Iowa Heritage Digital Collections
State Library of Iowa

061_Washington School


061_Washington 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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59 Management program for K-4 as well as participating in a Title III learning disabilities, K-3 program. The school is eligible for Title I funding and therefore has Title I Reading, K-6 and Title I Mathematics, K-4. They also have a career education program. Principals who have served at Wallace are: 1909-1913 Cora Parr 1913 - 1915 Ella Malone 1915 - 1918 Julia Beah 1918-1933 Mrs. Belle McConnell Knisley 1933 - 1936 Anna Stohlgren 1936 - 1960 Leona Wilcox 1960 - 1965 Ann Schott 1965 - 1972 Lester Rees 1972 - Robert McGraw WASHINGTON SCHOOL 1 East Hartford Ave. Grades K-6 Dates of construction -1874 1910 1914 1941 Site - 2.0 acres Until 1874, the children of south Des Moines attended a school at 9th and Locust. During 1874 and early 1875 work was progressing on the first wing of George Washington School. This fine brick building of four rooms was the first unit of more than the typical one room school to serve the area south of the Raccoon River. This area was part of the original school district of Des Moines. The school was located on Hillside Avenue, half way up the hill so that it would be safe from the rampaging floods that plagued the southern bottom land. Pupils came from all of south Des Moines and Sevastopol. In 1880, six years after the original building was erectetd, two rooms were added. In 1890 two more rooms were built on, making it possible to accomodate seventh and eighth grade pupils who previously had been compelled to walk to the old Lincoln building at 9th and Mulberry for all their schooling beyond the sixth grade. In 1898 a separate building was erected for use as a kindergarten. The entire building was remodeled in 1909 and four large classrooms, a principal's office and other facilities added. By this process, the schoolhouse that had once faced Hillside now faced Hartford Avenue. As Washington grew and more ground was needed, the property to the west on Hillside was purchased from Owen Cunningham, father of Nelle Cunningham. Miss Cunningham was a teacher at Washington from 193 3- 1939, assistant principal from 1939-1942 and principal from 1956 until retirement in 1963. At one time Washington was the third largest elementary school in the city with an enrollment of 550. Over-crowding was relieved when McKinley School was built in 1904. Enrollment was again reduced when St. Anthony's was built in 1912. Fire in 1941 destroyed the original four rooms. This part was razed and replaced by the present gymnasium. Washington has housed a number of second and third generation of Italian-American children from fine families that have lived in this neighborhood. Wallace (Photograph) Washington (Photograph) Watrous (Photograph) Willard (Photograph)