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Before Tingley was incorporated into a town, the area's school was known as Tingley Center School No. 5 of Tingley township. It was replaced as Tingley Independent School District.

Fannie CALFEE was the teacher in 1879.

Tingley Independent School District was formed in 1882 [1885 by some accounts] and the town's population reached around 600 residents in 1896.

The first school directors were elected in April, consisting of J. J. McCREIGHT, Jacob FRANE and John HAVER. Jacob FRANE has been a member of the school board ever since, with the exception of two years when he lived outside of the district.

In 1885, the Tingley School District erected a school building at the cost of $4,400 [$3,300 according to Tingley Centennial Book]. The contractor was N. B. CASE of Clearfield. One of the largest and most beautiful frame structures in Ringgold County, Tingley High School was used as a model for other schoolhouses that were built later on. An addition was built in 1901 which added six classrooms as the town grew, creating an increase in pupils attending the school.

Five departments of the school was presided over by as able a corps of teachers as could be found in the county. The history of the schools was one of progress. As a rule the teachers have been above the average in ability, especially those in charge who gave excellent satisfaction.

The teachers were earnestly supported by the patrons of the school, and the school board was always anxious to furnish supplies that aided the teachers in making instructions efficient. A large number from the outside the district attended the school each year and under the management of the principal, Prof. [Charles] MURRAY, the school maintained a well earned reputation of being one of the best schools in the county. Thoroughness was the chief aim and those from outside the district who contemplatee taking advantage of a high school couldn't do better than to attend the Tingley School. Prof. MURRAY during vacation taught at the summer school at Drake University.

Miss FREEMAN was the oldest teacher in the school, having been constantly [1903] employed in the primary department since 1893.

[1903] Sixty-nine have graduated from the Tingley Schools, the sons and daughters of some of the best families of the town and surrounding country.

The first school held in town was held in the second story of a building that stood where ELDER'S drug store now [1903] stands. There was also school maintained in a school house located at the northeast corner of town, directly north of where Mr. LANHAM'S residence now [1903] stands. The building is now used as a house for Mr. SWAIN'S family carriage and stands just west of his dwelling.

The list of principals are as follows:


Tingley's 13th commencement exercises were held in the Tingley opera house with the 12 members of the graduating class of 1906 honored by a program consisting of orations and music. A capacity crowd of 425 people attended the event of which Reverend L. R. FREE delivered the opening invocation. The 1912 commencement exercises the largest paid event held in the opera house, bringing in $81.05 in receipts.

~ ~ ~ ~

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
June 20 & 23, 1916

TINGLEY, Monefay Hanson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Hanson, who was elected to teach in the Ellston school next year, has resigned to accept a better position as fifth grade teacher at Dow City.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, October of 2016

~ ~ ~ ~

When Tingley closed its school, the students attended classes at Mount Ayr.

This schoolhouse was in service to the community until a brick school was built in 1918.

Tingley's new $25,000 brick school building was completed in September of 1918. The building was 51' x 79' in size and 39' high. The furnace chimney at the northwest corner towered up 48 ft. It had a basement, and first and second stories. The basement housed the domestic science and manual training rooms, restrooms, the gymnasium and furnace and fuel rooms. On the first floor there were four grade rooms complete with seating, blackboards and cloak rooms. In the main hall, first floor, there was a sanitary drinking fountain. The water supply was procured from a well; it was necessary to go to a depth of 65 feet to secure sufficient water supply. On the third floor the study hall or main assembly occupied the west half of the floor, two recitation rooms, a laboratory and the superintendent's office made up the other part of the third floor. Above the main stairway was the book room.

The floors of the rooms were made of hard maple and the stairways and halls of cement, making the building as nearly fireproof as possible.

The architect for the building was Wm. GORDON of St. Joe [MO] The brick work was done by F. H. THOMAS, also of St. Joe; the plastering by I. G. BROWN of Lamoni; the painting by Arthur SLAUGHTER of Mt. Ayr; Contractors were H. H. DUFTY and Leonard GRIMES; they did the carpentery work and were assisted by A. S. RICHARDS. Quite a force of men were employed on the excavation for the basement and helping with the brick work. Among there were O. C. HOUSE and A. A. SIMPSON.

Members of the school board: J. L. SHEESLEY, H. D. SHEUMAKER, H. R. BOYD, A. M. TIDRICK, Dr. S. W. DeLONG, J. F. FRASER, and A. A. SIMPSON; Secretary, J. W. EDWARDS; Treasurer, C. C. HAVER.

Teachers are:

Superintendent Miss Mae COIE; High School Principal Miss Nina WITHROW; Assistants: Misses Helen KIRK and Tracy BRISBINE; the latter is domestic science instructor; 7th and 8th Grades Miss Ruth DeWITT who is also the manual training instructor; 5th and 6th Grades Miss Glenn HENDERSON; 3rd and 4th Grades Miss Vesper FIERCE; 1st and 2nd Grades Miss Ina FREEMAN; Janitor Henry RAY.

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, March 28, 1940

TINGLEY - The high school vocal contest, under the supervision of Miss RUSK, was given as a part of the P.T.A. program Thursday evening. Those who will represent Tingley in the district contest are Ardena EIGHME, soprano; Jean BRECKENRIDGE, mezzo-soprano; Roberta JOHNSTON, contralto; and the girls' sextet. Mrs. Miller CHRISTIANSEN, of Mount Ayr, served as judge.

~ ~ ~ ~

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, April 11, 1940

TINGLEY - The clarinet quartet, composed of Duane ROUSCH, Opal HILLEBRAN, Lucy WEEDA and Dorene MANBECK, which took part in the music contest at Mount Ayr last week, won superior and will participate in the music contest at Fairfield. Other entries were the girls' sextet - Lola BLUNK, Roberta JOHNSTON, Ardean EIGHME, Lousie LONGCOY, Bernice GARLAND and Jean BRECKENRIDGE - rated excellent; and the trombone solo by Paul KIRBY recieved a good rating.

Supt. W. K. SAVILLE has been re-elected head of the Tingley school for next year. All the present grade teachers - Velma HEATON, Mari Loyise RUSK, Mabel BRADLEY and Josephine EIGHME - were also re-elected.

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, December 04, 1952

Tingley high school students voted in favor of having a student council. President of the new student council, elected by the junior class, is Dean BASTOW. Vice-president, elected by the senior class, is Alan O'NEAL. Other members are Kenneth GROUT, elected by the sophomore class, James McINTOSH, elected by the freshman class, and Linda RICHARDS, elected by all the classes. Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, September of 2012

Tingley's high school basketball teams of 1954 and 1959 were the sectional tournament champions.

The 1951 school baseball team won the fall sectional and district tournaments.

The last class to graduate from Tingley High School was the Class of 1959. Because of declining enrollment, Tingley Independent School combined with Mount Ayr. In 1959-60, high school students attended school at Mount Ayr while the kindergarten through eighth grades remained at the Tingley facility. In 1961-62, the lower elementary grades attended school at Ellston, and the Ellston-Beaconsfield upper grade students attended school at Tingley. While still at Tingley, but a part of the Mount Ayr district, the salaries of the grade school teachers ranged from $5,500 to $6,800.

When the new Mount Ayr elementary building was completed in the spring of 1980, the Tingley School was closed.

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, November 27, 1980

A Tingley landmark came down recently when the school building, built in 1918, was demolished. This is the first year since 1882 that there have been no classes in Tingley. The building was used until this year when the new elementary school was completed in Mount Ayr that houses all elementary classrooms for the school district. The area will be leveled when the rest of the rubble is trucked away.

Demolition of Tingley School


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Tingley's school trophies were housed at the Tingley Community Center. Thank you Tony Mercer for photographing them for us.

During the 1907 Tingley High School Alumni Banquet, held the evening of May 26 at the Tingley Community Building, "The meeting was closed and Sue Richards headed up finding homes for the trophies which had been earned by Tingley athletes over the years. They had been in a trophy case made in 1954 by Frank Eighme and Charles Ryan and kept in the community building since 1980 when the school was torn down. When new flooring was installed in the building this year, the old trophy case was donated to the new Dragoon Trace Nature Center building east of Mount Ayr where it will be used as a display case. Those who were interested in a trophy had put their names on their trophy of choice. In the event that more than one person had signed up for the trophy, a drawing was held. The lucky winners left with keepsakes from THS."

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, July of 2017

Ringgold County History Compiled and written by the Iowa Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Iowa, Sponsored by Ringgold County Superintendent of Schools, Mount Ayr, Iowa. 1942.

Mount Ayr Record-News, Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa. February 10, 2007.

AVITT, Mike. Pages and Pictures from the Past. . .Ringgold County, Iowa 1855-2005 Pp. 33, 60-4, 73-4. Paragon Publications, Inc. Mount Ayr. 2009.

Tingley Vindicator, Tingley, Ringgold County, Iowa. May 28, 1903.

Tingley Vindicator, Tingley, Ringgold County, Iowa. September, 1918.

Tingley, Iowa Centennial: 1883 - 1983 Pp. 131-32. PSI, Inc. Belmond IA. 1983.

Transcriptions by Sharon R. Becker, June of 2009; updated May of 2010; updated September of 2011; updated September of 2015; updated October of 2016

  • Tingley High School Graduates, 1893-1976

  • Tingley Independent School Sports

  • History of Tingley

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