Becoming a Community

Additions onto the schoolhouse
Additions onto the schoolhouse

In 1912, the old schoolhouse was torn down, and a new white frame building with a front porch built. According to the Kansas City Star the building cost $2,000. The ceiling of the main room was 14 feet high and the room 37 by 28 feet. It had a front hall with cloak rooms and stairs leading down to the coal room and basement playroom. The schoolhouse was lit by gas light obtained by an acetylene generator. A simple hot air furnace reduced the annual coal bill to $30, and was installed for $100. The teacher’s desk stood on a raised platform at the north end of the room. This platform was also used as a stage for student plays, box suppers and meetings of the Literary Society. The Anti-Horsethief League (Central Protective Association) also met at the school. This group was organized by the dairy and truck farmers in the area to catch thieves stealing chickens, hogs and horses.

New playground equipment was designed and installed by the teacher, Mr. Burbridge. Students played basketball, softball and English-style football. “Shinny” was a type of field hockey played with sticks and a can, and “Annie-Over” was a team game in which the ball was thrown over the schoolhouse roof. They also played Fox and Wolf in the snow, Drop the Handkerchief and had jump rope contests. Brush Creek was conveniently located for ice skating or fishing. Traditionally, on April 1st, you went swimming even if you had to “break the ice.”

Parents built an open shed on the school grounds to house the horses rode to school. In cold weather, dogs were allowed into the schoolroom where they slept by the stove. When not in lessons, girls were busy at “fancy work,”  defined as sewing aprons or needlepoint.

Boys played baseball twice a month on Friday afternoons with other schools if their lessons were caught up. On one occasion, Corinth boys showed up for a scheduled game and the Prairie teacher sent them home because her students had not finished their lessons.

In 1926 a room was added to the north of the school, and in 1931 two more rooms were added to the west of the structure. Prairie was now a four-room school, with two grades in each room. In 1931, Lloyd Dobbs became the principal of Prairie

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Research conducted by Mrs. Jeanne Tapp, May 1972 (sources cited here).