Buena Vista County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Marathon School History


The school district of Marathon was set off as independent in March, 1893, comprising sections 15, 16, 21, 22 and the east half of section 17, and the east half of section 20. Prior to this time the school had been an ordinary township school. The building that had been used was sold and moved into the country, and a new one of two rooms erected in town. Closely following the forming of the independent district, a new school board of directors was elected in April, 1893, constituted as follows: A. J. Wilson, N. M. Nelson, C. D. Neville. A corps of teachers was secured composed of H. E, Crosby, superintendent, Miss Tilla Patton, Miss Lizzie Bell and Miss Ada Frazee.

In 1894 the school building was remodeled; two rooms were added and a new heating apparatus was installed. These repairs amounted to two thousand dollars.

In the spring of 1903 a concurrent action of the boards of the Independent district of Marathon and of Poland Township resulted in the centralization 01 the schools of those places. Districts No.2, 3, 4, 5, and 8 of Poland township were added to the Marathon Independent district. The school building then in use was, of course, too small to accommodate the greatly increased number of pupils, so it was torn down during the summer of that year, and the present structure, built of pressed brick, was erected. The value of this building is a little over twenty thousand dollars. The pupils living in the country are brought to school every day in special hacks, established routes being maintained for this purpose. These routes, of which there are six, vary in length, conforming to the needs of the community through which they go, and they may be changed at any time at the discretion of the board. The six drivers are at present paid a total of two hundred and nineteen dollars and thirty-three cents every month, varying from thirty-three to forty-five dollars each, according to the length of the route which they drive. It has been usual to have the drivers be one of the older pupils in attendance at school, and if possible living at the further end of the route; he would be in position to start in the morning, and would be home after traversing the route after school. The board experiences no trouble whatever in obtaining the required drivers, thereby overcoming one of the main objections to the centralization of the schools at the beginning. Indeed, the position of driver is beginning to be one sought after by more than one.

The school has a library containing twelve hundred volumes. Manual training is being gradually introduced into the course of study; they have now a quantity of tools which are used for that purpose; Agriculture is also taught as one of the studies of the course. By this union of the rural schools with the town schools, the pupils in the country can enjoy the same advantages afforded those living in town, and the latter are also benefited by the greater strength given the school by the increased number of pupils brought about by centralization. There is no doubt but the higher advantages are afforded both town and country pupils by this union for systematic education. The Marathon schools have now been conducted for six years on the centralized plan, and there has yet been no desire to return to the former system. The schools have a present enrollment of three hundred and thirty-one. The high school is composed of a four year course, which is fully accredited. The present corps of teachers is constituted as follows: Superintendent, J. A. Woodruff; principal, M. Gwynn Ward ; music, Madge Kepple; Grade teachers : A. Effie Vorhis, Clara Bonath, Hannah Holeton, Emma Miller, Ethel Wichman and Jessie Smith. The following constitute the present board of directors: A. A. Wells, Z. W. Tremen, C. L. McLaughlin, J. E. Allison, T. L. Roberts, and A. H. Wessman.

First Grade 1927