History of the Beaman-Conrad-Liscomb School, 1857-1993

History of the Beaman School, 1857-1994

The Beaman School system has its early beginning on the W. W. Brooks farm in 1857, with a devotion toward education and with few luxuries. These events reflect the importance that everyone realized toward schooling of the pioneer families and were maintained thru many hardships.

The first school house was built in 1860 and moved to town in 1881 after the town of Beaman was incorporated in 1875. At a later date, this building was replaced with a new two-story structure that remained in use until 1917 when a new consolidation was organized and a new modern structure was built. An addition of a large gymnasium was completed in 1948 and provided the area with a proud school system that reflected a growing desire for better education for a great many years. In 1958, the Beaman district merged with the Conrad area and the Liscomb community followed in another consolidation in 1962 to complete the Beaman-Conrad-Liscomb Schools.

The many talents of the Beaman District have reflected in a number of successful graduates from their community in past years. These same talents had added a great deal to the new consolidated effort in recent years and fine graduating classes.

History of the Conrad School

A new structure was built in 1897 to accommodate the ninth and tenth grades on property east of the Methodist Church. Two more classes were added in 1899 and the school was accredited as a twelve-year high school facility. The first senior class graduated in 1902 and the community shared the results of a united effort toward better education

Community Consolidation was voted on successfully in 1920 and five rural frame schoolhouses were moved to the original location beside the brick building. Horse-drawn bus transported the rural pupils from the surrounding area.

History of the Liscomb School (Marshall County)

The town of Liscomb was laid out in 1868 and school became an important part of life at this same time with the first teachings of a three-month period. Their first building was moved to the town of Liscomb and enlarged to accommodate more classes and a longer term of attendance. Another larger school was voted very favorably in 1872 and included more advanced grades and again enlarged in 1890 due to increased enrollment. A new consolidated school was completed in 1919 with a full twelve-year offering of classes and graduated its first alumni in 1921. All these building projects reflect a steady devotion to better education in the area and represented a great deal of effort by the people of the community. Like a great many schools in the state, the standards of teaching and declining enrollment forced this area into still another consolidation and in 1962 the Liscomb area joined with Beaman and Conrad districts to become the Beaman-Conrad-Liscomb Community Schools. The inherited desire for better education has been ever present among the residents of this area and their talents have added a lot of respect and a great amount of pride to the new area consolidation.

Early School History

(Excerpted from "History of Conrad" by the Conrad Woman's Club and compiled by "Toddie" Alexander in 1966)

1850's - A small stone building built to store meat on the J. W. Conrad farm southwest of Conrad was offered for use as a school (and Church services) though it provided close quarters. Dr. Elijah Fisher (2nd settler to come to the area southeast of Conrad's farm) was the first teacher.
After a year or two, a larger frame school building was built to the east, on the Grundy-Marshall county line where the farm house stands on the corner one-half mile south and one and a half mile east of Conrad.

1856 - The first school built of stone construction by Solomon Wilhelm and Jonas Wiley, pioneer settlers of Conrad, was located where the Community Center and Masonic Temple now stand.

1860 - The first school was built by Solomon Wilhelm and Jonas Wiley on the north side of Wolf Creek at the southeast corner of the town square intersection traffic light. Part of the lumber was hauled from Iowa City. A. D. Wiley was the first teacher, and David Crecelius was the sub-director.

1868 - The school building was remodeled by John Morrow.

1878 - The site of the school building was needed for commercial purposes so the building was razed and the lumber was used to build a house west of the site. A new frame schoolhouse was built on East Center Street between Vernon and Dwight Streets (now part of the residence of the Tom Alexander family). The front balcony was where the school bell hung. It was built by J. F. Steven. Ed Anderson was the teacher and G. J. Hurlbutt was the director.

History of Conrad High School

(Excerpted from the 1911, 1918 and 1921 Annuals or Fragors and the 1925 Dedication Brochure)

1897 - A brick school building of four rooms and a basement was built east of the Methodist church for $12,000. The foundation was of local quarry stone.

1899 - The first school board of directors was E. L. Guild, Pres. , Wm. Conrad I, A. W. Randall, Dr. Wm McClain, and M. B. Cooledge, B. C. Brook, Sec'y.
The school comprised only ten grades, with the first class graduating that spring with Commencement exercises being held in the Phoenix Hall (northern half of the second floor of the First State Bank). That summer, two more grades were added so that the school could become accredited.

1902 - Two additional rooms were added to the south side. The first class graduated from the four year high school course, also held in the Phoenix Hall, as were other classes to follow later until the place was changed to the Methodist Church.

1901 - The first Alumni Banquet was held in the Henry Clarke home in the fall for the first two graduating classes.

1909 - The class of 1909 was the last class that each member was required to write and give an oration at Commencement Excercises.

1910 - The class of 1910 was the first class to have a Commencement speaker, and also the first class to wear caps and gowns.

1918 - The study of German was removed from the curriculum due to World War I.

1920 - On March 2nd, school patrons voted to form a consolidated school district which was put into effect by moving five rural schoolhouses into Conrad behind the brick school building to house grades 8 through 7 and bussing the students (via horse-drawn busses).

1923 - On April 28, school patrons voted to erect a new school building on the east edge of Conrad.
- Construction began the following August.
- Nov. 19. The cornerstone was laid with appropriate ceremonies.

1924 - May. The last class was graduated from the old school building.
- September. The new school building was completed with a bonded indebtedness of $150,000
- Fall. All classes moved to the new school building in a marching procession eastward on Maple Avenue, with all the students carrying their own books.

1925 - Jan. 23. The new school building dedication program was held in the gymnasium with Gov. John Hammill giving the address.
- May. The first class graduated from the new building with Commencement exercises held in the gymnasium, as was the Baccalaureate service.

1942 - Sept. Kindergarten class was established.

1955 - Feb. A committee was formed to investigate the consolidation of the Beaman and Conrad schools.
- Dick Lynch and Homer Anderson represented the Beaman School Board and Francis Bristley and Russell Eggleston represented the Conrad School Board.

1958 - May. The last class to graduate from Conrad High School. CHS phased out that summer when the Conrad and Beaman schools merged.

History of the Merged Schools

--compiled by Alumni Historians - Lorraine Smith Harris (1931) and Cloris Stubbs Zern (1953)

1958 - Sept. The Beaman-Conrad Community School began operation with some of the elementary grades using the Beaman building.

1961 - Sept. The Liscomb School merged with Beaman-Conrad Community School - with the 3 schools being used.

1964 - Sept. A. F. S. exchange student program began.

1968 - May. Bid letting began on the new east additions to the school building.

1969 - The board paid $1,750 per acre for a 5-acre tract on the Geise property.

1970 - The new gymnasium-auditorium complex plus offices for the Superintendent and the Secretary of the School Board, and Science Laboratory on the upper level were completed.

1975 - Sept. The school system became officially known as the Beaman-Conrad-Liscomb (B. C. L.)

1976 - Sept. The middle school (grades 6, 7 & 8) was established at the Conrad building.

1977 - The school building at Liscomb was razed.

1978 - April. The new elementary school building at Conrad completed for use by grades Kindergarten through Grade 5. (They had been using the Beaman and Conrad school buildings.)

1979 - Summer. The school building at Beaman was razed.

1985 - BCL Foundation was established.

1986 - July. Whole grade sharing with Union-Whitten approved
- Kindergarten and Grades 5 through 8 at Union.
- Kindergarten through 4 at Conrad elementary
- Grades 9 through 12 at Conrad High School

1988 - July. Sharing wrestling, wrestling cheerleaders, cross-country, and some classes with Grundy Center High School approved.
- Will be called Tri-Co.

1992 - July. Reorganization between BCL and Union-Whitten approved.

Transcribed from CHS-BCLUW Alumni, 1993

Consolidation Carried At Conrad

The people of Conrad and vicinity voted Tuesday on the question of consolidation and it carried by a vote of 160 for to 29 against.

The proposed territory comprises twenty-eight sections in Grundy County and eight sections in Marshall county. This will make a good sized territory for the proposed school.

The vote in detail was as follows: For consolidation: town 90, country 70; against consolidation: town 8, country 21. In other words the vote stood 160 for to 29 against.

One fact of considerable significance is that the proposed Conrad territory adjoins the Beaman consolidated district on the west. The Beaman consolidated district has been in operation for five years and the two towns are close together. If consolidation had not been popular in the Beaman territory it would have had its effect on the election held Tuesday at Conrad.

But from all we can learn the people of Beaman and vicinity are highly pleased with their consolidated school and so will the Conrad people be when they get it in operation.

Hats off to the citizens of Conrad and vicinity for their progressive spirit.

--The Grundy Republican (Grundy Center, Iowa), 4 March 1920, pg 2

The work of moving the country school houses to Conrad to be used in the plan of consolidation is underway. The Ralston, Stewart, Canon and Rockhill schoolhouses are to be used to house the school in until the new building can be completed. The above step will impress us with the fact that consolidation is here to stay. Just what kind of a building will be erected for that purpose will be up to tax payers to decide in the near future.

--The Grundy Republican (Grundy Center, Iowa), 15 July 1920, pg 7