Iowa Heritage Digital Collections
State Library of Iowa

075_Washington Irving and Louis Kurtz Junior High Schools


075_Washington Irving and Louis Kurtz Junior High 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.

File Name



73 Irving Jr. High (Photograph) WASHINGTON IRVING JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL 16th and Forest Grades 7, 8, 9 The cornerstone was laid on April 28, 1925, and classes began September, 1926. Washington Irving Junior High School is named for Washington Irving, America's pioneer in the field of general literature. It was given this name in 1918. Washington Irving came into existence in 1918 as one of the first two junior high schools in Des Moines, Amos Hiatt was the other one. At that time Irving was housed in the old Forest Home building on the southwest corner of 13th Street Place and Forest. This building was erected in 1925- 26. It was added to the Nash elementary structure that existed on the site. Thus there was both an elementary and a junior high school under the same roof. Because of the nature of our school, the Irving faculty must continually be aware of their responsibilities in guidance and citizenship. They need to help pupils grow in self-realization through the mastery of basic skills and a better understanding of the world in which they live. This must be accomplished by awakening their interests in learning through motivated instruction on such levels as they are successfully able to master. Irving in the mid-1970s finds itself with a reduced student enrollment due in large measure to the voluntary transfer program. Many of the junior high school students have elected to be bused to other junior high schools in the city. As this report is being written one of the recommendations for desegregation would be to close Irving junior high school in September 1976 This was adopted by the Board of Education in June, 1975. The exact distribution of students now in the Irving attendance area is still a matter of discussion. Previous principals: 1926 - 1941 Walter O. Allen 1961 - 1965 Donald R. Emanuel 1942 - 1945 L. L. Wires 1965 - 1966 Earl Bridgewater 1945 - 1946 Victor E. Mastin 1966 - 1970 Lacey Spriggs 1946 - 1954 Emmett J. Hasty 1970 - Gerald Conley 1954 - 1961 Warren W. Nixon 1961 - 1965 Donald R. Emanuel 1965 - 1966 Earl Bridgewater 1966 - 1970 Lacey Spriggs 1970- Gerald Conley LOUIS KURTZ JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL S.W. 12th & Porter Grades 7, 8, 9 Since the incorporation of Bloomfield Township in 1919, Southwest Des Moines has witnessed a great expansion in the building of churches, stores and motels. But what is most remarkable about the south side is the great increase in the number of new homes being built. It is fitting then that Kurtz Junior High School has been erected to serve the educational needs of this rapidly developing community. The floor plan of Goodrell Junior High was also used for the Kurtz building. Mr. Schlampp who was the first principal of Goodrell also became the first principal of Kurtz. Louis C. Kurtz was a pioneer Des Moines businessman who served his community in many ways. He was a member of the Board of Education for many years. In this tradition, Kurtz Junior High School will strive to maintain high standards of educational and social development for the students who will be the citizens of tomorrow. Continual increase in numbers of students team teaching and large classes in English and social science. Kurtz operates with no bells, no student council and no hall monitors; all students have their own places to sit in the lunchroom. Contract Let September 1957. Date site was acquired 1951 to 1955 Date construction started October 1, 1957. 30 classrooms Grades 7 through 9 1000 students