Wednesday, February 16, 2011

History of Frederick Schools to 1922

Column sent to Frederick Leader and Frederick Press
August 4, 2009
The original Frederick High School stood at 300 East Grand, site of present-day Frederick Middle School.

Emerson School
Whittier School

Lowell School

Frederick Schools were Progressive in 1922

August and September have always meant “Back to School.”
Just as current-day students prepare for a new school year, late summer or fall have meant a return to school every year since 1901 when the first schools were organized in Tillman County.
The following history of Frederick City Schools was written in 1922 and printed in a publication called “Frederick, A Good Place to Live”.
“It is said that a city may be judged by its schools. According to this standard Frederick should take high rank among the cities of the southwest, as in none of them do we find more attention paid to education nor better facilities for instructing the youth of the community.
“Frederick people are not only interested in their schools, but they are intensely loyal to them and their liberality in giving them support is remarkable.
“The school plant consists of four large brick buildings, well equipped. The center of the system is a high school building, which was originally intended to take care of all the pupils of the city.
[NOTE: In 1922 the high school building was located on East Grand at the site of the present Frederick Middle School.]
As the city spread itself over the prairies and the number of school children grew the demand for more buildings became imperative and it was met in a characteristic manner.
“Two two-story ward school buildings were erected in the First and Second wards, in the north and south ends of the city. A few years later a frame building which had been used in that part of the city lying west of the Frisco railroad tracks, for the grades, was torn down and a new, modern brick building erected in its stead. Now every student attending school in Frederick has the privilege of attending school in a modern building, well equipped.
[NOTE: The First Ward building was the original Lowell School, located in the 800 block of North 12th Street . The Second Ward school was the original Whittier Elementary, located in the 500 block of South 14th Street. Emerson School was built on North 4th Street in Frederick’s northwest ward].
“At first it was thought that the city had overshot the mark as all of the rooms in the new ward buildings were not needed, but as time went on and the city grew, the buildings filled until today every room is in use.
“The city is now planning for the erection of a new high school building on the campus of the high school, which includes a block and a half. Part of this is now occupied by the community auditorium, a frame building, but it is proposed to move this building to the fair ground, recently purchased by the city, and to erect on the campus a new high school building, giving the present high school building over to the junior high school. This is made necessary by the rapidly increasing enrollment in the high school.
[NOTE: The “new high school” that the article refers to is the building that still stands at South 12th and Dahlia. It was built in 1922-23 as the new Frederick High school and used from 1950 until 1997 as Central Elementary School].
“The buildings have been brought up to the standard of equipment required by the state high school inspectors and to conform to the regulations of the North Central Association of Colleges and High Schools, the Frederick high school being affiliated with the state university and with the North Central association. Graduates from this school can go to any college in the middle west without examination. Young men from this high school are allowed to enter West Point military academy or the naval academy at Annapolis without scholastic examination. 
[NOTE: Frederick High School has been accredited by the North Central Association since 1918. Frederick became one of the first school systems in the state to earn North Central Accreditation for all of its grades, K-12, in 1983.]
“At the beginning of the third week of the present school term the enrollment in the city
J.O. Shaw
schools was over 1,100, with 250 in senior high school and 170 in the junior high school.
“Much of the credit for the schools’ progress is due to J.O. Shaw, city superintendent, who has pursued a consistent forward program since the time he took the superintendency of the schools, five years ago. Mr. Shaw has never been satisfied to have the schools of Frederick take second rank to any in the state and, with the support of the board of education, the chamber of commerce and the citizens in general, he has surmounted one obstacle after another until the present high standard has been reached.
[NOTE: J.O. Shaw served as superintendent of Frederick Schools from 1917 until 1941.]
“A faculty of thirty-five principals and teachers is employed in the various buildings. In spite of the universal complaint of scarcity of teachers and of the difficulty of keeping teachers who have been employed, a full corps of instructors is maintained here at all times, for the reason that the city is very generous in the size of the salaries it pays its teachers.
“The high school course is made as practical as possible and students find here a system of training which is calculated to be of real benefit to them in making a success in life.
“For a time the city carried a commercial department, but this was found impracticable, and the need for a commercial training is now met in Frederick by the Draughon Business college, which was established here in September, 1920, by T.M. Flanary, president of the Oklahoma City Draughon college. The Frederick college teaches all the branches taught in all the older Draughon colleges and is proving a success right from the start.
“People looking for educational benefits for their children either in the public schools or in the way of a business training, cannot do better than to come to Frederick.”
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Joe Wynn can be contacted by e-mail at

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