North Pomona School #93

Sections 19 & 20, Township 16S, Range 18E. Deed 66-25, from Geo. Lawrence to school district #93, 4 Oct. 1888, for consideration of $50, 1 acre in SE/ of 19-16-18

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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)

 North Pomona School, District 93, had its origins in a school that was built in 1870 two miles north and a half mile east of downtown Pomona, on the north side of the road.

The district was officially organized in 1884, and a year later the school building was moved to its last site, two miles north of Pomona on the northwest corner of the intersection.

In 1887, district patrons decided to build a more modern building which stood until the school was finally closed in April of 1946.

Nina Marie (Robbins) Bainer was the teacher the year North Pomona was closed and her students were Floyd Thompson, Charles Hook, Della (Garber) Hamilton and Darlene (Barber) Griffin.

Dorothy (Bowman) Lindsey of Pomona and Belva (Bowman) Shied  of Vassar recall playing on Kelsey Creek, which flowed past the school. They would slide on the frozen creek in the winter and sometimes were granted extended time at lunch for such play.

In the winter the sisters rode their horses to the home of a family living just east of the school. They would leave their horses there for the day and ride to school in a horse-drawn sled belonging to that family.

The snow would pile up so deep against the north side of the schoolhouse that students due tunnels through it.

When they graduated from the eighth grade, they said, the exercise was held at Memorial Auditorium.

Two other former pupils, Dorothy Lindsey and Elva Browning, recall the hazards of living in the country without telephone service. Browning recalled that one boy broke his arm and another student had to walk to the nearest neighbor who had a phone to get word to the parents.

Lindsey remembered that a boy was injured when his horse ran into the barn, knocking him off. But the Pomona doctor just happened to be riding past the school and took the boy to his office in town.

Elva Browning, 701 S. Poplar, was a teacher at North Pomona. “Probably no one knows what it was like to graduate from high school in the spring and go right into teaching that fall, unless they have tried it,” she said.

“We studied all summer, then took a teachers examination, which was given in Ottawa, covered every subject we were going to teach. If we passed all the subjects, then we were granted a certificate.

“We wrote letters of applications to several schools. Then we went to be interviewed by the three school board members. The board members did not meet together, so we had to go to each individually, and would meet with them in the field or at the barn doing chores or anyplace else they happened to be.

“If they were interested, then they would contact us and tell us we were hired.”

Then, she remembers, the week before school all teachers went to Ottawa for “a week of ‘Teachers Institute’ before we started school.”

At Christmas, school boys went out to cut a cedar tree. “We had few ornaments,” Browning said,  “except what the teacher furnished. We had no electricity, but had little candles in clamp-on holders that we carefully lit. We never had a fire, but some schools did.

Browning also remembers a visit one day by John Baldwin, who lived about a half mile south of the school with his son, Fred. “He gave a little talk and gave each girl a string of beads and each boy a pocket knife. The teacher got a better string of beads.

Ruth Kinkaid, 1043 S. Ash, taught at Pomona North during the 1941-42  and the 1942-43 school years. “The coal shed sat behind the schoolhouse, which made it quite a distance to haul coal to the front door,” she said. “In the coldest weather, it took eight buckets of coal each day.

“We had a carnival in the fall, each year and had a rhythm band. A community meeting was held at the school each month.”


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