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brick school-house was erected on the same site. That building was subdivided into four school-rooms and was a very creditable school-building for that time.
Opon the completion of two lines of railway to the town and the subsequent rapid increase in population and wealth the people decided that they needed better school accommodations. The project of erecting new buildings was thoroughly discussed on the street corners, in the store rooms and through the city papers, and in March, 1877, a proposition to issue bonds to the amount of $25,000, for the purpose of erecting two school-houses, one in the east part of the city on the old school lot, and one in the west part of town, was submitted to the qualified electors of the district.
There was much opposition to the enterprise and great interest was manifested by both the friends and opponents of the measure. The proposition was carried by a majority of some sixty votes.
This preliminary measure having been carried the school board carried out the enterprise with promptness. J. D. Fulton, an architect of the town, was employed to draw plans and specifications, and another lot was purchased in Wright's Addition for the sum of $1,500. In June following the contract was awarded to Woodruff & Son and J. A. Welch, then a member of the school board, was appointed superintendent of the building operations; and to this last named individual is the city indebted, in a large measure, for the most elegant, commodious and economically constructed school buildings in the State.
The buildings were to have been finished by November following, but owing to the bad condition of the weather for building purposes, they were not completed till January, 1878.
The two buildings were erected at the same time and are precisely alike. They have a frontage of seventy-five feet, and extend back seventy feet and eight inches. The ceiling in the basement is eight feet eight inches from the floor, those of first and second stories fourteen feet. The foundation is constructed of good quarry limestone, and the walls of the building are of brick. The outside walls are thirty-eight feet ten inches from water-table to eaves, and the rise in the centre of gables is twelve feet-nine inches. towers, porches and windows are finished with the best terra cotta.
Six rooms in each building, each 374x26 feet, have been fitted up and are now used for school-rooms. There are also, in each building, three rooms in the basement adapted for school purposes should there be a demand for them; at present they are occupied by the janitors and their families. Each school-room is provided with a wardrobe, and the halls and stairways are commodious and conveniently arranged.
In the erection of the buildings provision was made for heating with hot air furnaces; these, however, have not yet been supplied, the buildings being heated by stoves.
The school-rooms are supplied with the best approved furniture and apparatus. The furnishing of the houses cost $3,200, which, together with lots and cost of buildings, makes the total expense $29,700.
The schools opened in the new buildings in January, 1878, under the management of Prof. J. W. Johnson. Mr. Johnson had just closed a term in the office of county superintendent of Mahaska county, and came to Knoxville under contract to organize and superintend the public schools of the city. He occupied the position of superintendent from January, 1878, till
July, 1880, and under his supervision the schools were brought into a high state of efficiency.
The high school is located in the east building, and the grammar school in the west school-house. There are four primary departments in each building, corresponding with one another.
The studies pursued in the primary and grammar departments are similar to those taught in the best graded schools of the State. The high school course has been extended from time to time; the following is the course as at first adopted:
The enumeration for the past year was 868.
The actual enrollment for the school year, beginning in September, 1879, and closing in June, 1880, was 729; average attendance, 503; average cost of tuition per month, 95 cents.
At the time the schools were first opened in the new school-houses the following constituted the school-board and officers:
Board-F. M. Frush, Jona Ruffner, D. T. Coats, W. A. Moody, M. Mil. ler, John Reed.
Officers-Minos Miller, president; C. B. Boydston, secretary; Ed. Baker, treasurer; J. W. Johnson, superintendent.
The following rules, adopted by the board in 1878, are still in force:
1. The regular meetings of the board shall be held on the first Wednesday of each month, except the regular meetings in March and September, which shall be held on the third Monday of said months. Special meetings may be called by the president; but no special meeting shall be held until all the members of the board have received notice.
2. Four members shall constitute a quorum.
3. The order of business in the regular meetings shall be as follows: Reading of minutes.
Communications and petitions.
The rules of order shall be the same as those governing all deliberative bodies.
4. The officers of the board shall be president, secretary, treasurer and superintendent.
5. The standing committees of the board-finance, supplies, teachers, text-books, etc.-shall be appointed annually at the March meeting.
The officers and members of the board at present are: John Reed, president; C. B. Boydston, secretary; E. Baker, treasurer; board: O. B. Ayres, D. T. Coats, S. G. Cushing, E. R. Hayes and J. D. Gamble.
H. C. Hollingsworth is the present superintendent who has under his care and direction ten teachers.
It is generally considered that there is no education which surpasses in practical benefit the newspaper which visits the home, and dealing with home matters, home interests and local surroundings, appeals to the intellect and the pride of the family by making its readers acquainted with that which immediately surrounds them. The influence of the local newspaper is generally underrated. Its treatment of great questions may be weak, but its appeals in behalf of its county or city seldom fall unheeded, or are cast aside as useless. It is gratifying that we can enter upon the history of newspapers in this city, after a careful examination of them at every period in the history of the county since they were established, and see the good they have done, and find that they have been so strong and influential as they have. Few other towns have had a larger number of papers, and there has been no time in its history but its newspapers have compared most favorably with the best which surrounded them in other counties of greater popularity and pretentions. They have been found always on the right side of the great questions which affect the morals of a community; temperance, Sunday-schools, schools, and the higher education, and with every movement looking to progress.
The first newspaper established in Knoxville was the Journal, established by Wm. M. Stone in 1855. It was established a short time after the organization of the Republican party and it and its immediate successors have been always regarded as the most able and fearless exponents of Republicanism in the State. We are enabled to trace out the career of the Journal and its successors of different names until the Journal again appeared but are not able to give the names of all the proprietors and editors nor the dates when these changes in ownership took place. We give the facts so far as we have been able to get at them. The Journal which was established by Stone was published in 1857 by W. J. Bigelow, who in October of the same year took in as partner J. C. Baird.
Sometime prior to 1865, B. F. Williams purchased the paper which in the meantime was changed to the Republican.
During the year 1865, Williams took in a partner named H. W. RobinBon. In August, 1866, Williams & Robinson sold the Republican to W.G. Cambridge, who in turn sold the paper to A. F. Sperry and Francis C. Barker, in March, 1867. Upon taking possession of the paper Sperry & Barker changed the name to The Voter.
In August, 1872, Sperry sold out his interest to Mr. Barker, who published the paper alone until June 4, 1876, when Mr. T. C. Masteller became associated with him. The firm name was Barker & Masteller, and with the first issue by the new proprietors the name was changed to Knoxville Journal, the original name of the paper.
In the issue dated June 11, 1874, appears the following editorial giving reasons for changing the name:
"Knoxville Journal will surprise all of our readers, of course; but to many-those who in the early days of the Republican party and the latter days of its illustrious Whig predecessor, the familiar name will be an agree able surprise, reminding them of the pioneer days of 1855, of 1856 and the rallying cry of Freemen, Free soil and Fremont'; of the birth of the party which has made free men of millions of slaves, which gave free soil to Kansas, and in its youthful struggle to elect Fremont; Made way for Liberty'-here the quotation must end, it did not die. But we have almost
lost our text.
"The name is not new. During all the years you have been reading the Marion County Republican and the Iowa Voter, the same types-in part-have been doing you service which under the name of Knoxville Journal, exhorted the people of Marion county and the Hawkeye State to vote for John C. Fremont and Abraham Lincoln. During all these years you have really been reading the Knoxville Journal in disguise. The old name is really more euphoneous than either of its substitutes; it is more in keeping with the character of the paper; does not presume to occupy a field too broad, as did the name just laid aside--it is much more modest. The Journal is proud of its home, and proud of the name of one of the most moral, peaceful and prosperous, and consequently happiest cities in Iowa; not ashamed of the name Knoxville as part of its own and indulges the hope that Knoxville may never be ashamed of the Journal.
"October 1, 1855, the Journal was established, and hence is now almost nineteen years old. It will attain its majority in 1876, the centennial year of our national independence, although it has been a Voter seven years.' This management continued about two years, when Mr. Barker became and has since been publisher and proprietor.
The second newspaper enterprise in Knoxville was started by J. L. McCormack in September, 1865.
Although Mr. McCormack served two terms in the State Senate after that, he continued the publication of the Democrat until February, 1879, when he sold the paper and the commodious brick building which he had erected for an office, to D. Overton, Esq.
Upon purchasing the paper and material Mr. Overton leased it to Minos Miller and J. D. Gamble, who changed it from a Democrat to a Greenback paper.
In January, 1880, Messrs. Miller & Gamble retired and since then it has
been published by S. van der Meulen and F. Florey, the former being editor and the latter manager of the mechanical department of the office.
In February, 1880, the name of the paper was changed from that of the Democrat to that of the Express. Since assuming control of the paper Florey & van der Meulen have met with good success, they having doubled their circulation in a little over one year.
Mr. van der Meulen, the editor, is a native of Germany, he having been a citizen of the United States but a few years, and prior to assuming editorial charge of the paper had but little newspaper experience. He is a man, however, of good education, having graduated from the Eberfeldt Seminary, one of the best schools in Germany. After coming to this country he corresponded with several journals in Holland and Hanover and dur ing the last few months prior to the retirement of Miller & Gamble from the Democrat, was assistant editor.
Upon assuming editorial management of the paper Mr. van der Menlen published the following salutatory:
"In taking charge of the Democrat we feel it due the friends and patrons of this paper to say a few words as explanation in regard to the editorial and business management of this paper, and also to let the public know the course we expect to pursue. Having leased the Democrat office from Mr. Drewry Overton, we shall employ our best talent, energy and pluck to make it a welcome visitor to every household in Marion county, a pride to the city of Knoxville and a credit to ourselves. We are well aware that we are entering a new field, one which requires talent not alone, but also experience in order to assure a large measure of success. Yet we believe ourselves to be able to amend what we lack by paying strict attention to business, and thus command the patronage and good-will, of not alone the old patrons, but of a good many more.
"We suppose it is hardly necessary to say that we will most heartily advocate the principles of the National Greenback party, upon the merits of the same, believing that only by the means of them this nation can once more be prosperous and happy.
"And now, with good-will to all, and malice to none, we roll up our sleeves, go to work, and try to merit the good-will and patronage of the public so freely given to this paper in the past."
In less than one year after disposing of the Democrat, Mr. McCormack determined to re-embark in the newspaper business, and in January, 1879, started a paper called the Reporter. He has just completed a very convenient two-story brick building twenty by forty-six feet, on Third Street, north of public square. The first story is fitted up for editor's office and press-room; the second story is used for composing rooms.
Mr. McCormack has a genius for the editorial profession and is regarded as one of the best newspaper men in the State.
Upon establishing the Democrat in 1865, Mr. McCormack published the following salutatory:
"It has always been the custom, we believe, in bringing a newspaper before the people for their patronage and support, to set forth the object that caused its advent, if any particular object exists; and to lay down rules by which it, in its intercourse with its readers, will be controlled.
"Since the organization of parties, newspapers have generally advocated the principles and policy of one or the other political parties, and it is expected that an editor on assuming the chair should inform those who are