The Bay City Times - Saturday, December 22, 1940.
Eastern Junior High School
Eastern’s History Colorful; Building’s Condition Poor.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Bay City’s aged Eastern Junior high school is the subject of the fifteenth in a series of histories dealing with schools in the local public system which The Bay City Times is publishing each Saturday. Jan. 11 the history of Central High school will be related.)
Interwoven with the growth of Bay City is the history of Eastern Junior High school, erected March 27, 1882, as Eastern High school, in which capacity it served local students until the same day in 1922, when it became the East Side’s junior high school. In 1882, students from the old Farragut High school marched in a body to the new building located at Eleventh street and Madison avenue, and 40 years later, pupils of Eastern again marched in a group to the new Central High school. Since that time a younger group of students has used the classrooms in junior high school study, perparatory to a secondary education at Central.
With conversion of the school for junior high school purposes a new heating system was installed and extensive repairs made. A former large session room, used by earlier students who now have children of their own at Eastern, was converted into a gymnasium, and the commercial offices of the present annex were partitioned to provide several eight grade home rooms.
Because of the lack of space, the true junior high school pattern, grades seven to nine, is not followed and the school only accommodates eighth and ninth grade students. One-third of junior high school age students are located in East Side grade school buildings.
When Eastern became a junior high school, William G. Burton was principal with a staff of 25 teachers.
According to a building survey conducted in 1936 under the direction of Benjamin Klager, superintendent, Easter received a rating of “good” on one item, namely, ventilation, “fair” on three and “poor” on 17. In the same survey its acreage is given at seven-tenths of an acre while the acceptable minimum is eight acres. According to construction, the building rates “D” which under the classification used, means a building with masonry wall but otherwise ordinary joist construction or wood finish. Little fire-resisting material is used.
Bay City was a lusty lumbering town when Eastern was built, but most of its citizens were interested in the education of the younger contingent. As the city thrived commercially and industrially, it began to lose its backwoods character, and the metamorphosis was most noticeable in the desire for education here.
A notice in the files of the Evening Press for July 10, 1880, contains the petition made at a school board session by a Mrs. Craddock and 18 others, asking “that slabs be not piled on the lots in the fourth ward belonging to the Union School District,” site of the present 58-year-old school. At the same meeting, it was moved that a school be erected on the lots. In April of the following year the plans were submitted by Watkins, Hidden and Arnold, and finally accepted after a long discussion as to whether a tower and rooms on the third floor were desirable. The contract was let May 20, 1881, to Henry Holmes at a cost of $18,900.
In April, 1882, when I. W. Morley was superintendent, the school was put on the University of Michigan lists after a visit from members of the university’s faculty.
Special pride was taken in the chemical, physical and biological laboratories, which were outstanding for the period. By 1905 the school was equipped with a telescope and an electric stereoptican. It also possessed a large collection of several hundred specimens of rocks and minerals, and a nucleus for the school library now listing 3,000 volumes, was started.
For some years, in addition to the regular academic courses, a two-year course in commercial subjects was offered. So popular did this course become that in 1903 a temporary building, now the annex, was added to relieve congestion. It consisted of five rooms, a unique feature being an actual office setup where students carried on bookkeeping, use of the typewriter, and practice in problems of commercial law and business arithmetic. Frank F. Price, with a corps of four teachers later extended the course to four years.
The first faculty consisted of Mrs. M. A. Barnett, principal; Miss Ellen Barnett, Miss Cora Allen, Miss Ada Crawford, Mrs. B. Stonebreaker, Miss Elizabeth Trump and Miss Emma Small. Among the members of the first graduating class, whose commencement exercises were held in the First Baptist church, were John A. MacDonald, William MacDonald, Charles Prescott, Luren Dawson, Albert C. Grier, John Henry, William McClellan, Mae Wilson, Minnie Bronson, Belle Langworthy, May Jarmin, Helen Swaby and Ida Ueberhorst.
Among the principals of the school were Grier, one of its first graduates; J. H. Harris, George Swain and Norman B. Sloan. Glenn A. Omans is now principal of the 28-room bulding housing approximately 700 students, following Burton, who was the Junior high’s first principal.
Although the school operates under disadvantage with a great deal of its equipment improvised, it still offers much to the students. It has a cafeteria, a laboratory for science classes and a library which, however, is poorly housed. A locker system installed this past summer, together with enlarged, but still inadequate space for vocational subjects are recent attempts to resolve some difficulties of adapting the needs of today’s modern junior high school to yesterday’s building designed solely for academic purposes.
Among the teaching staff are: Dale C. Allen, general science; Leo L. Bailey, mechanical drawing; Russell E. Ballard, social science; Miss Julienne Beaubien, French; Roland E. Bellinger, mathematics; William Blackler, English and dramatics; Miss Lois Bowman, social science; McKinley Browne, commercial; John Wright, art; Miss Genevieve Davis, clothing; Morley Dixon, manual training; Miss Frances Dulong, English; Miss Isabelle Easterly, mathematics; George W. Fogg, history; Miss Marion H. Hogan, social studies; Miss Elsa House, home economics; Miss Alexandra Johnson, physical education, Paul Leiker, mathematics and science; Miss Ann Martin, Latin; Lester Miller, physical education; Miss Laura M. Richardson, English and home room; Miss Albina C. Richert, English; Miss Dorothy Ruhstorfer, librarian; Andrew F. Schott, music; John Steward, grade principal; Mrs. Irene C. Washington, grade principal; Ray M. Watson, mathematics, and Mrs Lillian Willis, English.