Grand River School

Richland Twp., Decatur County, Iowa


Alumni Booklets

Photograph courtesy of Grand River Schoolhouse Museum and Donna Vann
After the pioneers settled on their homesteads, the first schools in the vicinity of what would become Grand River were held in homes or in the churches. In 1876 there was a rural school located near where the town of Grand River would be established.

With the upcoming arrival of the Humeston & Shenandoah Railroad, the town of Grand River was founded approximately a mile from the west bank of the Grand River and was laid out in 1881 by E. C. PERKINS. The Town Lot Corporation was organized with the purpose of laying out towns along the route of the railroad.

Grand River's first high school, was known as Union Church. Building was erected in 1879.

Grand River's first school was built in 1876 and was made of brick. It was located where the present-day (2014) Grand River Community Center now sits, a little bit to the south and faced the west. It was approximately where the flag pole for the 1916 schoolhouse was located. The brick school house and the house (pictured at left) were lost to a fire. The fire probably occurred in either 1894 or 1895 since the subsequent schoolhouse that was built had "1895" on its portal.

A photograph, shown at right, from 1892 shows Grand River's students, standing in front of a white framed building, was noted on the back as the first schoolhouse. Written on the back of the photograph:

Taken by Joe LAREESE
Teacher Elby (Elly?) NOBLE

Mary Lareese
Paul Hedric
Maud Lambs
__ Shaffner
Edd Peterson
Homer Griffin
Tom Taylor
Merl Boger
Esther Collington

Fate Hedric
Jack Lareese
Jose Collington
Mable Brammer
Monk Day
Sam Collington
George Taylor
Henry Fillips
Deligh Fillips

Libby Lareese
Hal Hedric
Maggie Day
Halley Burham
Mary Day
Henry Green
Henry Overholtzer
Lily Fillips

Photograph courtesy of Mike Avitt
The school building and Victorian house were lost to a fire in either 1894 or 1895. While a new school building was being constructed, classes were held in the Catholic Church.

A two-story brick school building, embellished with a bell tower, was built. The schoolhouse was featured on a 1910 calendar. The date on the portal is 1895. 
 click on photos for larger views
F. X. White, General Contractor of Eldora, IA, built a new high school and grade school school building at a cost of $25,000. George Lloyd was president of the school board and T. T. Beck, secretary. 39 school bond coupons were issued at $12.50 each. $487.50 was paid to Geo. M. Bechtell & Co. of Davenport, IA. The new school house was dedicated on December 7, 1916. 
A gymnasium was constructed on the east side of the schoolhouse and completed during the Summer of 1953. It was put into use during the 1953-54 school year. The gymnasium floor, made of asphalt tile, measured 74' by 32'. It featured both boys and girls locker rooms. A hallway with stairs at the west end connected the gymnasium to the lunchroom (previous gymnasium and stage), located in the basement floor of the schoolhouse. The gymnasium also featured a stage which replaced the old stage that was on the north end of the lunchroom.

During the 1920's, the issue of consolidation of Ringgold County schools was first addressed. The proposal failed and the town schools of Ringgold County continued with a majority of the rural children attending country schools. Later, when Ellston Community School closed, the students attended classes at either the Grand River Community School or the Kellerton Community School. 
Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, May 16, 1957

School Consolidation Petition

A petition is on file in the office of county superintendent Vera F. DICKENS for the establishment of a proposed Grand Valley Community school district in Ringgold and Decatur counties.

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, June 04, 1959

The Grand Valley Community school district of Ringgold and Decatur counties will be served by one high school to be located at Kellerton when school opens this fall. The decision to close the high school at Grand River and to maintain the one high school at Kellerton was made at a recent meeting of the board of education of the district with three directors, Dean JACKSON, John GROSE and Norman ELSWICK, voting in favor of the proposal, and the other two directors, Roy JONES and John Van LAAR, opposing the plan.

Transcriptions by Sharon R. Becker 
Articles About Grand River School:
Teachers Around Grand River Area & Grand River
Decatur County, Iowa
Helen Mary Bradshaw was a 1910 Graduate of Grand River High School.
This information was in her Graduate Book which was given to her by Charlotte Ackerley on May 27th 1910.

High School. 1899-1910

2nd grade - Miss Minnie Snook

3rd grade - Miss Ella Rogers

Principal 1900 Mr Beavers

Intermediate Room 1903

4th grade - Miss Ella Mckee

5th grade - Miss Rose Burkhart

6th grade - Mr John Burkhart

Principal - Harvey L. Cosner

High School

7th grade - Prof. Mr H. L. Cosner
assistant - Miss Anga Sears

8th grade - Prof. Mr H. L. Cosner
assistant - Miss Kate Hull

9th grade - Prof. Mr H. L. Cosner
assistant - Miss Rosa Burkhart

10th grade - Prof. Mr U. S. Weber
assistant - Miss Rosa Burkhart

11th grade - Prof. Mr U. S. Weber
assistant - Miss Lena Overholtzer
assistant - Mrs. Annas Craft

Grand River Elementary, 4th & 5th Grades, 1920-21
Submitted by
I have a card that belonged to my grandfather, Lester McDowell, that lists all of the names of kids in his class, Grades 4-5 in the school year 1920-1921. Edna Clyman was the teacher.
Wade Ackerley Floyd McDowell Bernadine Morrell
Harold Burchett Mabel McDowell Mendle Brammer
Sherman Allen Doyle Hukill Cleo Brown
Clarence Bohall Raymond Hukill Clarence Burchett
Burl Briner Maxine Snyder John Gale
Katy Briner Calvin Spray Edgar Harger
Woodrow Crees Naomi Spray Lester McDowell
Lawrence Crees Harriette Switzer Howard Shay
Frances Day Wellington Taylor Cloyd Street
Raymond Gilreath Marjorie Vanderpool Elmer Shields
Nellie Harger Addie Young Hazel Morrell
Emma Hileman Agnes Liles Bernice Foland

The Leon Reporter
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa
Thursday, January 27, 1917, Page 1

Study Center at Grand River

Saturday, Jan. 27th.The regular study center work in the manual training for teachers in the northwest part of the county will be held in the shop at Grand River on Saturday, January 27. Regular work with tools on the bench will be given. This is work closely related to the boys' club work of the state, and will be continued at the special study center to be held in Grand River two weeks later, Feb. 10. For this and other reasons a full attendance of rural teachers is urged. Unless more teachers attend at Grand River this manual training center will be taken to another point in the county.

Manual Training Instructor.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, March of 2015
The Leon Journal-Reporter
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa
Thursday, May 14, 1936

The senior class of the Grand River High School presented the play "Cat of Nine Tails." The high school entertained the 8th graders of Richland Township with a picnic and an afternoon ball game.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, June 2011
Hot Lunch Project Under Way In G. R. School

[Page 3, November 13, 1941]

The hot lunches for the Grand River school children are being served and a exceptional large number of children are receiving the lunches. The number will greatly increase as the weather becomes more unfavorable. This has been a very worth while project and has met with real favor from the students and parents. Mrs. Margaret Bright and Mrs. Della Woodard will again be in charge of the project with Mrs. Viola Nuzum, Home Ec. teacher as overseer.

This summer a garden project was sponsored and was tended by Alva Hileman and Elmer Munyon. This was not only an exceptionally fine looking garden, but a large quantity of vegetables were realized. Mrs. Bright and Mrs. Woodard spent most of the summer canning them. Space was secured under the Green Corner Store and used in storing the canned goods and vegetables. It would be well worth anyone's time to see this exceptional fine display of goods.

The N. Y. A. girls are helping with the lunches and are doing various work around the school building. Mr. Barnhouse is their supervisor.

Transcription by Sharon R, Becker, November 2015

Class of 1930-31 50th Anniversary
Dan Day, 1st from right, back row
Margaret Pennock Schoonover, 1st from right, front row
Courtesy of Ken Day

Grand River Class of 1959
50th Class Reunion, May of 2009
Back Row, L-R: Melvin MULLEN, Bill BONE, Harry TINNELL, Bernard STOGDILL

Front Row, L-R: Karon (ANDREWS) GILES, Glenda (WILLIAMS) McNEAL, Sharilyn (STARK) GARCIA, Marilyn (MOOBERRY) SEARS, Carolyn (STARK) SPICER

Submission by Sharon R. Becker, June 2011
Original page created by Sharon Becker 2013, updated 2015; updated and reformatted by Conni McDaniel Hall Oct 2019; updated Aug 2020.
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