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"History of Eau Claire County Wisconsin, 1914, Past and Present"


Chapter  10

Eau Claire County Training School

By W. A. Clark

(-as transcribed from pages 54 - 55)


The Eau Claire County Training School for Teachers was established by act of the county board November 18, 1904, and opened in the city of Eau Claire August 28, 1905, and was the eighth school of this kind in the state. At the present time, less than nine years later, there are twenty-eight.

This school at first occupied rooms in the high school building and employed two teachers, namely, W. A. Clark, principal, and Miss Franc Wilkins, assistant. The school opened with an attendance of forty-eight and increased so rapidly that another teacher was secured for the second year. Miss Clara McNown was engaged in this capacity, and remained with the school two years. On Miss McNown's resignation, Miss Lydia Wheelock was engaged as second assistant, and remained in this position for four years. She was followed by Miss Maud Guest, who is still one of the faculty. Miss Wilkins and Mr. Clark have been with the school from the beginning to the present time (1914).

During the summer of 1907 the beautiful and commodious building now occupied by the school was erected by the county on grounds adjoining the courthouse. In the spring of 1912 the usefulness of the school in promoting agricultural education was greatly increased by the coming of G. K. Ingalls as county agriculturist, who was given an office in the building, made it his headquarters and became teacher of agriculture in the training school. The following winter a short course in agriculture was given in which seventeen young men were enrolled. The present time finds the school taxed to its utmost capacity, with sixty-four students in the teachers' training courses and twenty-two in the short course in agriculture. That the reputation of the school has reached beyond the boundaries of the county is shown by the fact that there are in attendance this year (1914) more than thirty non-resident students coming from Chippewa, Rush, Clark, Burnette, Jackson, Trempealeau, Buffalo and Pepin counties.

The school has one hundred and eighty-seven graduates up to date, of whom one hundred and twenty are actively engaged in teaching, which testifies to the efficiency of the school in inculcating professional spirit and love for the work.  These graduates have been uniformly successful and the demand for the product of the school is steadily increasing.  No little credit for the success of the school is due the high character and ability of the men and women who have, during the past eight years, served the school on the training school board.  The first training school board was composed of Hon. Emmet Horan, of Eau Claire, president; Mr. Gus Dittmer, of Augusta, treasurer, and County Superintendent of Schools Laura Burce, secretary.  On Mr. Horan's appointment as a member of the board of regents of normal schools he resigned from the training school board, April 22, 1908, and Mr. Richard H. Loether, of Eau Claire, has made his successor.  On the retirement of Miss Burce from the county superintendency in July, 1909, her successor, Miss Theresa A. Leinenkugel, became secretary of the board.  In November, 1913, Mr. E. G. Herrel, of Augusta, was given a place on the board, Mr. Dittmer retiring, and at the same time Mr. J. H. Waggoner succeeded Mr. Loether as president of the board.  The board as now constituted consists of J. H. Waggoner, president; E. G. Herrel, treasurer, and Miss Theresa Leinenkugel, secretary.

The Rural Schools of the County

Eau Claire county has not fallen behind others of the state in regard to the educational welfare of its population.  There are 88 rural schools under the supervision of the county superintendent, Miss Theresa A. Leinenkugel, who has filled the office for six years - her predecessor, Miss Burce, having held it for the same length of time.  Under them the schools have shown a constant advance in methods and efficiency.  It is to be hoped that the system of consolidation which has proved so successful in Illinois and Indiana will be tried more faithfully in this state and county.  Each district should see its three or four small schools united in one, which could thereby secure better teachers and more fitting equipment.  The state legislature grants $50 yearly on certain conditions to each school which has a specified number of enregistered pupils, this sum to be expended in suitable blackboards, maps, a globe, systematic ventilation, properly screened outbuildings, etc.  This appropriation is granted for three consecutive years, is highly appreciated and has shown good results int he interest and zeal inspired by pleasing and sanitary surroundings and adequate working tools.

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