A Glimpse Into The Past of Picher Cardin Schools

September 1, 1908, J. H. Pliler and J. F. Martin, representing the school board of district 15, Ottawa County, signed two building bonds, $500 each for the purpose of building a school house in said district. Nothing is known of that first prairie schoolhouse. What might have been a typical one-room school, surrounded by prairie hay and range cattle, faded into the oblivion of time by the lead and zinc boom that had its beginning in 1915, the sinking of shafts and building of mills, plus Word War I on the horizon.

When they issued those two small bonds, Mr. Pliler and Mr. Martin probably in their wildest dreams never visualized, that less than ten years would see school building bond issues totaling $180,000, or that in the peak year of 1925-26 pupils numbering 4.121would be taught by eighty-one teachers with a year's budget expenditure of $155,000.

The gap between that first school in 1908, probably known only as District 15, and the school that emerged in 1915, remains unknown. When we next hear of the Picher schools is in the fall of 1915 when Eagle Picher Company built the one-room building on the site of the where the Union Church was located until recent years (the building still stands and church services still being conducted). Rev. Wesley Post was the school superintendent. Not only did he organize the first church and Sunday School, but he represented Eagle Picher in hiring and paying the first teacher. Miss Edna James. By the time the old Whitebird Mill, the first in the district was finished, three pupils bad graduated from the eighth grade out of an enrollment of fifteen.



Let's fast forward to a period with which several of you "seniors" are familiar.

W. W. Schultz. Supt of Schools

Whitebird School: C. H. Kerr, Principal. Teachers: Nora Daugherty, Rumina Malcom, Nadine Breedlove, Lucille Bullock, Jean Colvin, Jane Henderson, Willo McLain, Octa Reynolds, Ruth Quinley, Kathryn Montgomery, Ernest Courington. Enrollment: 388

Central School: Tom Swango, Principal. Teachers: Lucille Breedlove, Dessa Williams, Minnie Richardson, Lilian Tinkler, Vivian Adams. Georgia Cronk. Gerald Combs. Bertha Creek, Effie Reynolds, Dorothy Rogers, Enrollment: 360.

Douthat School: Eula Mayfield, Principal. Teachers: Mildred Morton. Edwilda Carey, Neoma Gobson, Harold W. Jones. Enrollment 150.

Cardin School: Principal, Ella Coffey. Teachers: Delia Counts, Esther Kell, Arlene John, Clarence Houston. Enrollment 171.

Mineral Heights: Principal. Lillian Raouls. Teachers: Vera Woods, Virginia Breedlove, Martha Stoddard, Paul Douthitt. Enrollment 150

Northwest School: (grades 1-4]: Teachers: Delma Poynter, Audrey Testerman. Enrollment 61.


JUNIOR SENIOR-HIGH SCHOOL: Principal, Lee Payton, Teachers: Velma Adams. Edna McReynolds, Elmo? Daley, Thelma Bartlett, August Beegman, Martha Buntin, Adda Hall, W. H. Crenshaw, E. W. Jenkins, Claud Pierce, Billie Marie Douthitt, Harry Duggan. P. A. Venne. J.O. Hall, Inez Moser, Woodrow Parkison, Letta Slagle, Pani Sutton, J. C. Wiley, Nelson Brown. Enrollment 614.



This article was sent to me by Pat Kerley.  The origin is unknown, but
the contents are fascinating.  Thanks, Pat