Madrid Community Schools

Source: Madrid Centennial (1983)

As early as 1854, the first school building was constructed in Madrid. It was a rude frame building on the style of the regulation country school house. It did not have the handsomely varnished oaken desks that most of us remember, but homemade and uncomfortable dark walnut desks were used.

Madrid, or Swede Point, as it was then known, was a village of about 50 people. As the early settlers began to increase in numbers the necessity of furnishing education for the young became more apparent. As a result, an organization was formed, logs hauled for the timber west of Madrid and sawed into lumber at the Stover Sawmill, and the building then raised.

Rollin Niles, from Massachusetts, was the first teacher. Other teachers who taught in that building were J. Madison Williams, who later was a member of the Drake University faculty, Isaac Stover, M. Pettibone, James Chapman, Lucy Cottrel, Niles and Green. Mr. Pettibone was teaching when the Civil War broke out and he immediately resigned and accepted service in the Army.

Persons who attended this school were Peter Peterson, Mrs. Emma Davis, Wesley and Aaron Myers, Mrs. William Tebus, Mrs. Lewis Bolle, Joe Stover, J.O. Wilson, C.F. Bernico, Mrs. H.H. Aldrich, Sheb Wilson and George Stover.

The old single room structure continued to do service until 1868 when it was sold to S.G. Bengston and the material incorporated into his residence.

By 1868, Madrid had grown to a town of approximately 200 people and a larger school building became necessary. The new building was constructed on Lot 3, Block 6 (between Third Street and the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul and Pacific Railroad tracks on the east side of State Street). It was a two story, two room structure built by Benjamin B. Harlow and Joshua Brubaker. Some of the teachers in this building included M.T. Harlan, Z.T. Sullivan, Charles Tucker, and W.M. Wiklins.

When Madrid became a railroad town, this building was not large enough to accommodate the number of students wanting to attend school. In 1885, a new building was erected on the south side of First Street, between Main and Water Streets, and the 1869 building became a poultry vending establishment. The new building was comprised of four departments.

The design for the new building was for a structure of brick, two stories high. The contract called for a $3,000 building but before being completed, cost the district almost twice the amount. The contract was given to a contractor by the name of Mills of Des Moines, but after partially completing the building and drawing $2,000 of his pay, he refused to finish the balance. It was then found that his bondsmen were unreliable and that he had not paid for about $1,500 of the materials used. Walter Berry worked on the building and lost about $20.00 in wages. The school board was then compelled to burden the district with the unpaid bills and complete the work. After the school board took up the work of completing the building, C.F. Mortinson, of Madrid, assisted in the work.

In 1888, the old building again became too small and G.A. Young was given the contract and a west division was added to the 1885 building.

This addition was completed in 1901 and provided sufficient room until 1915 when a three story building was constructed on the north side of First Street, across the street from the 1885-1901 building. By 1925, enrollment had reached 611 students, and a north division was added to the 1915 building.

In 1954, a gymnasium, home economics room, shop and music room were constructed, adjoining the main building on the east side. In 1963, an elementary wing was added to the north division and a shop building was erected. The Whitehall building was purchased in 1966 and moved to town on the corn of Twenty-Second Street and Main Street. As additional space was required, the district purchased the house on the corner of First and Water Streets in 1967.

Additional student growth in the 1960s necessitated further space; thus, in 1968, a new high school building was approved. The building was constructed on the east side of Highway 17, north of Kingman Boulevard.

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