From “Plains, Kansas
– 100 Years” -
Schools -1887 through 1985
As the people came west and having no
would often volunteer their
homes and then as time permitted, they would build.
One of the earlier
schools in town in 1885, was
store building rented and
transformed into a school house. A Mr.
Don T. Edwards was one of the
dozen school children. He was eight years old.
first class was taught by Lizzie McClung.
Two years later, material was hauled from Cimarron for a
two-room school building which was completed in 1887. It was
built near the site of the
Theis Streiff home and later became a part of it. Mrs. R. R.
taught for an eight-month term in 1891-92. Others who
were Miss Clara Ellis and Mr. A.L. Vaught (1903), and'
railroad was built in 1888, the school house in Plains was
moved to the present site.
During the hard times in 1903-07, the two-room school dwindled to a
one-room school and a Miss Ruth Bennett,
who was also county
superintendent, consented to be the teacher. The one elected
had stayed only one month and resigned.
In 1893, in early
West Plains, school was held in the Ebenezer Taylor home,
two large rooms with six to eight students attending.
It was also used as a
place for public meets, dances and church affairs. Jack
Evans, a Liberal businessman and county treasurer, was the
first teacher. In 1894, the school changed to a big one room
house which was a house from one of the settlers. It was
three and one-half miles west and one mile south of the
original West Plains. Five to six years later,
enough students attended to hire a teacher, so each student
was allowed ten dollars a month to go to some other school.
The Eli Keller
one-half dugout home thirteen miles southeast of Plains was
also used one time as a school.
By 1909, there were several schools in the vicinity: #4, 14,
15, 30, 34,
40, 50, 58, 59, 60 and 16. These schools were later
consolidated into the Plains Consolidated system #74.
As prosperity came and the need for more room. A third room
annexed to the Plains
School. Mr. William Calvert was the first superintendent. He
also taught grades six, seven and eight. Mrs. William Newby
taught grades one and two.
Mrs. Gillidett taught grades three, four and five.
In 1912, to satisfy added interests, a school
board composed of Dr. G.A. Nickelson, D.J.
Davis and W.W.
Coons, chose to have a brick
building built. Mr. Fred Calvert, who served until at least
1925, introduced and taught subjects of a two-year high
school course during the
year 1912-13. Claude Holmes and James Gillidett were
enrolled as freshmen. Mr. Calvert was succeeded by: Paul
Sutcliffe, Chas. L. Moody, W.C. Fowler, Me Nyquist, and H.C.
The first class to graduate from the Plains
High School was in 1919: Haskell Holmes, Minnie Angell and
By 1920, a consolidation proposal was made by the school
board for the consolidation of the territory in and around
the city, taking in as many districts as would vote to go
into consolidation. Then in 1922, with Nyquist as
superintendent, the district voted for a new school
building. After Christmas the school was occupied.
Floyd Drury was principal. Others were: Miss Peterson, high
school principal, 5 years; Miss M. Ona Houston, 12 years;
Mrs. Gillidett, 8 years; and Miss Peterson, 7 years; Miss
Johnson, 6 years; and Mr. Van Voorhis, 4 years (as of 1925).
since 1912: Roy Elliot,
13 years; Roy Traylor, 10
I.D. Golliher, 6 years; Others
E.M. Angell and A.C. Krause. From time forward to 1925, high
school has gone from 68-110 students and advanced from class
C to class A, belonging to North Central Association of
Colleges and Secondary Schools.
In 1925, the high school maintained three separate types of
courses: General, College Preparatory and Commercial.
Over 400 books had been
added to the library.
Forty-nine seniors out of
eighty had graduated within the years of 1923-1925.
Again in 1947, the patrons voted for expansion and an
industrial arts building was built. The gymnasium was
increased to double its former size.
During the summer of 1950, a lighting system for football
was installed in Plains. On Saturday, September 23, at the
first night football game ever held in the city of Plains,
the American Legion Post No. 312, in a special ceremony,
dedicated the field "Memorial Field" in memory of those who
gave their lives in W.W.II.
There were six who lost their lives: Jack
Staples, Joe Flemming, John Hatcher, Donald Knott,
Bob Elliott and
Charles Woltje. There were
who attended the occasion.
a beautiful new brick building was completed
for kindergarten through
a multipurpose room for
office space and a first aid and counseling
Haskell Holmes, one of the first graduates,
the school board for
twenty years. During the
of 1960, he asked not
be nominated again.
the record for the longest tenure
as superintendent -ten years from 1929-39.
other superintendents and
to be recorded in history were:
D C. Bradner;
a decision was made
for a larger high
school. Plains and Kismet
and on July 1,
1966, became a fully unified school
#483. Before that they were organized as a
School District #1 on July I,
The members of the board were: J.O.
Fred Foster, Charles
Breen, Lyman Brown,
John Reimer and Max
Roberts. The interim board at the time of
Jay Otto Borth, E.
Fred Foster, Dean Headrick,
Charles Breen, H.G. Adams III. Howard E. Gray
was superintendent of
schools, Donald Hennigh was high school principal. Howard
thirteen years before leaving in 1979, when Jim Miller became the superintendent. The
1985 school board members are:
Amerin (who took the
place of Gerald Jacobs)
(in place of T.B.
Lee) Sam Douglas and