Preserving History

Collection of original school photos from the early 1930s.

American Bicentennial celebrations and projects occupied Prairie students and teachers in 1974. Congressman Larry Winn, Jr., presented the school with a flag that had flown over the nation’s Capitol. Cafeteria employees dressed in costume once a month to serve “American Heritage” meals; the first lunch was a New England Cape Cod style menu featuring fish, maize and Powhattan potatoes. The Prairie Campfire girls painted a likeness of principal Wayne Morris on the school fire hydrant as part of a country-wide bicentennial project. Kansas Governor Robert Bennet visited the school and spoke on the Declaration of Independence. Afterwards, he sent a seal of the State of Kansas to the school.

In February 1974, Jeanne Tapp worked to put together the Prairie School Heritage Room, displaying materials recording the history of the school. Included was a scrapbook complied for J.C. Nichols recording the the founding and growth of the plaza and country club district. Special displays featured the Johnson and Wornall families, the Porter family and Henry Coppock.

This room featured a book collection which included popular children’s literature from the early 1900s and textbooks on geography and arithmetic from 1866-1960s.

Also on display was a dress from the 1890s loaned to Prairie by the Kansas City Museum, as well as a cavalry uniform and McClellan saddle used during the Indian War. The Heritage Room was decorated with oak and walnut school tables refinished by the committee members. This project was funded by PTA members, and materials displayed were collected by Mrs. Jean Moore, former librarian, Mrs. Bruce Baker, Mrs. Alfred Biggs, Mrs. William McCrary, Jr., Mrs. Claude Kenyan, and Mrs. Kenneth Tapp, Jr.

In 1976, the Heritage Room opened to the public, as a part of Prairie’s Curriculum Fair.

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Collected from Sharon Elizabeth Bagg Research Papers: School Files, a Local Subject File, Printed Matter and Thesis and Notes.