The first home school was conducted at the Rowland Gardner cabin, with Eliza or Abby Gardner teaching the younger chldren. The first school was taught in a lean-to of the log cabin of Rev. J.S. Prescott (former Gardner Cabin) in 1858, with Miss Amanda Smith teaching the neighborhood children. The next school was started in the winter of 1862-63, teacher was Miss Myra Smith, sister of Amanda. They were the sisters of R.A. and M.J. Smith. This was located at the original Harvey Luce cabin. In 1864 school was held in the large barn of Rev. Prescott. The teacher was Miss Esther Pillsbury. That winter it was again moved to the lean-to of Rev. Pillsbury, and Miss Syrena Pillsbury was teacher.
The first school house, a frame structure 20' x 30' in size was built in 1865. It was located at what is now Pillsbury Point and was paid for with donations. This building was used for school, church and community activities, and was used for many years.
In 1898 a new four room, two story structure was built where the present gym now stands. The upper rooms were not finished for several years. When the upper floors were finished, they were used for community affairs. It was divided into two sections, one for grades 6-8 and the other for high school. A 10th grade class graduated in 1908. The students were Edna Allen McGorrisk, Edna O'Farrell Donaldson, and Hazel Hall Malloy. The commencement was held across the street at the Friends Church, speaker was Dr. Phillip Slack.
Im 1913 Arnolds Park School combined with the outlying country district creating the Arnolds Park Consolidated School District.
In 1914 the first brick structure was built behind the old school. It was thought it would last a long time, but increased enrollment caused it to be outgrown in under 20 years. The old school was cut in half and moved to the the corner of Broadway and Allen Street and used as a hotel. It burned in 1930. The first class graduated the 12th grade in 1914.
In 1917 an addition was added. In 1938 another addition was built, part of the funds coming from a Works Progress Administration grant. In 1953 a new kindergarten was needed and other improvements were done. In 1955 students entered from Lakeville township and resulted in more additions and improvements. In 1975 there was even more additions, and a handicap accessible public library was added to the elementary library.
In 1986 Arnolds Park Consolidated School merged with Milford Community School District and became Okoboji Community School on July 1, 1987. The Arnolds Park School became the Middle School and the 2 Milford Schools became the Elementary and High Schools. The Class of 1988 was given the option of either an Arnolds Park High School or an Okoboji High School Diploma, making them the last class graduating from Arnolds Park High School.
The classes of 1914 through 1988 comprise the membership of the Arnolds Park High School Alumni Association. It was formed to preserve the name and memories of Arnold Park School. The Alumni Association has an annual reunion each summer on the 2nd Saturday of July at the Arnolds Park School building. If you would like more information about the Arnolds Park Alumni Association you can contact Lavonne Siemers.
List of Graduates
List of Teachers
Pictures of Schools 1898, 1914,1938, 1955, 1976
Used with permission of Arnolds Park Alumni Association.