History of Delavan Schools

History of Delavan Schools

In the Articles of the Delavan Association (1836), funds were allocated providing educational facilities in the settlement.

Prior to this, school was conducted in the home of Mrs. Homer, north of Delavan. The school term opened with good weather in the spring and continued until late fall. Tuition was $1.00 per term. Between 1858-1863, the Misses Dickey had a private school. In 1862, Mrs. Abbie Newman, musician and teacher, started a singing school. Miss Susan Hopkins conducted a "select school" over Crawshaw's store where extra curricular studies of Latin, music, and needlework were featured.

The first school was built on Chestnut Street in 1840 (the present site of the National Guard Armory). A new building of two rooms was erected in 1860 at the corner of Fourth and Pine Streets. In 1871, a three-story school house was built on the block north of Ayer Library. It housed the eight grades and four years of high school (the first high school of graduating class was in June, 1876). In December of that same year, the new school building was partially destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt the following summer.

In 1894, the school was remodeled and an addition built. Gymnastics were taught on the third floor. This building was torn down in 1964.

A new high school district was organized in 1922 and a two-story and basement building was erected at a cost of $150,000.00. The building opened for classes in January, 1923.

In 1937 an athletic field was constructed as a WPA (Works Progress Administation) project.

On March 19, 1948, a community consolidated school district was voted and all children of the country schools were brought into Delavan by school buses.

In 1950, the eight graders were moved to the high school building: in 1951, the seventh graders were moved.

The junior high building was completed in 1955 and in 1963, a new grade school and gymnasium were completed. Now all classes - kindergarden through high school - are at the same location.

The bell which in now displayed on the high school lawn is the one that hung in the 1871 red brick school. When the building was taken down in 1963, the bell was purchased from the school system by Robert M. Culbertson, Sr., and was placed at its present location through the efforts of Frank W. Hatten.

**Information taken from the 150th Anniversay book for Delavan (1987)

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