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Curtiss-Wedge, F.; Jones, Geo. O. (ed.) / History of Dunn County, Wisconsin
(1925)

Chapter XXII: biographical,   pp. 247-958


Page 248

HISTORY OF DUNN COUNTY
erect and equip these buildings in the outlying portions of the city, but he also
provided for the teaching force and met all the expenses until the time the kinder-
gartens were taken over by the Board of Education. In 1897 the Central High
school building and the large Manual Training building were both burned. The
fire entailed a personal loss upon Mr. Stout of not less than $50,000. This reversal
stimulated rather than dampened his ardor. Before the ruins were cold Mr. Stout
was waited upon by a delegation of citizens and earnestly requested to erect another
building. In response he agreed to put up another and better building to cost
$60,000, on condition that the citizens should build a high school to cost as much.
This offer was gladly accepted by the city and a S60,000 Central School building was
provided. Mr. Stout not only made good on his offer, but expended more than
$100,000 in the new manual training building and its equipment. An enlarged
force of teachers was provided at Mr. Stout's expense, the expense not falling
upon the taxpayers, as the records show. Menomonie was probably the first city
in the United States to have a thoroughly organized course of manual training and
domestic science, extending from the kindergarten through the High school. The
locd scho  I system has become a subject of study by educators all over the country,
and countless numbers have made pilgrimages to the city to study the Menomonie
plan and methods. While the perfecting of this system was a matter of great pride
and satisfaction to Mr. Stout, he had from the beginning larger plans in view, seek-
ing the betterment of the average school child's opportunities in every part of the
country. As an object lesson the Menomonie schools tended to this end in a large
degree, but he aimed still further. In 1903 the Stout Training Schools for the prep-
aration of Manual Training and Domestic Science teachers were organized in
Menomonie. The inspiration for the enlarged scope of the institutiou was a con-
viction in Mr. Stout's mind that a larger supply of well-trained teachers in these
lines was required than was afforded by sources then in existence. The facilities
for manual training were not fully utilized by the local needs and the opportunity
was at hand for engaging in the broader field. The training schools opened in
September, 1903, with two students in the Manual Training department and 23 in
the Domestic Science department, all of whom sought preparation for teaching.
L. D. Harvey, late state superintendent of public instruction, was in charge of the
work, having been made superintendent of the entire school system of Menomonie.
The absolute separation of the Stout Institute from the school system of Menomonie
in 1908 followed a comprehensive report to the Board of E ducation made by
Superintendent Harvey, in which it was made clear that this feature of the school
work would always entail a deficit, and for its further development additional pro-
vision must be made which would involve an expenditure which could not and should
not be made by the city. This deficit had been met in the past wholly by Mr. Stout,
and it was recommended that provision for the future be made through a separate
corporate body under the management of a Board of Trustees. The impression
that Menomonie was paying more for its schools than other cities was shown to be
incorrect, notwithstanding that through the exic'tence of the manual training schools
the pupils of the local system were given the best advantages in this line enjoyed
in any public school system in the country, large or small. The benefits to the
community have been manifest, notably in the  greater length of time the students
on an average remain in school, and in their increased earning capacity after gradua-
tion. Mr. Stout was one who was never content to do things by halves. His
plans were always comprehensive, and he stood by them until they were carried to
completion. This trait in his character as well as his unbounded-liberality was
well shown in his provision for the physical well-being of the students of the schools
in which he was interested. After building up, at personal sacrifice of a vast sum
of money, an unparalleled manual training system of which the pupils of the public
schools received the benefit; after installing kindergartens and equinment so that
the training of the child from the beginning might be the most thorough and com-
plete known to modern educational progress, after lending his encouragement,
influence and personal services as chairman of the Board of Education to the up-
building of a perfect system of city schools, he had another form of munificence in
248


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