Wellsburg School History

The earliest settlers in Wellsburg probably sent their children to Shiloh Township's first school, the Van Patter School House built in 1863. In 1881, a year after George Wells created his town of Wellsburg with a bequest of land, organized classes were held in an upstairs room of the Wells building at the corner of West 4th and N. Adams streets, (the 1992 site of Mike's Supermarket) with a staff of one, Miss Hattie Underwood.

In 1886, the community's first school building, a wood structure, was built at the corner of 2nd and N. Adams streets (the site of the Lubert Meyer residence today).

In 1911 a brick schoolhouse was built at the corner of West 4th and S. Madison Ave., and a high school was established. Two graduates of 10th grade are recorded in 1914. Gradually, grades 11 and 12 were added with the first four-year high school class graduating in 1923.

Many students attended Shiloh Township school through the 8th grade and then attended high school in Wellsburg. The 1911 brick structure was remodeled about 1924 adding a gymnasium, home economics facilities, and additional classrooms. This building was used until 1954 when rural schools were closed and the students were brought in by bus. The ensuing problem of overcrowded classrooms was eliminated when a modern school was built on the southwest side of Wellsburg in 1955 at a cost of $350,000 and was occupied by the junior and senior high school classes. The addition of an elementary wing which cost $195,000 was opened in the fall of 1960. It was named the Fred Gross Addition after the custodian who served the school district for nearly 40 years.

Administrators who served at Wellsburg with the date of that service as near as can be determined include Miss Hattie Underwood (1881), C. O. Lewis (1911), Lela Kinsinger (1915), A. Von Terch (1916), Clara Gestle (?), Mae Riess (during WWI), Lee Hackbarth (1922), W. E. Crawford (1935), C. A. Tellier (1937), Charles Hill (1939), M. J. Johansen (1941), J. N. Stone (1945), M. T. Stokke (1951), H. Rankin (1953), G. W. Schantz (1955), W. D. Murray (1962), T. Dunsmoor (1971), M. Book (1978), D. Meier (1981), Neil Okones, a Wellsburg native, came in 1983 and continues to date. He was the shared Superintendent at Steamboat Rock and Wellsburg beginning in 1985.

In the fall of 1986 Wellsburg and Steamboat Rock began sharing with all the senior high school classes at the Wellsburg campus and all the junior high classes in Steamboat Rock. Each school retained its own identity in the educational structure with separate elementary school. The attendance plans were changed to meet the districts' needs for year to year. Reorganization was voted on July 16, 1991 by an overwhelming majority. The two districts reorganized for the 1992-1993 school year when the school became known as the Wellsburg-Steamboat Rock Community School.

--Alumni Album Steamboat Rock and Wellsburg Schools (1993)


The school board had a meeting Monday at which it was decided to sell the old school building and an advertisement to that effect appears in another part of today's paper.

--Wellsburg Herald (Wellsburg, Iowa), 29 May 1912, pg 5


NOTICE
Notice is hereby given that the old school building in Wellsburg, Iowa, will be sold at public auction on Saturday, June the 8th at 3 o'clock p.m. at the school house site. The board reserves the right to reject any and all bids.

By order of Wellsburg School board, D. Claassen, Secretary

--Wellsburg Herald (Wellsburg, Iowa), 29 May 1912, pg 5


School Building Sold

J. C. Doyen bought the old school building from the board of education last Saturday. The price paid was $536. Mr. Doyen will soon have the building moved to the lot where the old Hartman blacksmith shop stands. The building will be considerably overhauled and it will be used as a store room for machinery.

--Wellsburg Herald (Wellsburg, Iowa), 12 June 1912, pg 1


History of The Wellsburg School

The history of the Wellsburg school dates back to the year 1882, when a school was organized and held in the corner building of Adams and 2nd street, now often called the Egybroad building, who was the last tenant. The building is still in existence, and is used by the J. C. Doyen estate as an implement store room. Later the school was held in the east room, second floor of the present Neesen store building.

The next year a new two-room school building was erected. Shiloh township paving $500 to its erection and the town of Wellsburg had to pay $300 additional in order to get the second floor room. Mr. F. S. Prisbee was the director but the next year his place was taken by Mr. John Tjaden, who served in the capacity for sixteen years, tho not continuous.

For many years, only one teacher was engaged. Later it became necessary for the Shiloh township sub-district school board to engage two teachers. The two teachers became a bone of contention between the township and the town as they were both paid out of the township treasure. In 1909 Dr. C. H. Heddens, W. E. Reed and D. J. Peters circulated a petition for the present independent school district, consisting of six sections, including the town of Wellsburg. it carried and plans for a better educational system were formed. John Tjaden became the president of the new board, assisted by Dr. Heddens, Arend Meyer, Andrew Murray and Martin deNeui with Dick Claassen secretary and Chas. Biebesheimer, treasurer.

In 1912, a new building was completed, consisting of five class rooms. It was thought at that time that Wellsburg would never be in need of a larger building. At first, three teachers were engaged with Mr. C. O. Lewis as principal. The interest created by the new building and the additional teacher increased the attendance. the three rooms soon became crowded and a fourth teacher was engaged. The course of study was gradually built up until eleven grades were taught.

The parents and the community were well pleased with the progress of the school which was crowded with students to the limit.

The school board, which consisted of J. L. Lutterman, D. J. Peters, Martin deNeui, Fred Terfehn and Mrs. H. B. Koolman, again presented a plan for an addition, which included an assembly room, gymnasium and class rooms and asked the district to vote a $20,000 bond issue. It again was carried by an overwhelming vote and a modern school building was erected.

In 1922, the school was dedicated and classed began on a complete twelve year course of study. Mr. L. G. Hackbarth became superintendent. The following year the State Board of Education approved the school to the accredited list of high schools.

From the beginning, in 1912 to the present, the spirit of the community has been with the school. The classes have always increased, especially in the high school department, which now has students from all the adjoining townships.

the school now serves as a common interest to many township. The glad hand of welcome is extended to one and all students that choose to come. The enrollment in high school is ever increasing. The present attendance is ninety-five. In another year the school is expected to pass into the class A. Only five additional students and another school milestone will be reached.

the present school board consisting of William Landseidel, Ben Neessen, John Doyen, Henry Lutterman and J. L. Lutterman, D. Claassen, secretary, Geo. H. Geerdes treasurer, extends to the community thankful greetings for the faithfulness and assistance that the community always renders. And it is their hope that generations to come will carry on the spirit and that the school will make itself a name in the history of our state and nation.

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 13 November 1931, pg 38

Doyen Property Sold At Auction Saturday

The auction sale held last Saturday for the purpose of selling some of the property of the late Heiko Doyen, resulted in the sale of the following properties.

The old bakery building was bought by Ben Aukes for $152.50 and the barn on the back of the lot was sold to Asa Slifer for $40. These buildings are to be removed from the lot in 60 days. The lot was purchased by Mrs. Pete Peters for $500.

The lot just north of the Herald Office was purchased by Harris Harrenstein for $365. The warehouse, known as the old school house, was bought by Mrs. J. C. Hileman for $5300, and the residence lot east of the John Doyen residence was bought by Mr. Doyen for $1200.

--Wellsburg Herald (Wellsburg, Iowa), 5 February 1948, pg 1


80 Sections In The Proposed School District

There are 80 sections of land in the proposed Wellsburg school district. Heads of families in all of the school districts in Shiloh township were seen in a house to house survey made several weeks ago and more than a majority who were seen at the time signed statements favorable to joining the school district at Wellsburg.

Later the survey was extended to cover several school districts within the trade area of Wellsburg. This survey covered eleven school districts outside of Shiloh township and a substantial majority favorable to be included in an expanded Wellsburg school district was reported by the committees making this survey.

The districts outside of Shiloh township which were canvassed and where sentiment was favorable to the enlarged school districts are three in German township. They are districts No. 6-7-8. There are two districts in Pleasant Valley township, Nos. 8-9. Three districts in Colfax are included in the survey. They are 3-4-9. In Melrose township there are three districts, Nos. 1-2-3.

Petitions setting forth the area to be included within the enlarged district must be prepared and signatures from a majority of the families of the district must be obtained before the proposal for the enlarged district can be submitted to the county board of education. When all requirements to bring the proposal to a vote have been met, it will be the duty of the county board of education to call an election in which all the voters in the proposed area may participate.

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 7 February 1952, pg 10


1953 Graduates Get Diplomas

Commencement exercises were held at the high school auditorium Wednesday evening and they were largely attended.

The invocation was by Rev. John Olthoff. The junior girls' sextet rendered a number of selections. The scholarship awards were presented. Ward R. Hamilton, president of the Hamilton Business College at Mason City, delivered the address. Title of his address was "Opportunities Unlimited."

The awards were presented by Supt. M. T. Stokke. R. B. Tjaden, president of the school board, presented the diplomas.

This is the last week of school and it is closing time also for the Wellsburg Independent school district. In the future it will be the Wellsburg Consolidated District. This is the last week also for Supt. Stokke, who is leaving his position here after two years' service. The report is that he may discontinue school work.

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 28 May 1953, pg 8

Wellsburg School Dates From 1882 Used 5 Locations

The first Wellsburg school was a far cry from the ultra-plush building the 1956 graduating class has enjoyed this past year.

History of the local school dates back to 1882 when the first classes were organized and held in a building still in existence today--located on the corner of Main and 2nd Streets--which Doyen Furniture and Appliance used as a temporary office last year while their new store was being constructed.

Later the school was held in the second floor east room of Sentman's Store.

The next year a new two-room school building was erected, with Shiloh township paying $500 for it and the town of Wellsburg an additional $300 for use of the second floor. F. E. Prisbee served as director one term, then John Tjaden took his place and served 16 years, although not continuously.

For many years only one teacher was engaged. Later it became necessary for the Shiloh township sub-district school board to hire two teachers. The two teachers became a point of dispute, however, since both were paid out of township funds.

In 1909 Dr. C. H. Heddens, W. E. Reed and Dick J. Peters circulated a petition calling for the organization of an independent school, consisting of six sections, including the town of Wellsburg.

The proposal was put to a vote, and it carried. John Tjaden became first president of the new school district. Directors were Dr. Heddens, Arend Meyer. Andrew Murray and Martin DeNeui. Dick Claassen was secretary and Chas. Biebesheimer treasurer.

In 1912 a new building was completed, consisting of five class rooms. It was thought at the time that Wellsburg would never be in need of a larger building. Three teachers were employed, with C. O. Lewis the principal.

Interest created by the new building and additional teachers increased the attendance. The three rooms soon became crowded and a fourth teacher was engaged. The course of study was gradually built up until 11 grades were taught.

The school board, which then consisted of J. L. Lutterman, Dick J. Peters, Martin DeNeui, Fred Terfehn and H. B. Koolman, again presented a plan for an addition, which consisted of an assembly room, gymnasium, and classrooms and asked the district to vote a $20,000 bond issue.

Approved by an overwhelming vote, the addition was dedicated in 1922 and the Wellsburg school then began a complete 12-year course of study. L. G. Hackbarth became superintendent. In 1923 the State Board of Education placed Wellsburg on its list of accredited schools.

Everyone is well acquainted with recent developments--organization of the community school district, expansion of the district to cover most of northwest Grundy county, construction of the new high school, etc.

This is the heritage of the class of 1956.

--Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 3 May 1956, pg 5