History of 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 of politics, civics, and history were at all-time heightened levels. Consequentially, many schools included these topics as separate classes or weaved the material into their current curriculum.
Post Civil War - a wooden front entrance was added to the Willow Springs School to act as a cloak room.
1868 - Wisconsin law had a new provision added that required schools to submit a list of textbooks they were using in their curriculum.
1870 Federal Census of Menomonee Township reveals there were (4-5) County School Teachers living within the Town: (also see the 1860 Federal Census on the prior web page), though Mr. Starks may have taught privately or in a private school and didn't perform regular teaching assignments. There was a definite drop in the number of teachers, at least living in the Town of Menomonee from 1860.
Sarah A. Connell, age 21, born in Wisconsin.
Mary A. Dohney, age 18, born in Wisconsin.
Adelia Fisher, age 24, born in Wisconsin.
George C. Starks, age 30, a music teacher, born in NY state.
John Summert, age 24, born in Wisconsin.
1871 - Eventually what began in 1864, became Wisconsin law; a new provision mandated the teaching of the U.S. and Wisconsin State Constitutions in all schools.
- The year also brought the first two-year "high school" in Waukesha County, built (or added to an existing common school) in Pewaukee, students came from all around. Of those graduating later on, some went on to "Normal" schools, business schools, or other academies or colleges before they could attend the University in Madison. [What was "high school", especially if many schools only taught grades 1-5? In Pewaukee's case, it appears that "high school" was the 9th and 10th grades (only), but this would have only allowed those students who had gone through Grades 1-8 (?) ]
1872 - Union School on Grand Ave. in the Village of Waukesha, offers a four-year high school program.
1873 - By this year schools are offering more science related courses in their curriculum: algebra, astronomy, natural philosophy, 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 residents voting to ban the teaching of the "sciences".
1873 - A plat of this year shows that Isaac S. Howard's initial 80 acres has been reduced to 39 acres. The orig. acreage would have been the lower southwest portion of Section 17. Of this, the far east 20 acres, from north to south, were sold to Herman Harmon who operated it as a quarry up to at least 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 one remaining acre appears to be situated on what was to become the original school site on the southeast corner of present day Main St. and Lannon Rd. The 1873 plat map does show a structure existing there; more than likely the Howard family home with the kiln being built earlier to the northeast near the river fork. The map doesn't show it as being a school though, the nearest schools to the Howard land (which was almost centrally located between the two, were Willow Spring Jt.. District No. 6 to the southwest, and Sunnyside School Jt.. School District No. 9 to the northeast. Perhaps Mrs. Isaac (Lucy) Howard had a history of teaching the local children in their home?
1874 - The Wisconsin School Library law was enacted to allow districts to levy a special tax to purchase books. In the more rural areas, the "free traveling libraries" were created to make books available.
- School districts were urged by the State to buy standardized textbooks and then loan them to students, instead of the pupils bringing in their own or none at all, The idea was to have one standard textbook per subject. This also made it easier on the teacher to plan and conduct classes.
1875 - Women granted the right to vote in school elections, and to hold the position - Superintendent of Schools..
- Sunnyside School in Menomonee Falls was replaced by a new "cream City brick" structure in 1875. Near the intersection of present-day Hwy 74 (Main St.) and Menomonee Ave.; Sunnyside School could have been used by Lannon area residents living on the east side of the future village. It would have been closer 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 school grades (only 9th and 10th at the time), either taught in a separate school building or in an existing elementary school. Prior to this, school districts were on their own to pay for extravagance (see 1871).
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 school attendance for all children, ages 7 - 15 years. Unfortunately, parents weren't willing to pay for "Truant Officers" to enforce the law, nor did they feel compelled to send their children on a regular basis. There were also "reasons" for not being able to attend school, for example, if you lived more than two miles from the nearest school, you could receive an attendance exemption.
During the 1870's-80's, the nation as a whole enjoyed a higher level of prosperity, allowing much needed school building repairs, updating, and whole new schools being built. In Sussex, the new school had separate entries and cloakrooms for boys 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 the Temperance advocates had included into State law this year: that physiology and hygiene be required courses. Of course they weren't thinking of privies when 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 they wouldn't be seen drinking. Ask a bottle collector today where one of the best places to find old bottles (earthen or glass) is!
1888-89/circa - The first (?) Lannon School is built of stone on the southeast corner of what today is Lannon Rd. and Main St.
1889 - To achieve higher attendance levels, the State passed the Bennet Law which toughened attendance requirements and its' enforcement. Its' downfall came from an added clause that required schools to teach only in the English language. Despite Wisconsin's "Open Door" policy to new immigration, there lurked the "Yankee" prejudice towards these "welcomed immigrants". Such an uproar resulted, that the law was repealed and attendance requirements reverted back to the prior 1879 law.
1892 - Progressive Oconomowoc school districts extend the school term for high school grades to a full nine months. Other school districts were pushing for establishing "graded schools". Menomonee Falls was to have offered Grades 1-10.
1893 - an arithmetic textbook cost about 27 cents.
1895 - A new State statute required all "high schools" to provide a department of "manual training".
1895/Oct. week of 17 - the new cream-colored brick Menomonee Falls High School was completed. Many Lisbon 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 Bug Line Railroad to the Falls each morning, returning in the afternoon. Jump to next page, 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-room two-story wooden structure, used until a new Lannon stone one was erected in 1939.
1889 - Arbor Day activities, such as planting trees and "beautifying" the local grounds by students, was mandated by State law.
Reference Sources: "From Farmland to Freeways: A History Of Waukesha County" edited by Ellen D. Langill and Jean Penn Loerke; the article "The History 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; "Memoirs of Waukesha County", Theron W. Haight, editor, 1907; the works of local historian Fred Keller, some of them printed or reprinted in the Sussex Sun newspaper; and the microfilm Menomonee Falls News articles and "Glimpses of Menomonee Falls - Past and Present" - Menomonee Falls School History contributed by Carol Wildt, at the Maude Shunk Library; and the microfilm Waukesha Freeman articles at the Waukesha Public Library; plus the historical archives held by the Waukesha County Historical Society Museum; in addition to interviews with current or former Lannon residents: Keith Richard Gissal, Donald E. Miller, Shirley DeLorm (nee Wandsneider), and other individual input.