In the early 1900s, the spirit of public education in Cherokee County, Kansas was one of the chief characteristics of the people who live in Kansas. Sometimes people were heard complaining of public expenses of various kinds, but the public school was immune and was not subjected to the ordeal of rigid investigation such as is often made into other matters of public concern.
In 1904, Cherokee County had 120 public schools, outside of the cities. At that time there were 14 schools in the cities. These were distributed uniformly over the county so that not a community within its borders could be found without a schoolhouse, well furnished and under the charge of an industrious, well-qualified teacher.
At that time, Columbus has three school buildings and 13 teachers. Galena had five school buildings, and the School Board soon built a High School building, at a cost of $20,000. Baxter Springs had one large school building with eight teachers.
Weir City had two buildings and 17 teachers and Scammon had one large building and eight teachers. Empire City had one building and five teachers and Mineral City had one building with six teachers.
The Cherokee County High School building was erected in Columbus, in 1900, at a cost of about $18,000. The attendance at the County High School, in the first year, was more than 200. For the school year 1903-04, the attendance was 260.
In later years, these many schools were consolidated and the vast majority are gone today. However, several still remain.
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The schoolhouse was built in 1921 and was a two-teacher school. Features of the schoolhouse are the use of decorative stone molding around the double door entrances and stone squares on the window corners. The red brick school with a wooden merry-go-round in front appears to be in good condition. The school is located on U.S. 69 ALT Highway and SE Wyandotte Road in Crestline.
This building is currently used by the local 4-H club. It is located on SE 20th Street north of High Line Road near Riverton.
This stone schoolhouse is located at southeast 20th and Wyandotte Road near Columbus. After consolidating with Columbus schools, the building was used by the Stoney ATA Lodge and Auxiliary.
Roosevelt School was built by the Works Progress Administration in Empire City. Construction started in October 1936, and the dedication ceremony was held on October 29, 1937. The school district closed Roosevelt School in 1970 and gave the building to the city in 2001. Empire City is part of Galena, Kansas today. The school is located at 319 W. Empire Street.
This school is located near West Mineral on NW 70th Street, south of NW Scammon Road.
Allison, Nathaniel Thompson; History of Cherokee County, Kansas; Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, IL 1904