A 1923 Historical Note


This historical note was in the 1923 Souvenir Edition of "The Rail-Splitter."  The what??  Wait till the next section.


    "The beginning of our present modern [1923] junior high schools were [sic] made in 1910, when all the seventh and eighth grade pupils were brought together into the old high school building located on the southeast corner of the Central school block and now known as the Franklin school.  [That's it on the right, from the 1907 Trail.]

     "In 1914 the school was moved into the old Central building [probably where that photo was taken from, north-east of where 'our' barn was later placed].  Some new opportunities were offered pupils at this time.  Teachers were required to teach not more than two subjects.  Music, freehand drawing, and mechanicial [sic] drawing as well as penmanship and spelling were taught by special teachers.  No general chapel exercises were held but a 'Home Room' plan was worked out that proved to be very successful."



     "The Lincoln building [yes, that's 'ours'], modern and up-to-date in every respect, was completed and ready for occupancy in February of 1916.  On February 2 the seventh and eighth grade pupils together with about fifty freshmen moved into this new building."


     So when we were freshmen, this building was about 39 years old.


     The caption says there were 291 8th graders and 282 9th graders when Salina's population was about 12,000. 

     I counted 9th grade faces in our 1954 Junior High Lights and got 211 girls and 180 boys for a total of 391 when Salina's population was about 17,000.  The class size tracks the city size rather closely over these 30 years.

     Our 1957 graduation class had very close to 300, or about 3/4 the number in our 9th grade.  If that same fraction applies to 1923 then 211 of those 282 would eventually graduate from SHS.




     "The enrolment [sic] in the 7th, 8th, and 9th grades grew rapidly and it was found necessary to build another building.  The new Roosevelt building was completed and occupied by the entire 7th grade in the fall of 1921.  This arrangement permitted the housing of the entire 8th and 9th grades in the Lincoln building.  The enrollment for this year is 816."


     Lincoln Jr. High's construction must have required demolishing Old Central and the "Franklin" school shown at the top of this page.  The Barn was placed just to the west of the old Central location.  I used a magnet to collect many square nails from the location of Old Central.  It was entertainment.



               The Rail-Splitter


     "The Rail-Splitter, the official paper of the Salina Junior High School was established in the fall of 1916, when the printing instructor felt that a school paper would furnish a purpose for his printing classes.  The English teachers also saw that a paper would be an incentive for good composition work.  The English and printing departments then together established the Junior High School paper in Salina. 

     "One of the first questions was that of a name.  Since the Junior High building was named after Lincoln, it was decided to call the school paper 'The Rail-Splitter' after that same great American.

     "The Rail-Splitter is published weekly.  This (1923) is the second year that an annual has been published."



               Junior High Classrooms (1923)


     They look rather old and strange, but we must have had classes in the same rooms 31 years later! 

          The photos are in this particular order, but for no particular reason.




     Looks like "Domestic Science" back then became "Home Economics" in our day.  I couldn't find an equivalent on today's SHS Central web site.  But at KSU "Home Ec" has become "Human Ecology" these days.  Here and there I've also seen "Family and Consumer Sciences" and "Home Science."


     I'm not sure what equipment is in this classroom.  Is it cooking or laundry?  Something required aprons.


     Note that this is a Lincoln classroom.




     And THIS is the Roosevelt classroom for Domestic ART, not SCIENCE.  I'm really quite confused by it all.

     This is in the 1925 Rail-Splitter when the photographer decided not to clutter the photos with mobs of students.  You can clearly see the sewing machines with their foot-powered treadmills. 

     The Rail-Splitter has this list of work accomplished by the girls in domestic arts in 1925:

(a) Mastery of common stitches; towels were hemmed and samples of stitches made.

(b) A sewing apron was completed.

(c) A notebook, containing a girl's yearly budget, was made; illustrations included.

(d) Learning embroidery stitches.

(e) Our first machine problems were towels and holders for Domestic Science next year.

(f) Christmas present were made. 

(g) Seams of different kinds were learned, and fabrics discussed.

(h) Making of Domestic Science aprons.

(i)  Darning, patching and making of button holes.

(j) The final problems are elective as long as they do not select too difficult a problem.


     In 2006 I met the woman who was going to move into largest apartment in the "Pioneer Presidents Place" after the renovation was completed from the two junior highs.  Her apartment was the old Home Ec room(s) in Lincoln, she said.  She gave me a tour of the whole building.  I must have told her a boring tale or two from the 1950s; that's what gizzers do.




Back to 1923.


   Printing was still done about the way invented by Gutenburg in 1440:

   Arrange type letters by hand, struggling to read letters backwards, slather them with ink, and press the mess onto a piece of paper. 

   Maybe in 1923 the pressing part used some electricity to help out, but using electricity to "set" type and "print" as I'm doing right now was impossible to imagine.


     Is there any tool ever invented that is more versatile than electricity?









An alternative to a printing press in 1923 was a typewriter.  With new carbon paper you could make maybe 3 copies at once, pounding on the keys with enough force.

   Typing on a special mimeograph paper would allow a hundred copies to be made with a small, smelly rotating printing machine, some of which would even be readable.


I'd bet there isn't a single typewriter in any Salina school these days, unless they have a museum.


What's in that picture hanging on the back wall?





     Funny how I remember this assembly room as being larger.  Note the fancy decorations on the front of the balcony.  But I do remember listening to an anti-smoking talk by Glenn Cunningham, the world's record mile runner in 1934 at 4:06.8 min.  He was raised in Elkhart, KS.  I knew his story of recovering from a horrible leg accident as a boy because he was featured in a page in some comic book (Classic Comics?) in the early 1950s.  During another, more boring program I let my leg go to "sleep" for 45 min. and discovered it didn't work very well for a several minutes afterwards; I didn't intend for a leg problem to make me a great miler, and it didn't.  Otherwise, whatever happened in this room has faded away from me.  You (I, actually) remember the darndest things.  Just what DO you remember?







This is the stage at Lincoln with the  orchestra as shown in the 1923 Rail-Splitter.  It looks rather fancy, like the front of the balcony.  I saw it again in 2006 as I toured the new apartment complex and was impressed by it then too.















Could this be the same room where Mr. Elder introduced us to wood, metal, concrete, and a swat paddle that made you dread having a birthday.


The paddle made such an impression (to my mind as well as my bottom) I seem to remember having three birthdays in that one year.  Not likely.


The room seems smaller than I recall, which means it must be just right.














We knew it as "Shop", not "Manual Training".  I wonder if this is the same room where we boys made simple chairs 30 years later?  Like the fellows in these photos, we didn't use any power tools then either.  They were too dangerous.











        Just for Fun


     If I remember correctly, school always started very early in September.  On this latest month of September I'll look back at the junior high era before we were born:  mostly the 1920s.  The information and photos are from year books in the Salina library's Campbell Room of Kansas Research that I visited last April to copy things that I found interesting.


     We still used a small 1903 Carnegie library when we were in school.  I recall seeing stereopticons on top of the book shelves, but I don't recall looking at any 3D photos with them; they must have had some somewhere.  The current Salina library dates from 1968, with renovations in 1996.  I think it's a very good library with helpful librarians.