School: Owen H. S. History (1898 - 1923)
Transcriber: Robert Lipprandt
Surnames: Andersen, Anderson, Baker, Barber, Bennett, Bergen, Butrude, Fox, Good, Griffin, Hall, Johnson, Kennedy, Keyes, McAdams, McGlynn, Martensen, Nygaard, Petersen, Shereda, Sutter, Thomas, Thompson, Walther, Weaver, Weirich
----Source: 1923 Owen High School Clover Leaf Yearbook, Ida J. Fox
In 1895 Owens first school building was erected. It was a one room building, and stood where the N. J. Anderson blacksmith shop now stands.
Mrs. T. H. Barber of Withee was one of the first teachers, holding her position for fourteen years. During this time she gained the love and respect of all who came in contact with her. Through this period more teachers were added as necessity demanded.
In 1899 and 1902 there were added two new rooms to the building, because the number of students became too large for the one room. Even with these two additions, it soon became evident that Owen needed a school building with the facilities for housing the children of a growing town.
The new building was first voted for by the people, and then a committee of three, J. P. Weirich, C. Hall and G. Andersen was chosen to make arrangements for the construction. They also attended to the disposal of the old building, one part of which was moved, and is still used as the town hall, the other being used as a residence.
In 1907 therefore, not only eight grades entered the new brick building, but also five young freshmen. Mina Martensen, Mary Anderson, Leland Griffin, Gertrude Thomas and Jennie Butrude were the first students in the Owen High School. The subjects these student carried were: Ancient History, Algebra, English and Commercial Law. These subjects were taught by Leslie Bennett, the first High School teacher.
Much credit is due to Mr. Bennett, as he did a great deal toward building up the school.
The following year, 1908, two classes entered High School, under the name of sophomores and freshmen.
At this time Mr. Thompson was chosen as Principal of the school. He held this position until Christmas, his duties being resumed at that time by Mr. Bergen. Mr. Bergen remained year, when he was succeeded by Mr. Nygaard and his assistant, Miss Baker. Under the guidance of these two, three students were brought in a position to be graduated from the Owen High School. These three students were: Ida McAdams, Leland Griffin and Oscar Petersen.
Up to this time, only three years of High School work were offered here. Students desiring to complete the full four years of High School were forced to go elsewhere to do so.
To Mr. Nygaard belongs the credit of bringing the work of this institution up to standard, so that it could be listed among the accredited schools at the University of Wisconsin. This advance was made in 1912, and from then on the full four years of High school work have been offered.
The first graduation exercises were held in the old hall which stood in the northwest corner of what now comprised the High School campus. This class chose as their motto, “Pioneers Through Life” as their colors, Gold and White; their class flower, the Yellow Rose.
At this period athletics came in to take a leading part in the school. Under Mr. Good, the principal in 1913, a basketball team was organized.
More students entered during 1913, and the school board saw the need of more teachers, which were secured at once. Thus increasing the facilities for school work of the highest grade.
Mr. Walther, our next principal, did much in promoting the welfare of the school. It was during his administration that Owen became prominent in athletics.
When C. L. Johnson was principal, in the years 1918-1920, the need of a new high school building became surprisingly apparent. It could be plainly seen by those who were connected with the school and especially those concerned in athletics, that more room was needed, as there was no place in town where indoor sports could be held. All this was considered, and finally, in 1919, the people voted for a new building. The plans for the building were arranged later by the school board which, at that time, consisted of Dr. Keyes, W. Sutter and V. F. Shereda.
Work was started on the new building by the local contractor, W. F. Weaver, on September 15, 1919, and was completed in the early fall of 1921. At this time 117 rejoicing students entered the new building, and took up their studies with renewed energy. Note the smallest part of the new feeling was cause by the athletic advantages which the new gymnasium afforded.
Another teacher was added this year, also a new subject, Latin, which the students found very interesting. Under the management of Miss Elizabeth Kennedy, the principal, the school improved rapidly and great progress in the work of the institution was apparent.
The following year, 1922-1923, Mr. T. J. McGlynn accepted the position of principal, and immediately took up his work. The additional subjects of Biology, Bookkeeping and second year Latin were offered to students who desired to take them.
The number of students was so large that the two lower classed had to be divided into two sections. The Senior class, which consisted of 26 members is the largest graduating class in the history of the school. Under the guidance of the five teachers they hope to accomplish a great deal in this, their last year.
Ida J. Fox
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