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Around the year of 1877, classes at Kellerton was first held in the parlor of the Jonas HIGGINS home, located near the north-east corner of the town.

The town of Kellerton was laid out on a branch of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy (CB&Q) Railroad. While stores and other buildings were being erected in Kellerton, the entire community of New Chicago moved to the new site, lock, stock, barrel and complete buildings which were moved without being torn down. With the town of Kellerton growing rapidly, it was obvious that the new community needed a schoolhouse.

Kellerton's first school was built on Block 20 which had been donated by the railroad company when the town was laid out. The building measured about 24-feet wide and 32-feet long, was one-story tall, and contained two rooms. Joe SCOTT was the janitor, receiving a salary of $2.00 a month. Early teachers were Miss Ida BAKER, the daughter of Dr. G. W. BAKER of Leon; and Miss Delia CAMP of Kellerton. Mr. BEEDE taught a three-months term during the winter of 1878-79 at a salary of $3.00 a month. The school directors were Jonas HIGGINS, Sam FITTRO, and John SCOTT.

A subscription school held classes in a room on Decatur Street in a building that was later F. C. SMITH's harness shop.

In the fall of 1880, a new framed schoolhouse was built on Block 20 at a cost of $1,300. The schoolhouse was a two-story framed building measuring 24-feet by 38-feet with one room on the lower floor and one room above. Carpenters were Billy Campbell and Phil crees. A few years later, with Kellerton's population growing, it was necessary to build an additon the same size as the orginal schoolhouse. This was added on the north side, and the entire building was remodeled.

The contract was awarded to Elder J. L. Rowe who came to Kellerton from Delphos in 1887. He also served as the pastor of the Christian Church. With the additon, the schoolhouse contained four rooms.

Sometime after the schoolhouse was remodeled, a basement was excavated under the north part of the building and a hot air furnace was installed. Charlie MANNING was the janitor. D. N. ALDRIDGE, Dr. Marsh CAMP, and F. C. SMITH were the school's directors.

Prior to the installation of a hot air furnace, the schoolhouse was heated exclusively with wood stoves.

During the forenoon of February 5, 1895, one of the coldest days of the winter, a fire broke out, spreading through the entire building within a short period of time. Fortunately, the teachers were able to get all of the students out of the building without incident. The schoolhouse, however, was a total loss.

The school term was completed with classes being held in the town's three churches and Camp's Hall.

The teachers at the time of the fire were W. M. COLLINS, superintendent; Miss Florence BEDIER; and Miss Gertrude CAMPBELL.

Shortly after the fire, the directors of the school decided to build a new school made of brick, two stories tall and measuring fifty-two feet square. C. N. Donaldson of Decatur County was awarded the contract for laying the foundation in May. The firm of Flanagan, Wilson & Frazier from Garden Grove was awarded the contract for the construction of the schoolhouse in July for $4,600.00. It was hoped that the new schoolhouse would be ready for occupancy
come the opening of the school term in September. However numerous delays made this impossible.

The new schoolhouse finally was ready for classes on December 16th. J. D. CHERRYHOLMES was the school's superintendent.

Miss Fannie BLAKEMORE's Primary Classroom, circa 1897

Miss Retta HARRISON's Intermediate Classroom, circa 1897

Teachers at the Kellerton School between 1879 and May of 1895 included:
Josephus C. LYPESMiss Etoila MOOREGeorge M. LESAN
Miss Minnie BUCKMiss Lena COMSTOCKMiss Adelaide COMSTOCK
Miss Flora CAMPChester S. KELLEYWinfield S. BEAR
Miss Gertrude CAMPBELLMiss Florence BEDIER 

Ringgold Record
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa


Not the least object of interest in Kellerton and vicinity is the public school building, an imposing brick structure which stand on the most beautiful site that could be found, and to that building and its interests, the people point with a degree of pride that is commendable. The house was built only a year ago at a cost to the district of $6,000, and init we have a school of four departments, where nearly 200 pupils have been enrolled the past year. A one course of study has been adopted and competent instructors have been employed with Prof. J. D. CHERRYHOMES as principal.

We consider that in systematic management, thorough instruction and general practical work is second to none in the county. The high school course of study is well adapted to any young person wanting a good practical education.

The teachers for the next term of nine months are Prof. J. D. CHERRYHOLMES, re-elected; H. H. LINTON, grammar room, re-elected; Miss Retta HARRISON, intermediate; and Miss Ollie SAMS, primary.

Kellerton has a splendid cornet band of 14 pieces, organized in the fall of 1884. A few of the members at that time still belong to the organization. They practice regularly twice each week, and during the summer season give free concerts in the park every Sunday afternoon. Their music and ability are second to no band in the county.


~ Post Card courtesy of Ken Baker

On March 9, 1902, a bond was passed to construct an addition (pictured above) to the second school. It was built at a cost of $2,300 by W. H. SIPLE and A. A. PEASLY. The building, measuring 24 x 48 feet, was put into use after Thanksgiving of 1902, and served the community until a new brick school house was erected in 1915.


~ Courtesy of GV Museum/Foland School


Kellerton High School, Class of 1911
Back Row, L-R: Belle BENWAY, Fern BAYLESS, Helen ALLEN, Bea IRVIN
Middle Row, L-R: Alpha BARRETT, Frank IRVIN, A. J. GOODELL, Lawrence EMERSON
Front Row, L-R: Vera BARTOW & Zilpha CHANDLER


~ Courtesy of GV Musuem/Foland School, Kellerton IA

Twice-A-Weekly News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
April 23, 1915

KELLERTON - At the school election held here Tuesday on the proposition of issuing bonds to build a new school building there was quite an exciting time. This being the first time that the ladies voted, most everyone in town was anxious to vote. There were 368 votes cast, 218 favorable and 150 against. Of the total of 185 males votes, 106 were for it and 70 against. There were 183 women votes, 112 for it and 71 against, showing that the ladies sure did their part in boosting for the new schoolhouse.

A third school was built in 1915.

Sometime after 1915, a fire escape was added to the south side of the schoolhouse.

A new gymnasium was constructed during the summer of 1952. The Mount Ayr-Record News noted, "The 1952 Tingley girls made their way to the state tournament by coming on strong at the end of the season. On January 19, 1952, they beat Redding 41-36 at Kellerton in the Ringgold County Tournament finals. This was the first basketball tournament played in Kellerton's new gymnasium . . ."

Kellerton Public School consolidated with Grand River Public School to form Grand Valley School District which opened its doors the fall of 1961. Grand Valley was dissolved upon the completion of the 1992 school term. The school building was demolished, leaving the gymnasium which in part now houses Kellerton's Community Center. The former Foland School, which served as a music room for Grand Valley's Kellerton facility, was moved back to the school grounds in 2011 and serves as Grand Valley School Museum.

Information from Kellerton, Iowa: A History to 1981. Pp. 19-21. 1981.

Transcriptions by Sharon R. Becker, April of 2010; updated May of 2010; updated September of 2014

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