April 12th, 1870: “[Term began] April 4th. No winter school. Emily Rhode, Special certificated. Visited April 12th. Eleven pupils.”
From “The hitching post…” column in the Ottawa Herald, a series of articles about early Franklin County schools researched by Bruce Fleming and written by Herald Editor and Publisher Jim Hitch. (No date given.)
Fairmount School, District 50, was located one mile east of the intersection of K-68 and US-59, and 2 ½ miles north, on the east side of the road.
The school was organized in 1868 and operated until the spring of 1951. The last teacher was Allene Hoopes.
Frances (Conrad) Dunn, Ottawa RFD 2, attended Fairmount nine years. “It was a seven month school then. I drove a buggy to school at times, but ordinarily I rode a horse because of the trouble it took to hitch and unhitch the horse from the buggy morning and evening after school.
She also recalls the “We had ‘Literary Society’ meetings before the community meetings became popular.” These featured debates and readings of prose and poetry.
Frances (Newby) Madden, now of Wichita, reports: “My maternal grandparents and their brothers and sisters went to Fairmount School. The Hume and Davis families homesteaded the area west and north of the school.
“My mother, Freda Hume, and her sisters and brother also went to school there, as did my brother, sister and myself, three generations. When I started school, there were between 30 and 35 students, so many, in fact, that the first graders had to sit two to a desk. By the time my sister was in the eighth grade, there were only three or four students going to Fairmount.”
Madden continued, “During nice weather, we would play on the grounds of the school, but also used the surrounding neighbors’ barns and buildings as part of our hide-and-seek area. The neighbors both had children or grandchildren at school.
During the snowy weather, we played on a frozen pond just to the south, or slid down the hill close to the pond.
“The school was a meeting place for everyone in the district, whether they had children in school or not. Each month the neighbors met for either school business or just to visit. A neighbor, John Conrad, always seemed to have bags of candy that he threw out for the children.”
Known to have taught at Fairmount were Mrs. Don Gammet, Mattie (Evans) Perry and Ruby Miller.
Premier automobiles like the one seen in the 1916 photo above were made in Indianapolis. Their first engine was an air-cooled four-cylinder unit that produced 16 horsepower. They cost around $2500. The engine had a one-piece aluminum casting with aluminum crankcase and pistons. Another feature was the Cutler-Hammer, electric push button gear shift mechanism.