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     The first school in Fort Dodge was taught by C. C. Carpenter, in the winter 
of 1854-55. It was in an old building just back of the old Wahkonsa hotel. 
The next winter Mr. D. A. Weller taught school in one of the government 
buildings. In 1856 the lirst school building was erected on the corner of Sec- 
ond avenue South and Seventh street, on what was then the corner of Locust 
and Sixth streets. In the early days this building was known as "the old brick" 
school. At that early day it was the only public building in town, and was used 
for holding the courts, political meetings, churches, festivals, and other affairs 
considered of a public nature. It was there that the two companies for the 
Spirit Lake expedition were organized. The first school was taught in this build- 
ing by Henry Gunn during the winter of 1856- 1857. When the news of the 
Indian massacre reached Fort Dodge, school was dismissed, and the building 
became a shelter for the early settlers north and west of Fort Dodge, all of 
whom had fled here with their wives and little ones, for protection against 
the cruel savages, until the danger had passed and the Indians had left for 
their reservation farther west. 

     In 1869 Fort Dodge had one school building and nine teachers including the 
principal. The number of pupils in attendance was about 350. In 1878 there 
were thirteen teachers, with the principal. In 1884 there were seventeen teach- 
ers, not including the superintendent. The buildings at that time were the Lin- 
coln, Arey, West Fort Dodge (one room), and First ward (one room). During 
the year 1890, twenty-one teachers were employed. In 1899, there were thirty- 
eight teachers employed, not including the superintendent, and the buildings 
then in use were the Pottery, First Ward, West Fort Dodge, Arey, Wahkonsa, 
Lincoln, and the new high school building. The value of the school property 
for that year was estimated $141,000.00.' 

     Up to the close of the school year 1897, the high school occupied the upper 
floor, or the third and part of the second floor of what is now the Lincoln 
building. In the fall of 1897 it moved into the new building. This was nearly 
destroyed by fire in 1907, and rebuilt in its present form the same year. 

     The Wahkonsa school was also destroyed by fire in February, 1912. The 
rapid growth of the city made more school buildings a necessity. The board, 
therefore, at once began the rebuilding of the Wahkonsa and also a new school 



building, the Duncombe, in the northeast part of the city. These buildings will 
be ready for use early in 1913. The new Wahkonsa is considerably larger than 
the old, and besides additional land has been purchased. In connection with the 
Duncombe is sufficient ground for an athletic park. 

The school board for the year 1912-13 are C. F. Duncombe, president; E. 
H. Williams, Maurice O'Conncr, J. R. Files, H. R. Beresford, S. T. Thompson, 
and Mack Hurlbut. The secretary of the board is J. L. Porter. 

In 1875 the high school graduated three pupils, one boy and two girls, its 
first graduates. The total number of graduates down to and including the school 
year, June, 1890, a period of sixteen years, was thirty-seven boys and fifty- 
five girls, a total of ninety-two. From 1 891 to 1898, inclusive, there were forty- 
three boys and eighty girls. This made the total number of graduates, up to the 
close of the school year 1898, two hundred and fifteen. 

The German Lutheran school was organized by Rev. Godfrey Endres in 
1863. The school building, erected in 1895, cost $7,500.00. 

There are two Catholic parochial schools in Fort Dodge, Corpus Christi and 
Sacred Heart. Corpus Christi Academy was organized in 1862, while Rev. John 
Marsh was pastor. Sisters of Charity of the B. V. M. came from Dubuque to 
conduct the classes. In 1866, it was decided to discontinue the school and the 
sisters returned to their mother house. 

In 1874 the old school building was enlarged and under the direction of the 
Very Rev. T. M. Lenihan a flourishing school was established. Sisters of 
Mercy came from New York City and made this convent their mother house. 
Fire destroyed the buildings and for some years the parish was without a 
parochial school. The present school building was erected in 1901, at a cost 
of $25,000.00. Sisters of Charity of the B. V. M., of Dulbuque, have charge. 
During 1912 ten teachers weere employed and the enrollment was 257. 

Sacred Heart school was opened in 1902. 

The Fort Dodge Business College was opened in 1912 by Professor W. B. 
Barger. It occupies the second floor of the Butler building. Mrs. Jule Downey- 
Grosenbaugh also conducts a school of shorthand and typewriting in the First 
National Bank building. Besides the business schools, there are a number of 
music and art schools in the city. 


Tobin College was founded in 1892 and was the fourth school founded by 
Professor Thomas Tobin, the other three being: Tilford Academy, at Vinton, 
Iowa; Waterloo College, at Waterloo, Iowa, and Ellsworth College, at Iowa 
Falls, Iowa. 

Professor Tobin, who was a native of Ireland, was born August 15, 1835, 
and died May 27, 1900. He came to America when fourteen years of age. He 
did not have a chance to learn his letters until he was seventeen. But even 
at that age, he had the courage to set out to secure a college education, earning 
the necessary means himself. But so hard was the struggle, that for three 
months at a time, he did not have money enough to buy a postage stamp., 

After graduation. Professor Tobin resolved to make it easier for backward 
boys to obtain an education, and to give them a chance to secure instruction 
Ft. Dodge School Buildings

suited to their individual needs. Accordingly, in 1870, he came to Iowa and 
established Tilford Academy, at Vinton. In 1885 he went to Waterloo and 
started Waterloo College. In 1889, he removed to Iowa Falls, where he founded 
Ellsworth College. 

Early in the year 1892, he began corresponding with Mr. Frank Gates, Mr. 
Frank Farrell, and others, concerning the establishment of a college in Fort 
Dodge. Satisfactory arrangements having been made, Professor Tobin moved 
his family here in April of the same year, and work on the college was started. 
The property for the college site was purchased from Mrs. Sarah Dwelle, the 
widow of the last landlord of the old St. Charles hotel. This property included 
the hotel and a quarter of a block of ground on the corner of First avenue North 
and Seventh street. While the college building was not completely finished, 
yet school began on the second Monday in September, 1892. 

The new college began without a name. A week or so after it opened. Pro- 
fessor Tobin was invited by some friends to spend the day in the woods. 
While he was gone, the teachers and students took matters into their own 
hands, called a meeting, and by a unanimous vote, christened the new college, 
"Tobin," in recognition of the work he had done for the cause of education 
through the founding of so many colleges. 

The formal dedication of the building did not take place until the last of 
October, 1892. The dedicatory exercises consisted of an afternoon and even- 
ing program. At these programs, congratulatory addresses were made by 
prominent business men of the city; also by Rev. William Randall, pastor of 
the Baptist church at Iowa Falls, and Rev. F. E. Eldredge, state Sunday school 
missionary of the Baptist church, both of whom were very close friends of 
Professor Tobin. 

The enrollment of the first term numbered about fifty. At the opening of 
the winter term, many of the country boys came in, and the enrollment reached 
the one hundred mark. The boarding department, the first fall, numbered about 
twenty. In the winter this number increased to forty. This department was 
carried on in the old St. Charles, the kitchen and dining rooms of the college 
building not being finished until 1893. The faculty the first year numbered 
nine. Professor Tobin taught general history, which was his favorite subject, 
and gave the rest of his time to the supervision of the school. Professor J. F. 
Monk had charge of the stenography department and taught the languages. 
JMrs. J. F. Monk and Miss Mable Allison taught the normal branches. Professor 
B. T. Green taught the sciences and mathematics and had charge of the com- 
mercial department. The music department was under the direction of Pro- 
fessor W. V. Jones and his daughter. Miss Gertrude Jones. Miss Amelia Golds- 
worthy had charge of the art department. 

The first class graduated in June, 1893, and was composed of thirteen mem- 
bers from the commercial and stenographic departments. Those from the com- 
mercial department were: J. Oscar Ahlberg, Otto L. Boehm, Walter M. Boehm, 
Edwin Brickson, Nora Lenihan, Benjamin F. McNeil, Charles R. Peterson, 
Jennie ]\I. Slate. The stenography class included: Jurgen N. Anderson, Ella 
W. Beach, Annie G. Fahey, Lizzie E. Harvison and Bessie B. Norton. The 
first normal class graduated in 1894, and consisted of Jessie V. Cox and Ida M. 



In 1893, Professor Tobiii made a contract with Messrs. Green and Monk, 
by which they were to take charge of the school, buying it from him. But 
the hard times in 1893-94 so cut down the attendance, that they were unable 
to make their payments, and Professor Tobin again assumed active control in 
the fall of 1894. Professor Monk remained on the college faculty, but Pro- 
fessor Green followed his natural inclination and studied medicine. 

During the school year 1894-95, the two literary societies, the Philomathean 
and the Amphycton, were established. The societies have remained in existence 
ever since. The Snitkay Debate Prize has had much to do in stimulating the 
interest in debate. This prize is offered by Dr. C. J. Snitkay, an alumnus of 
the class of "97, and his wife, Mrs. Emma Monk Snitkay, an alumnus of the 
class of '95. The society winning the contest in debate is given a prize of 
$10.00. This prize money has always been used by the societies for the benefit 
of the school. It was in declamatory w'ork, the teaching of young men and 
women to think and talk upon their feet, that Professor Tobin was especially 
interested. To this work he gave freely both of his time and of his zeal. Many 
of the older students of the college remember how night after night, he sat in 
the rear of the chapel, criticising and commending, but always urging onward 
his students. And the present success of many of the alumni is due in a large 
measure to the training of Professor Tobin. His interest was such that he 
never missed a program of the literary societies, nor any program in which 
his students took part. His enthusiasm and interest was so genuine and from 
the heart that it engendered a longing for success in his pupils. 

The first declamatory contest of the college was held in the year 1893. and 
was won by. Miss June McNeil, now Mrs. Kusterer, of Moorland. 

In the year 1896, the first of the present series of gold medal contests was 
held. These contests, held annually, provide for three prizes: A gold medal 
to the winner; a silver medal to the one winning second place, and a souvenir 
spoon of the college to the one winning third place. The medals have l:)een 
the gifts of various persons, wdio have thus shown their interest in the work 
of the college. The spoon has always been the gift of the college management. 
The contest is usually held the last Friday evening in Alarch. A system of 
preliminary contests held each term leads to the selection for the closing con- 
test in the third term. There are three contestants chosen each term, thus 
making nine for the finals. 

The honors in the contests since their beginning, together with the donors 
of the medal are as follows: 
Year Winner Donor
1896 R. G. Tobin. Professor T. Tobin
1897 George E. O. Johnson. Mr. Isaac Garmoe.
1898 Mrs. Nora Haviland-Moore. Hon. John F. Duncombe.
1899 M. J. Fitzpatrick. Mr. J. F. Carter.
1900 Otto V. Bowman Mr. J. B. Butler.
1901 Miss Elith Bird. Hon. O. M. Butler.
1902 E. E. Cavanaugh Captain S. J. Bennett
1903 Miss Ethel Jondreau. Mr. M. F. Healey.
1904 James A. Martin. Mr. J. G. Early.
German Lutheran School


1905 Francis Murphy. Messrs. Monk & Findlay.
1906 Miss Eva Southwick. Mrs. Julie Haskell-Oleson.
1907 Miss Ellen Schmoker Messrs. Monk & Findlay.
1908 Leon W. Powers Mr. H. M. Pratt.
1909 William Ryberg Mr. H. D. Bresford
1910 Miss Christine Brown Mr. Charles Iles.
1911 Miss Myrtle Tullar Mrs. Margaret Tobin-Pratt
1912 D. L. Rhodes* Mr. John S. Heffner
Perhaps no school of its size has as strong an alumni association as Tobin 
College. This association was organized in 1895 and now numbers over three 
hundred. A unique feature of the Tobin College Alumni Association is the 
alumni fund. This fund was started in 1899 t>y Professor Tobin, its purpose 
being "for the aid of worthy students in their efforts to gain an education." 

In 1899, Professor Tobin sold the college to Messrs. Monk and Findlay, 
who have carried on the work along the lines originally laid down. The col- 
lege has continued to prosper and grow until now the annual enrollment num- 
bers about four hundred. 

With the lives of such men as Professor Tobin, Professor Monk and Pro- 
fessor Findlay dedicated to its service, Tobin College could not help but be the 
source of blessing it is to the community and to the young people who have 
attended it. 


* D. L. Rhodes and .Miss Mildred Sperry tied for first place, and on drawing lots the 
honors went to Mr. Rhodes. 


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