University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The State of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

Curtiss-Wedge, F.; Jones, Geo. O. (ed.) / History of Dunn County, Wisconsin

Chapter XIII: The county school system,   pp. 78-90

Page 88

now of Milwaukee State Normal School, who with Supt. L. D. Harvey, gave
publicity to the idea which was promptly seized upon by Marathon County, and
especially by her capital city, Wausau, to whom belongs the credit of impressing
the state legislature with the importance of investing a portion of the school funds
for the improvement of the rural schools.
"As a result of their publicity work, the legislature of 1899 made an appropria-
tion of $2,500 to establish experimental training schools in two counties of the
state, of which Marathon County should be one. This sum was to be divided be-
tween the two counties, S1,250 each, provided the county board of said county
would set aside 82,500, or twice the amount given by the state, for the same purpose.
"Marathon County responded promptly and her school was opened Sept. 11,
1899, with Ex-State Supt. 0. E. Wells as principal and Miss Rosalia Bohrer as
assistant. Twenty-five student teachers were enrolled the first day and the school
has gone on from that day with rapid strides to its present splendid strength.
"At this meeting in Menomonie, Aug. 10, 1899, there were present Senator
J. H. Stout, Mr. R. J. Mathews, Mr. J. E. Florin, County Supt. Varnum, Mr. G. W.
Clark and several members of Lhe County Board of Supervisors. Supt. Har-x ey
made a very forceful presentation of the need of trained teachers throughout the
state, and County Supt. Varnum gave important statistics showing the number of
schools and teachers in the county and the extent of training for the teaching work.
"It was due largely to the discussions at this meeting and to the far-sighted
vision of Senator Stout and his desire to promote educational advantages for the
boys and girls in Dunn County that at a special meeting of the county board held
Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1899, by a unanimous vote, it was decided that Dunn County
should be the second county to accept the state's proposition. The state would
pay $1,250, the city of Menomonie $500, and the county of Dunn $1,700. The
school should be opened on Monday, Sept. 18, 1899, to graduates of the eighth
grade and others who so elected, and it should offer a one year course.
"A Training School Board was elected consisting of President J. H. Stout,
Treasurer J. E. Florin, Secretary N. 0. Varnum, it being so ordered that the county
superintendent should always be ex-officio secretary of this board.
"The board was empowered to secure a principal for the school at once and an
assistant as soon as necessary; and on Monday, Sept. 18, 1899, exactly seven days
later than the opening of the Marathon County school, Principal W. L. Morrison
stood before a group of twelve student teachers ranging from eighth grade to high
school graduates and formally organized this school. The following.week eleven
more students enrolled and Mr. Waite acted as assistant to Mr. Morrison until a
permanent teacher could be secured.
"On October 23 of the same year the membership had reached 41 and Miss
Elizabeth Allen of the Milwaukee State Normal School took her place as assistant.
During that first year 57 students were enrolled, 18 of whom were graduated June
29, 1900. The course of study prescribed covered necessary reviews of all subjects
taught in the rural schools added to a year's training along professional lin 2s.
"The school was most fortunate at its inception in having men associated with
its organization who so well understood the needs of the county and who were so
strongly committed to the promotion of its welfare and to the advancement of
rural schools, and also to the splendid attitude of the county board of supervisors.
"With no'charge for their use Senator Stout furnished and equipped two large
rooms on the fourth floor of the Stout Manual Training building, at the south end
of the building, for the use of the school, and here it was housed for two years until
it had a building of its own.
"The enrollment in the fall of 1900 made it evident that a building would very
soon be an actual recessity, and the county board of that year appointed a ccm-
mittee to investigate the matter. Senator Stout offered the gift of "Music Hall,"
formerly the old Baptist church, provided the city of Menomonie would furnish a
lot. Af ter due consideration of the building and other factors in the situation, the
matter was voted down for these reasons: The conservative element of the board
considered the school still in its experimental stage. The building in itself was

Go up to Top of Page