Henry County, IAGenWeb



The school board is up against the real thing. For a long time, the board has been considering the advisability of giving to the several buildings a character by naming them with a dignified name. Of course the high school is always “The High School”, but in practically all towns and cities school buildings have been named after men or women of local or general fame. Some are named after presidents, some after men of letters, some after statesmen or great men of military fame. And sometimes it is men and women of local reputation who are honored by having buildings named after them. Mt. Pleasant has three buildings which need dignified names. WILLOWBANK is a name that signified nothing except that when it was built, there was a frog pond and clump of willow trees on the north of it and to this day the school is called the ‘FROG POND’ or WILLOWBANK school. Both the frog pond and the willows have long since gone their way, but the old name clings. WINONA is another name without significance. It is evidently an Indian name, but what it means or why it was given to the building, no one knows. CENTRAL is another name that has little significance or beauty to it. The school stands in the center of the town, hence the name CENTRAL. The Board is desirous of giving these buildings real dignified names. Names that will be chiseled into the buildings and give them character. But shall the buildings be named after presidents, historians, statesmen, poets, warriors, martyrs, or have we Iowans or even Mt. Pleasant men or women whom we might honor and by whom we would be honored by naming the buildings.


Mr. Bird says that we were in error as to the original location of what was known as the FROG POND school. He says that the old school building at the WILLOWBANK school and now used as a wood shed, was built on the corner at the city limits where you turn north to the Gass farm. In those days there was a regular frog pond there, hence the name of the school. Later the school house was moved to the present site of WILLOWBANK, which would be about two blocks west and two blocks south. The school board will sell the old building this fall and another old land mark will have disappeared.

[Excerpts from “The Bystanders Notes”, “Mt. Pleasant Weekly News-Journal”, July 26 & 29, 1916]

Research Note, April 2021:
In the 1870 Henry County Atlas, a schoolhouse appears in the NE ¼ of Section 4, just outside the northern border of the Mount Pleasant City limits and at the Section 3 line. The adjoining property was owned by W. Bird. On April 1, 1871, the District Twp of Center deeded this ½ acre to the Mt. Pleasant Independent School District. The present day location is the NW corner of the Winfield Avenue/Palm Avenue intersection. This was most likely the original location of Mount Pleasant’s FROG POND SCHOOL, as referenced in the news articles.

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Contributed to Henry County IAGenWeb by Pat White, April 2021.

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