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Lamoni Schools
Fayette Township, Decatur County, Iowa

Around the year of 1883 the East Side High School was built and the first term of school was held there in the fall of the same year. Advanced students were assigned to the upper rooms of the school under the instruction of A. A. Roy.

During the first few years very little high school work was pursued, but a beginning was made and the foundation laid for more advanced work in the future.

A few years later Mr. W. L. Andrews took charge of the school and was followed by Mr. D. F. Lambert a year later. Mr. Lambert had the honor of graduating the first class which consisted of five girls and one boy. After they had finished grammar work they centered their efforts mainly on Rhetoric, History, Advanced Arithmetic, and a few weeks in some of the sciences.

J. A. Gunsolley was elected principal in the spring of 1889, a position that he held for over five years. He graduated the second class in the spring of 1890, five girls and three boys.

By 1890 Algebra had been added to the curriculum which included Rhetoric, History, Advanced Arthmetic and some Science studies which included Natural Science.

By the 1890's with an increase in enrollment, it became necessary to provide more room for the pupils.

For five years there were no graduating classes, nevertheless, the schools were improving; classes were more evenly graded and with the additional room which had been added to the north, better work was accomplished, and the demand for more advanced high school studies was met.

D. F. Lambert was elected as superintendent in 1894. The third graduating class of 1895 consisted of eight girls and five boys. This was the first class at Lamoni High School to study Latin, having read part of Caesar.

Since 1895 there have been graduating classes every year with one exception.

In 1897, George N. Briggs of the State University was elected superintendent, and with the aid of one, and later, two assistants, it became possible to make marked improvement in the curriculum. Cicero, Geometry, Civics, Economics were added to the curriculum along with extended studies in English and Literature.

High School spirit increased, and the standing colors, Scarlet and Black was adopted.

Mr. Briggs remained superintendent of the schools for four years. During the last year, provision was made for a four-year high school course.

Mr. Griffiths of Columbia Univeristy in Missouri was elected superintendent in 1901. There was no graduating class this year because of the change in the course of study. Mr. Griffith remained at Lamoni High School for one year.

H. S. Buffum was elected superintendent in 1902, followed by Edmund L. Kelley, Jr. om 1904. R. F. Hannum became superintendent from 1907 until 1909. These three men were all from the State University of Iowa, and each one rendered valuable services to our schools. One important feature was the organization of the Alumni Association. German and Latin were made electives; debating teams were organized; and contests in English, Oratory and Athletics were encouraged.

During these seven years the attendance more than doubled itself, being forty-two in 1903, and ninety-four in 1909.

O. H. Hollen was elected superintendent in 1909, followed by J. W. Fisher from the State University of Iowa in 1912, and in 1913 by E. W. Neveln from the State Teachers College at Cedar Falls, Iowa. Mr. Neveln was re-elected superintendent for the year beginning September, 1914.

The last three named superindentents also gave excellent service to our schools, although they were greatly hindered by the poor and very crowded conditions of the school building. During the last twelve years the attendance has almost tripled itself, as the present [1914] enrollment is one hundred and twenty-four. In 1914, enrollment was at 124 which created crowded conditions within the school building.

A new school building was erected and provided enough space for the introduction of Manual Training, Agriculture, Drawing and Home Economics into the curriculum.

We look at the past with much pleasure; at the present with great satisfaction, that it is possible we have gained so much, and are looking forward with great expectations of what will be done. May our High School continue to improve, not only by growing bigger but better.

~ OSCAR ANDERSON, President of the Board

SOURCE: Lamoni "Phoenix" Yearbook. Pp. 5-7. 1914.


West Side School was built in 1894. Central School, established in 1896, was located in the area now known as Central Park, and directly across from the G. N. Briggs home. Around the turn of the century, the old Central School was the seat of learning for many of Lamoni's children. Central Park was also the site of the original city hall. ~ Photographs courtesy of Bob Bixby, Sept. 2015




  BACK ROW, L-R: Blossom White. Alice Hatcher, Annie Downey, Ada (?) Collins, Ruth Brenizer, Myrtle Hass, ____ Gibson, unknown behind, Earl Rauch, Ben Fleet, Ray Chasey, Ed Downey, Arnold Ferguson, Homer Hopkins, Ora Grey, teacher Bibby M. Sampson, Carlos Smith, Jenny Grey, Blanch Tapscott.

Very back, hanging off the window, Pete Lyman Case - killed in World War I, shot down by Germans.

FRONT ROW, L-R: Gladys Teale, Bea Smith, Ada Derry, Bonnie Hyett, Marjorie Lawhorn, Gracia Dillon, Winsome Smith, Julia Clum, Maude Way Smith, Velora Smith.



Photograph courtesy of Everett & Jacqueline Flowers, 319 N. Silver St., Lamoni IA ~ Submission by Bob Bixby, Sept. 2015

Lamoni School Album

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Saints Herald Pub. Co.

built Summer 1881

Saints Herald Pub. Co.

south addition built 1892

Herald Pub. Co. Fire

January 5, 1907

Herald Building, ca. 1915

rebuilt from the ashes 1907
Herald Building was later sold to Lamoni Schools and served as extra classrooms and the administration building.

1905 Ballteam
Courtesy of Bob Bixby

Class of 1916
Courtesy of Jack Scott

Class of 1922
Courtesy of SRBecker

Elementary Class, 1947-48
Courtesy of Bob Bixby

3rd Grade, 1947-1948
Courtesy of Bob Bixby

Class of 1949
Courtesy of Bob Bixby

5th Grade, 1949-1950
Courtesy of Bob Bixby

Class of 1950
Courtesy of Bob Bixby

6th Grade, 1950-1951
Courtesy of Bob Bixby

6th Grade, 1950-1951
Courtesy of Bob Bixby

Class of 1952
Courtesy of Bob Bixby

Building a new Gym
1956 Lamoni Demon

Building a new Gym
1956 Lamoni Demon

Building a new Gym
1956 Lamoni Demon

Ruth Joy Scott, 1956-57
Courtesy of Bob Bixby

Class of 1957
Courtesy of Bob Bixby

Lamoni High School
Courtesy of Bob Bixby

Administration Building

ca. 2006

Ad Bldg. demolition


Ad Bldg. demolition


Lamoni School Sign


Lamoni Community School


Lamoni High School


old high school detail

removed during demolition

old high school detail

worked into new HS building

new high school

under construction 2007

new middle school


elementary school


Vintage Herald Publishing House photographs courtesy of Alma Blair and Decatur County Historical Museum
Demolition and new school photographs courtesy of Lamoni Public Schools
Other photographs courtesy of Bob Bixby, Decatur County Historical Museum, Leon IA,
and Lamoni Public Schools.


Lamoni High School Photographs

Click on the link below to view the yearbook;
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Maggie Moon Merit Award
year unknown
1938 Boys Basketball Team


Lamoni Public School, December 8, 1926
Courtesy of Decatur County Historical Museum and the Spray Family


Lamoni High School Demon/Flame Yearbooks
Contributed by Bob Bixby and the Decatur County Historical Museum

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Lamoni 1914 Phoenix
Lamoni Demon 1940
Lamoni Demon 1941
Lamoni Demon 1942
Lamoni Demon 1943
Lamoni Demon 1944
Lamoni Demon 1945
Lamoni Demon 1946
Lamoni Demon 1947
Lamoni Demon 1948
Lamoni Flame 1949
Lamoni Demon 1950
Lamoni Demon 1952
Lamoni Demon 1953
Lamoni Demon 1954
Lamoni Demon 1955
Lamoni Demon 1956
Lamoni Demon 1958


Articles About Lamoni School

Lamoni Alumni, 1888 - 1916

Lamoni School Report 1893     Lamoni School Report Sept. 1893
Lamoni Pupils Over 85% 1893     Primary School Flag Day Program 1895
Intermediate School Flag Day Program 1895     High School Flag Day Program 1895
Lamoni School Notes Oct. 1909     Lamoni School Notes Nov. 1909
Sale of Center School & Old High School, 1914     High School Burns, 1914


Lamoni's Alumni & Class Reunions

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Class of 1949
Class of 1977


  • Lamoni Alumni Newsletter, Spring 2018

  • Lamoni Normal School

  • Graceland University

    Lamoni has three centers, elementary school, middle school and high school. The elementary school was one of the first schools in the State of Iowa to develop a natural approach to reading and writing instruction.

    A new high school was completed in December, 2007.

    The history of the school's administration building, former Herald Hall and previously Herald Publishing and Bindery House, may be found on Lamoni's page within this site. What is amazing is that the smoke had barely cleared and the embers were still smoldering on January 5, 1907 when plans to rebuild from the ashes were initiated and put into action.

    The smoke stacks, visible in the 1892 and 1915 photographs, generated power not only for publishing and bindery operations but for the towns of Lamoni and Kellerton. This building was razed in 2007 to make way for the new High School and gymnasium. Some architectural detals of the old High School and Herald Hall were worked into the new school construction, such as the school sign, [pictured below].

    NOTE: Many people have generously opened up their photo albums and collections
    to graciously share with us. Please extend the same courtesy back to them ~
    ask for permission from the coordinator of this site before you "borrow" these images. Thank You.

    webpage created and submitted by Sharon R. Becker, September of 2013; updated July of 2015; updated February of 2017