Volume 19, No.6                Buffalo County Historical Society      November - December, 1996

125 Years of Building Classrooms in School District No. 7
Compiled by Philip S. Holmgren and Alice Howell

        In 1872 a school census was taken indicating that there were thirty-six children of "school age" in Kearney's School District 7. To meet the needs of these students, the District leased the first floor of a two-story building for six months. Kearney's first newspaper occupied the upper floor, and one can imagine, with the noise of the presses overhead, that the teaching and learning processes for both teacher and students was complicated. A report by the County Superintendent concerning his visit to the school described it as "poorly furnished and not really adapted to the purpose of a school."

        From that early beginning until the start of the 1996-97 school year, a span of 125 years, District No. 7 has provided no less than 23 classroom buildings for its students. In this 1996-97 year, 13 buildings are in use: nine elementary, two middle schools, one high school, and one preschool handicapped school.

        District No. 7 covers an area of 99 square miles, has an estimated population of 38,506, and currently enrolls 4,635 students. This makes it the eighth largest school district in Nebraska. It also had the distinction of having the first school in Nebraska offering year-round or traditional calendars, when Meadowlark Elementary opened in 1995.

        The following pages present an optical overview of classroom buildings, with names, addresses and years of service, from the first building to those in use during the current 1996-97 year. In some cases only one picture is used as a visual reminder of two or more schools of similar design and the same time period. Buildings have not always served the same age level so name changes have been made.

        The first brick building was named for James J. Whittier, a member of the school board. The name had literary connotations of John Greenleaf Whittier and set a trend of giving all schools built before 1900, except Kenwood, the name of then-contemporary American authors. When these buildings were replaced, the original name followed the new structure.

        No attempt has been made to include buildings other than classroom buildings. One school not included is the one-room Collins School of the early years, located some distance west on 11th Street. Additions and remodeling projects have taken place through all the years in an attempt by the District to keep abreast of new trends in education, and to provide the best educational experience possible.

        This trip through memory lane is for the reader's enjoyment, and will perhaps give one a better appreciation of what District No. 7 has done for the education of its students during the last 125 years.
First Public School 
SW corner of Intersection 
of Ave. A & 24th St. 
Whittier School 
w side of 3rd Ave. between 
22nd and 23rd Sts. 
1880-90 Elementary & High 
1890-1920 Elementary 
1929-1960 Manual Arts
Bryant Elementary, 1611 Ave. C 
Emerson Elementary, 2705 Ave. E 
Kenwood Elementary 
1524 4th Ave. 
Longfellow High  
303 W. 22nd St. 
Hawthorne Elementary, 3400 Ave. A  
Alcott Elementary, 1112 E. 16th St. 
(NEW) Whittier Elementary 
322 W. 24 St. 
Kearney Jr. High 300 W. 24th St. 
1925-1968 Central Elementary 
Kenwood Elementary  
1511 5th Ave. 
Emerson Elementary, 2705 Ave. E 
Bryant Elementary, 1611 Ave. C Park Elementary, 3000 7th Ave. 
Northeast Elementary  
900 E. 34th St. 
Windy Hills Elementary 
4211 20th Ave. 
1981-Keamey Hub Photo
Glenwood Elementary 
Route 3 
Meadowlark Elementary 1010 E. 53rd St. 
Keamey Hub Photo 
Sunrise Middle 
4611 Ave. N 
Keamey Hub Photo
Kearney Sr. High 3610 6th Ave.
                                 1960-1990 Kearney High1990-
Kearney Jr. High 
915 W. 35th St 
                                            Horizon Middle1990

    Update 2002 - These photos of the schools in District 7 were published in a Kearney Schools supplement in the Kearney Hub at the end of the 2001-2002 school year.  The caption under each picture names the school, address, principal, school enrollment, and some in some cases, a distinguishing feature about the school's curriculum offerings.  Two elementary schools, Meadowlark and Emerson, offer the option of year-round classes.


    Proofread 6-29-2002
    Edited 3/14/2003

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