J. Potthoff, has written of Mrs. Howe's visit to the school: "Mrs. Howe visited the Howe School and I remember her very well but I don't just remember what year it was-somewhere around 1895 or 1896. The class sang her song and she seemed quite pleased." One night during the Civil War, Julie Ward Howe, fell asleep in her Washington hotel with the melody of a southern camp meeting tune ringing in her ears. Later she awoke, rose and wrote the words of what became, "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." She said the words seemed to come to her as a revelation. This song captured the minds and hearts of the northern armies and was sung as a marching tune. Even President Lincoln enjoyed singing it. After the war, Mrs. Howe became a women's suffrage leader and continued to write, turning out travel books, essays and poetry. But no poem she wrote ever again reached the heights of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic". In 1882 the Julia Ward Howe School was opened with only two rooms for pupils up to the fourth grade. The older children had to go to Washington School. Mr. Parish was the first principal of both Washington and Howe schools. By the mid-1970's enrollment pressures at Howe Elementary have been eased by the enlargement of Jackson to a full elementary unit as well as the construction of Lovejoy Elementary School and the boundary adjustments with Granger. It uses an undepartmentalized program for grades K-4 and has a six-unit plan A for grades 5 and 6. It has a family learning center as a part of the adult education outreach. HOWE IN THE 1970s Howe has worked hard to keep pace with the many improvements in education and had added many programs to meet the needs of its students. In 1970 the old auditorium was converted to an instructional media center becoming the first of its type in the elementary schools. This is an area where all types of media are consolidated for student use such as books, magazines, filmstripes, tapes, T.V., 16mm films, overhead transparencies, cassettes, etc. As Des Moines grew so did the traffic on Indianola Road and for safety purposes a new crossover was constructed in 1971. Parents accepted it with reservations but it has proved to be a beneficial addition to Howe. In 1972 a program called SPURT (Special Program Utilizing a Resource Teacher) was added and it helped mildly handicapped in LD, ED, and EMR. This was a state financed program that is now a Des Moines district supported program. Then in 1973 a family learning program was initiated and this was an adult education concept to improve adult education through workshops and child/parent relationships. In 1974 still another program got off the ground and it was titled Therapeutic Learning Center which is designed for emotionally disturbed children in cooperation with Orchard Place. Principals who have served at Howe include: 1907 - 1908 Loretta Blake 1908 - 1909 Iva Scott 1909 - 1913 Elizabeth Culbertson 1913 - 1915 Jeanette Mills 1915 - 1939 Alice Bradshaw 1939 - 1946 Edna L. E. Peterson 1946 - 1949 Kenneth Rouse 1949 - 1955 Merle Wilson 1955 - 1963 Paul Pace 1963 - Nov. 1965 Lucile Truitt Nov. 1965 William Molleck Hoak (Photograph) Howe (Photograph) Hubbell (Photograph) Jackson (Photograph)