1901 to 1994 History
The first school in Schleswig was taught in the hardware building on Main Street in 1900, while the village was still District No. 4, Otter Creek Township. Wm. Stegeman was the first director. In the spring of 1901 the independent district was organized with Theo. Rohwer as president of the board and with A. J. Boock, H. H. Boysen, Christian Kruse, Detlef Wieck as his associates. C. C. Walters was secretary and H. C. Moeller, treasurer.
Twice during the summer the district voted bonds of $5,000 for a schoolhouse and twice were they declared void because the district could not be bonded for such a large amount. The citizens then signed two notes of $2,500 and the house was built. It contained four rooms and an office, was conveniently arranged and was steam heated. The location was one of the finest in town.
School opened in November, 1901, with Prof. F. N. Olry as principal and Elizabeth Breshwald as the primary teacher. The plan of organization gave the school eight grades. The district was probably the smallest in Iowa comprising only 160 acres. At that time the school population was 98. Mr. Olry wrote the first course of study for the school in 1902, revised it to meet the growing demands of the school in 1905, and again in 1908. It was rewritten in 1909 and provided for eight grades and a three year high school course. Some agricultural work was included.
The first class to graduate was in 1904, and the list of the alumni is as follows: 1904 - Nelle Frahm, Emma Hoiten, John Kruger; 1905 - Fern Wells; 1905 - Caroline Hollander, Ella Hoiten, Ella Peters, Ella Kruger and Edward Schroeder; 1907 - Martha Stegeman, Jesse Kuhlmann, Minnie Hollander; 1908 - Amanda Petersen, Letha Jones, Ella Witt, Maggie Rusch and Lulu Girard.
By 1909, the school had grown to the point where a three-year high school course was included in the curriculum, and in 1911 Julius Rohwer and Emil Peters became the first three-year high school graduates from our school system. Mr. Olry remained as the head of the school until January, 1911, when he resigned to assume the duties of county superintendent. Following Mr. Olry's resignation, Professor Earl Kramer took over the duties of superintendent.
During Christmas vacation in 1911, the wooden frame building burned down. As a result, the high school classes were moved to the brick pumphouse by the water tower, and the grade schoolers were sent uptown to the top floor of the Schroeder Building until May. A new brick building with the plan of the former wooden building was constructed on the same site of the old building, and school once again resumed in the fall of 1912 for all grades.
By 1920, the school had progressed to the point where a four-year high school was feasible and was established as a result.
The brick building which was built in 1911 served as the front half of the high school building and the rear half was added in 1918. The gymnasium and new classrooms were added to the west side of the existing school building and was dedicated in January, 1941. The Schleswig Opera House had been used as the gymnasium for the school athletic and co-curricular events until this time. The new gymnasium, which also served as the auditorium for plays, concerts, and meetings, was a welcome addition. The gymnasium was enlarged to the west in 1959, with the addition housing a new stage, band room, and music offices.
A new elementary school was opened in 1958 a block east of the high school building. At this same time, our school district was reorganized including the town of Ricketts and surrounding territory. A new school was built in Ricketts which was to house youngsters of the first four grades. A modern, well-lighted football field was laid out to the south of the new elementary building in Schleswig at the same time and a new Industrial Arts building was constructed directly east of the high school. By 1968, the enrollment of the elementary and junior high schools had outgrown their "new" facilities and it was voted to make an addition to the elementary building to the south for the junior high school.
As time went on, enrollment declined and monetary funds were reduced. This led to the beginning of the "sharing" process - the sharing of a foreign language teacher with another district. From there it progressed to a shared extracurricular activity when we joined our wrestling program with the program at Denison Community School. A shared administrator, football program and other extracurricular programs soon followed. The fall of 1994-95 school year saw the whole-grade sharing agreement (grades 9-12) with the Denison Community School District go into effect. Thus, our high school was closed and it was the end of S.H.S. as we knew it. Schleswig Community School continues with a K-8 program with the motto "Making a Difference." We sincerely hope they continue to "make a difference" for many years to come.
Source: The history of the Schleswig Public School was extracted by Dean Wood from a booklet entitled Schleswig Alumni, 1911-1994 with no author or date of publication given for the booklet.
Subitted by Dean Wood.