Historyof Education in Lannon Area; Waukesha County, Wisconsin
Edited by Mike Reilly, c.November 6, 2000
Post Civil War Thru 1899
1864 – After the Civil War, people’s awareness ofpolitics, civics, and history were at all-time heightened levels.Consequentially, many schools included these topics as separate classes orweaved the material into their current curriculum.
Post Civil War – a wooden front entrance wasadded to the Willow Springs School to act as a cloak room.
1868 – Wisconsin law had a new provision addedthat required schools to submit a list of textbooks they were using in their curriculum.
1870 Federal Census of Menomonee Township revealsthere were (4-5) County School Teachers living within the Town: (also see the1860 Federal Census on the prior web page), though Mr. Starks may have taughtprivately or in a private school and didn’t perform regular teachingassignments. There was a definite drop in the number of teachers, at leastliving in the Town of Menomonee from 1860.
Sarah A. Connell, age 21, bornin Wisconsin.
Mary A. Dohney, age 18, bornin Wisconsin.
Adelia Fisher, age 24, born inWisconsin.
George C. Starks, age 30, amusic teacher, born in NY state.
John Summert, age 24, born inWisconsin.
1871 – Eventually what began in 1864, becameWisconsin law; a new provision mandated the teaching of the U.S. andWisconsin State Constitutions in all schools.
– The year alsobrought the first two-year “high school” in Waukesha County,built (or added to an existing common school) in Pewaukee, students came fromall around. Of those graduating later on, some went on to “Normal”schools, business schools, or other academies or colleges before they couldattend the University in Madison. [What was”high school”, especially if many schools only taught grades 1-5? InPewaukee’s case, it appears that “high school” was the 9th and 10thgrades (only), but this would have only allowed those students who hadgone through Grades 1-8 (?) ]
1872 – Union School on Grand Ave. in the Village of Waukesha, offersa four-year high school program.
1873 – By this year schools are offeringmore science related courses in their curriculum: algebra, astronomy, naturalphilosophy, orthography, and arithmetic, but what happened ten years earlier(1862) at Cottage School (in Brookfield) – a year in which fear of the”sciences” and its’ effect on religious beliefs came down to residentsvoting to ban the teaching of the “sciences”.
1873 – A plat of this year shows that IsaacS. Howard‘sinitial 80 acres has been reduced to 39 acres. The orig. acreage would have beenthe lower southwest portion of Section 17. Of this, the far east 20 acres, fromnorth to south, were sold to Herman Harmon who operated it as a quarry up to atleast 1899. A southwestern portion of 20 acres, running east to Herman Harmon,was sold to a G. Bench.
Of the 39 acres left of Howard‘s, the oneremaining acre appears to be situated on what was to become the original schoolsite on the southeast corner of present day Main St. and Lannon Rd. The 1873plat map does show a structure existing there; more than likely the Howardfamily home with the kiln being built earlier to the northeast near the riverfork. The map doesn’t show it as being a school though, the nearest schools tothe Howard land (which was almost centrally located between the two, were WillowSpring Jt.. District No. 6 to the southwest, and Sunnyside School Jt.. SchoolDistrict No. 9 to the northeast. Perhaps Mrs. Isaac(Lucy) Howard had a history of teachingthe local children in their home?
1874 – The Wisconsin School Library law wasenacted to allow districts to levy a special tax to purchase books. In the morerural areas, the “free traveling libraries” were created tomake books available.
– School districts were urged by the State to buy standardized textbooks andthen loan them to students, instead of the pupils bringing in their own or noneat all, The idea was to have one standard textbook per subject. This also madeit easier on the teacher to plan and conduct classes.
1875 – Women granted the right to vote in schoolelections, and to hold the position – Superintendent of Schools..
– SunnysideSchool in Menomonee Falls was replaced by a new “cream City brick”structure in 1875. Near the intersection of present-day Hwy 74 (Main St.) andMenomonee Ave.; Sunnyside School could have been used by Lannon arearesidents living on the east side of the future village. It would have beencloser than Willow Springs School. (Note to Editor -Find out more about Sunnyside School history and its’ use.)
– State law now provides grant money to support the addition of high schoolgrades (only 9th and 10th at the time), either taught in a separate schoolbuilding or in an existing elementary school. Prior to this, school districtswere on their own to pay for extravagance (see 1871).
1878 – In a two-room brick and wooden school, built circa 1867-68 for $2,000, near thepresent-day Lincoln School Annex building, Menomonee Falls added their firsttwo-year “high school” grades. Because of its’ proximity toLannon, this school was probably used more often by students who had”graduated” from Lannon area common schools; which up to about1892, were most likely only offering education in Grades 1-5 as were thosein Menomonee Falls (see question note above). (Editor’s Note: It was reported that a cord of wood (usedto heat the school) cost $2.50; $45 was paid to male teachers for a 12-14 weekterm, and only $25 to female teachers. Whether the rule of using male teachersin the winter months and female in the spring was still in practice is unknown,or if the spring term was any shorter (or longer) is also unknown – What isknown is that a male teacher usually received a higher salary than his femalecounter-part, and probably so regardless of ability.).
Note: since Section 16 was supposed to be set aside by Federal law to be used for a town’s school, wouldn’t you think that the very first school would be built there?See 1785
1879 – Wisconsin adopts its’first Compulsory Attendance Law, requiring at least 12 weeks of schoolattendance for all children, ages 7 – 15 years. Unfortunately, parents weren’twilling to pay for “Truant Officers” to enforce the law, nordid they feel compelled to send their children on a regular basis. There werealso “reasons” for not being able to attend school, for example, ifyou lived more than two miles from the nearest school, you could receive an attendanceexemption.
During the1870’s-80’s, the nation as a whole enjoyed a higher level of prosperity,allowing much needed school building repairs, updating, and whole new schoolsbeing built. In Sussex, the new school had separate entries and cloakrooms forboys and girls (still revealing that sex segregation was in place). Of course,the boys’ outhouse or privy was facing the west, and the girls’ to the east;each had a discrete cedar tree planted in front of its’ doorway.
1884 – St. John’s Academy reopens in Delafield.
1885 – Outhouses bring to mind what theTemperance advocates had included into State law this year: that physiologyand hygiene be required courses. Of course they weren’t thinking of privieswhen they insisted on these, but there was a lot of drinking going on in them -Pappy sipping on the jug (stowed conveniently away), men (and women) hoping theywouldn’t be seen drinking. Ask a bottle collector todaywhere one of the best places to find old bottles (earthen or glass) is!
1888-89/circa – The first (?) Lannon School is built ofstone on thesoutheast corner of what today is Lannon Rd. and Main St.
1889 – To achieve higher attendance levels, theState passed the Bennet Law which toughened attendance requirements andits’ enforcement. Its’ downfall came from an added clause that required schoolsto teach only in the English language. Despite Wisconsin’s “OpenDoor” policy to new immigration, there lurked the “Yankee” prejudicetowards these “welcomed immigrants”. Such an uproar resulted, that thelaw was repealed and attendance requirements reverted back to the prior 1879law.
1892 – Progressive Oconomowoc school districtsextend the school term for high school grades to a full nine months.Other school districts were pushing for establishing “gradedschools”. Menomonee Falls was to have offered Grades 1-10.
1893 – an arithmetic textbook cost about 27cents.
1895 – A new State statute required all”high schools” to provide a department of “manualtraining”.
1895/Oct. week of 17 -the new cream-colored brick Menomonee Falls High School was completed. ManyLisbon and Sussex (Including Lannon, Merton, and North Lake ?Some may have attended Pewaukee’s two-year high school.) students attend the high school by taking the BugLine Railroad to the Falls each morning, returning in the afternoon. Jumpto nextpage, 1919, to read more about this school.
1896/Dec., week of 24th – A new Lannon School (?) is built replacing the older stone (one-room?) schoolhouse; it was a four-roomtwo-story wooden structure, used until a new Lannon stone one was erected in1939.
1889 – Arbor Day activities, such as planting trees and”beautifying” the local grounds by students, was mandated by Statelaw.
ReferenceSources: “From Farmland to Freeways: A History Of WaukeshaCounty” edited by Ellen D. Langill and Jean Penn Loerke; the article “TheHistory of Education in Waukesha County” by Ellen D. Langill;”Public Education in Wisconsin” by Conrad C. Patzer,Superintendent of Practice Teaching – Milwaukee State Normal School, 1924.Issued by John Callahan, Wisconsin State Superintendent of Schools; “Memoirsof Waukesha County”, Theron W. Haight, editor, 1907; the works of local historian FredKeller, some of them printed or reprinted in the Sussex Sunnewspaper; and the microfilm Menomonee Falls News articles and “Glimpses ofMenomonee Falls – Past and Present” – Menomonee Falls SchoolHistory contributed by Carol Wildt, at the Maude Shunk Library; andthe microfilm Waukesha Freeman articles at the Waukesha PublicLibrary; plus the historical archives held by the Waukesha County HistoricalSociety Museum; in addition to interviews with current or former Lannon residents: Keith RichardGissal, Donald E. Miller, Shirley DeLorm (nee Wandsneider), and other individual input.