History of Calamus Public Schools

Source: Clinton County Historical Society school binder. Compiled by Margaret Mueller, Emma Dosland, Svanhild Pedersen and Rachel Douseslot

One of the earliest schools, and probably the first building in which school was held in the town of Calamus, was a log house standing at or about where the Calamus Cemetery is now located in the west end of town. This log house or cabin was at first occupied by the Conrad Wagner family, father of Dave Wagner, before they moved to their farm house where John Wagner now resides.

Here the children of the pioneer and early families in and around Calamus tried to learn the three Rs.

Later, school was held in a frame building located east of the Elmer Swarm residence. This contained but one room and was later sold and moved to the O'Brien District east of town and stood across the road from the present Bob Reyolt's home.

One of the teachers of this school was S. S. Scott, a brother of W. W. Scott of Calamus. Another teacher of this school was a Miss Rouse. A member of the school board at about this time was R. E. Houck, father of the present Houck family in Calamus. He also conducted a general store. Still another of the earlier teachers was a Miss Windit who taught here around the year 1875. She was a niece of John Richolsen, grain dealer in Calamus at that time.

A school building in which school was held, said to be older than either of the above mentioned schools, was located at what is now known as the Brushville Settlement. Pupils for three miles around attended this school, which was considered a great distance in that day for children to go to school.

The early stores of the town were also located near the frame school east of the Smarm residence, but later moved farther south to their present location.

When the town of Calamus was plotted, two lots in the south end of town were given for the location of a church, where the present church and parsonage now stand. The lot adjoining on the west of this property was then bought for the location of a school.

The first school building erected here was a frame building, two stories high, the lower floor used for the lower grades; the upper floor to be used for the higher grades. Only eight grades were taught at this school. Some of the earlier teachers in this school were:

  • Mr. Bronus, Principal
  • Miss Twist, Primary
  • Brightie Hazen
  • Miss Snoddy
  • Mrs. A. M. Price
  • Mr. Housh
  • Miss L. Ella Sukens

From this school, when the building was razed, all material that could be used was put into the construction of a new brick school building, which contained four rooms and was erected by Pader H. Pedersen and Son. This building now houses the Telephone Exchange, being purchased by the Telephone Company when the district consolidated.

Mr. Roscoe was principal at this time, with Christie Petersen, a primary teacher, for many years. After Mr. Hoscoe, Homer G. Gaines was appointed Principal and held this position until consolidation. Ten grades were taught in this school until 1915, when two more grades were added and the full high school course of study was taught.

A little later, the people or the district began to think and talk about consolidation, and in 1919 it was voted to consolidate and build a new school building. This building was erected at a cost of $114,000 and is located in the extreme south part of town. The land on which it stands was purchased from Conrad Kuebler and contains five acres.

The first principal of this new school was Mr. James Balls, followed by Mssrs. Hotfessel, Eyantone, Licklider, Scariff and Mr. Olsen. The children of the district are conveyed to school in four motor busses.

The site of five acres on which the present school stands is almost square in shape and the building was planned to be made as useful and beautiful as possible for school purposes. Adequate space has been provided for play and athletic grounds.

The building is so situated as to have one entrance facing the main street to the town, and the porte-cochers at the east entrance of the building.

The alumni association was organized around the year 1920, and each year the annual banquet is held in the gymnasium. This organization includes classes starting with the class of 1898 up to and including each graduating class of the present school. The banquet is a get-to-gether of old friends and acquaintances.

I'm not sure when the above was written, I believe it to be around 1976. Calamus has since consolidated with Wheatland to become the Calamus Wheatland Community School District. More info can be learned at their website.