Iowa Heritage Digital Collections
State Library of Iowa

064_Woodlawn School


064_Woodlawn 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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62 The second teacher came in 1922 for the upstairs room. By 1928 Windsor had four teachers and occupied the main brick building, an annex and a building across the street. In 1949 the present main building was the first postwar projects and in 1954, a nine room addition was completed. The original Windsor structure is now an annex and is not used for elementary classes. In 1965 there were over 600 pupils and 20 teachers. Windsor school in the 1970s has actually shown an increase of students for the past several years rather than a decline. They maintain the large structure for grades 4-6. They are a voluntary transfer receiving school shich means that a number of black students from the innercity are bused to Windsor. They also have a provision for serving the hearing impaired students. Principals who have served at Windsor are: 1918 - 1925 Mr. W. Lee Jordan 1925 - 1937 Frances Umpleby 1937 - 1950 Erma X. Anderson 1950 - 1965 Florence Murphy 1965 - 1966 James Wise 1967 - Virginia Lawrence WOODLAWN SCHOOL Lower Beaver and Madison Grades K-6 Dates of construction—1953 One-third 1957 Two-thirds 1965 Remodeling—Addition of a music room, li- Site—4.7 acres brary, kitchen, teachers room. History of Woodlawn School Woodlawn School owes its name to the work of a former member of the Board of Education, Harry L. Gross, who desired to perpetuate the name of the former Woodlawn Independent School District. This old district included all the land west of the Des Moines River, north of Adams Street and Urbandale Avenue, and east of Merle Hay Road. The north boundary was Aurora. The' entire area of Rice, Moore, and Woodlawn Schools as well as part of the boundaries of Monroe, Riley, and Hillis were included. There were two schools in the Woodlawn School District. East Woodlawn School at 30th and Euclid served the eastern part and West Woodlawn School located on the northwest corner of Beaver and Douglas was for those youngsters to the west. The brick building that was East Woodlawn School is today the home of Mr. and Mrs. S. O. Blanc and is the first house outside the east gate of the Veterans Hospital. West Woodlawn was a frame structure of the classic one-room variety; and when it was closed, it was moved south on Beaver and today is a residence at 3828 Beaver. The site of West Woodlawn is now part of the Meredith pasture and there is little evidence to show that a school once stood there. It is interesting to observe that, recently, a part of this tract was given to the Des Moines School Board by the Meredith family, thus, it will again serve the citizens of Des Moines for educational purposes. A junior high school is the first school unit on this tract. We are indebted to Mr. Harry L. Gross for the following paragraphs of information about Woodlawn. These were written in 1953, when the first part of Woodlawn was built: "When a member of the school board my special interest and thought was that for the pioneer or old-time residents of that locality, the continuation of the name Woodlawn would be appreciated and recognized as belonging to their area. Unfortunately several years ago before my mother, Mrs. Jennie Layman Gross, passed away, I did not think to secure any historical data on the members of the original Layman family who have all passed away. At the original Layman home, 2701 Euclid, now owned by a granddaughter, Mrs. Louis Layman Staggs, there also resides a grandson. The enclosed picture of the old Woodlawn School shows the way the building looked for many years, at least around 1900, or before Euclid Avenue was paved or long before the present hospital was located in that area. You will note the wood shed and fence in the front, and the land to the south (covered with snow) which was not even platted at that time. I do recall my mother saying, when she went to school in the early grades along about 1884, frequently there were tribes of Indians who would take what was called the old Ridge Road which is now Lower Beaver near your present school. I also recall that an aunt who recently passed away was a teacher about 1890 at this little school. As late as 1909 I believe there was a Sunday School maintained in this building for, as you say, the operation as a school was discontinued. One of the few remaining original students at the school is Mrs. Marybell Shaver of 2722 Payne Road. It is known that she went to school there with my mother and her younger brothers when they all lived at the original farm home constructed about 1866 at 2701 Euclid Avenue." In spite of the large area there were not too many families residing in Woodlawn Independent School District. The records show the average daily attendance of the two schools in 1900 was only 15! This is a far cry from the thousands of youngsters that attend the six elementary schools in this area today. In 1907 the Woodlawn School District became a part of the Des Moines Independent School District. In 1909 East Woodlawn School closed. When the present Rice School was opened in 1910, West Woodlawn School was closed and the pupils transferred there. In 1910-1911 Rice School was listed for the first time with a staff of three teachers. The pupils from the Woodlawn area attended Rice School at Beaver and Adams from 1910 until September, 195 3 when the "new" Woodlawn School was opened. It consisted of six classrooms, an all-purpose room, kitchen, and office spaces. In the 1953-1954 school year there were six teachers and 163 pupils. An additional 30 pupils were transported from Moore school which was being expanded.