Iowa Heritage Digital Collections
State Library of Iowa

026_Casady and Cattell Schools


026_Casady and Cattell Schools


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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CASADY SCHOOL 16th Street and Jefferson
Grades K-6 Dates of Construction 1905--One third; 1926 --One ninth; 1953 - Five-ninths
Site - 4.2 acres This building honors the memory of Phineas M. Casady who was appointed postmaster in 1847 by President Polk. At this time the name of the post office was changed from "Raccoon Forks" to "Fort Des Moines." There were 31 houses, 23 families amd 107 people in residence in the town. Mr. Casady was a lawyer, state senator in the Second General Assemby, school fund commissioner for Iowa and a banker. He lived to be 92 years old and was one of the grand men of Iowa. The south end of the school building was built in 1905. There were three more classrooms in the original Casady School than in the present south section. The southwest corner of the building was torn down because it was sinking and thus tilting the rest of the structure. The sinking was attributed to either quick sand or a former coal mine in the vicinity. An old report states that there were ten teachers when Casady opened in 1895. The neighborhood was an 'elite' area at that time. In February, 1948, Casady suffered an extensive fire in the south wing. At the time workmen were remodeling the toilets. The fire was first noticed when it became dark enough for the neigbors to see the reflections of the flames. The south part had to be completely rebuilt. The newest section to the north was opened for classes in January, 1953. The very latest ideas in construction were incorporated into this addition. Television classes were added in the 1960's. In 1865 a hot lunch program was begun.
Casady in the mid-1970's had an underdepartmentalized program. This is the only school in the system participating in the U.S. Office of Education's Right to Read Program that began in 1972-73. The highlight that year was the visit by Mrs. Patricia Nixon, wife of the President. Her visit was preceded by the usual secret service inspection of the building and the posting of guards at all entrances and on the roof during the official visit of the first lady to this elementary school. Mrs. Nixon had taken a personal interest in the Right to Read program that is run nationally.

Principals of Casady School--
1905-1914 Clara Funston
1915-1945 Gertrude Murphy
1945-1952 Almeda Nelson
1952-1959 Kathryn Christian
1951-1961 Sarah Page
1961-1964 Ronald Sterrett
1964-1967 Daniel Priest
1967-1971 James Pierson
1971-1972 Dale Jacobus
1972-1973 James Mitchell
1973- Robert Hyde

CATTELL SCHOOL East 12th and Hull
Grades K-6
Dates of construction-
1890 Two-ninths
1910 Two-ninths
1915 Two-ninths
1925 Three-ninths

Site--2.1 acres Cattell School bears the name of Jonathan Wright Cattell who was an outstanding pioneer of early Des Moines days. Prior to 1909, Cattell School was known as Grand View Grade School. Mr. Cattell was born in Pennsylvania and lived there until about twenty years of age. He married and moved to the Territory of Iowa about 1856, settling in Cedar County. He was a state senator from that county and quite and active legislator.
Adams (Photograph) Brooks (Photograph) Casady (Photograph) Cattell (Photograph)