Archive for Wednesday, April 26, 2006

School district to celebrate 140th birthday in May 2006

April 26, 2006

This year, the Tonganoxie school district -- and the city of Tonganoxie -- will be 140 years old.

According to information provided by Susy Ross of the Tonganoxie Historic Society, District 28 was organized in 1866.

The city of Tonganoxie was established in July 1866 after Magdalena Bury bought 40 acres from the Union Pacific Railroad. She convinced the town's early settlers to name the city Tonganoxie.

Tonganoxie was a Delaware Indian who in the early to mid-1800s ran a government-built two-story lodge where travelers could stop.

Tonganoxie's first school was in a log cabin. But the next one -- the forerunner to today's Unified School District No. 464, was a more modern structure built near the present elementary school. It's cost: $300.

In 1870, the district built a better school. It was between Third and Fourth streets on Shawnee and was made of brick. The building cost $5,000 in bonds the first year, and another $1,000 the second year. The school district had a three-member school board and its first principal.

In 1897 this building was torn down and a new building constructed on the same site. The first Tonganoxie High School graduation was in 1901, held in Laming Hall, downtown.

In 1910 Tonganoxie Rural High School was built and the 1897 building became a grade school. In about 1925, the gymnasium was added to the high school. This gymnasium, which today is at the north end of the grade school, is still in use.

In 1954 the grade school was torn down and the central area of the current grade school was built. In 1961, the south wing of the grade school was added. And in 1964, the district built the new high school on U.S. Highway 24-40.

The old high school was used as a junior high from 1964 until 1987 when the current junior high school opened.

In 1975, the science wing was added to the high school and a fourth-grade wing added to the grade school.

In 1987, the kindergarten room and a sixth-grade wing was added to the grade school. Also in 1987, the new junior high was built on 24-40 near the high school and the 1910 high school building, with the exception of the gymnasium, was torn down.

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