History Corner: How elementary schools came to be
by Ron Swift | Patterson Irrigator
Jun 13, 2013 | 850 views | 0 0 comments | 49 49 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Back in 1913 —100 years ago — providing an education for the families of Patterson’s new and growing community was a major issue.

Patterson Grammar School, now Las Palmas School, was the first to open here in the infancy of the community, and by 1913 already had an addition under construction. By that fall, the newly formed high school district would offer secondary classes in that additional space. The new high school building had yet to be authorized and would not open until the spring of 1915.

But logistics became a problem. Rural children came to class via a variety of transportation: walking, riding horseback, horse and buggy, or in a few instances, by auto over rough, and sometimes, impassible roads.

That outlined the issue. Should the elementary district construct new schools in the rural area, and if so, where?

Meetings of rural parents occurred — one in the northern part of what was called the Colony and another in the south. Votes were tabulated at the meetings, and the north favored a rural classroom while the south turned down the idea. The latter vote was 11 opposing a southern school and six favoring the proposal.

Soon thereafter, the elementary district trustees made the decision to open a new school in the Colony’s northern area, possibly on Magnolia Avenue. But not in the south Colony.

That immediately added to the controversy.

Within days, the elementary district trustees received a petition signed by about three dozen southern Colony parents who wanted the matter to be reconsidered. They claimed their meeting had not been well publicized, the turnout was very light, and that the issue should be reconsidered.

Interestingly, the family that hosted the southern meeting was one of the petition signers.

Not knowing what to do, the trustees turned the controversy over to a Mrs. Boggs, then the county superintendent of schools.

(To be continued)

By Ron Swift, curator of the Patterson Township Historical Society’s downtown museum

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