2016 - 50th Reunion


JHawk Class Memories

Harrison Elementary

1310 11th Street NW - Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Feeder Elementary to Roosevelt Junior High School

Before fire .................................. After fire of January 29, 1929

William Henry Harrison .................................................. Benjamin Harrison

The History of Harrison Elementary

Named after Benjamin Harrison Twenty-Third President 1889-1893

The school actually began as "Hull School." It was named for a donor who offered to donate a school for the "Time Check" neighborhood if the school district would supply a teacher. The one-room school opened in 1876. It was located near K Avenue and Sixth Street West.

Nearly 10 years later, a larger building went up on the same site. This school had eight rooms. It was named for William Henry Harrison, the ninth president of the United States. The first PTA at Harrison School (or "Mother's Club," as it was called then), was organized in the spring of 1900. On March 15, 1910, the group reorganized and became an official Parent-Teacher Association - the first one in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In 1902 and 1917 additions were added to the building. During the 1908-1909 school year the school housed kindergarten to eighth grade students. The building was located where the Flamingo Restaurant is now (1995).

The school housed up to eighth grade until 1921 when a new junior high, Roosevelt, was built and seventh and eighth graders moved there for their schooling. The enrollment in this year had topped 600 students for the first time.

On Monday morning, January 28, 1929, a fire of unknown origin destroyed the school.

A mural that Grant Wood had painted for Harrison School was destroyed in the fire. Other items lost included dozens of small animals used for science class studies, a unique collection of butterflies and other insects, and a spinning wheel that had belonged to the great-great-grandmother of Miss Marjorie Walters, the principal of Harrison from 1920 until 1952. For the next eighteen months 561 children in this area attended school in churches and in basements of other schools.

Harrison Elementary School was rebuilt at Eleventh Street and L Avenue NW. In August of 1929 a contract was signed for the building of the new school. The new site was 1310 11th Street NW. The five-acre site cost only $8,250. It has frontage of 472 feet and extends back, 475 feet, to a wooded hill. The total cost of the new school was $264,238.79.

Costs of the New Harrison Elementary School (1929)
John B. Emery, site $ 8,250.00
O.F. Paulson Construc'n Co., general contract 176,741.63
Wheatland Co., Inc., heating & ventil'g cont. 32,700.00
Cyrus Metcalf Co., plumbing contract 11,660.25
H.E. Hunter, architect 9,108.97
O.L. Leefers, clerk-of-the-works 4,786.62
Kutchera & Sons, sodding 337.50
County Treasurer, curbing 1,795.42
Furniture and equipment 12,473.40

$ 264,238.79

The building was built in an English Tudor style. The front of the building is 250 feet and six inches across. It is about 90 feet in depth. The building is two stories high. It has a separate heating plant, 44 by 35 feet, at the rear of the main building. The hallway of each floor has corridors 13 feet wide.
For its day the building was considered one with the latest conveniences and modern equipment. The building had some lead glass windows. Each classroom had "two toilets, its own drinking fountain, cloak room, and large oak cabinets for teachers to store materials." The oak cabinets each had a electrical plug so teachers could use a "daytime lantern" in their classrooms, if they so wished. The school was said to have been built "to last half a century, at least."

The new school was built solely as an elementary school , unlike many schools of that time. It was to house only kindergarten through sixth grades.

The school was officially dedicated on November 7, 1930. During the dedication ceremonies, behind the cornerstone bearing the date of 1929, a copper box was placed containing newspapers and other publications from 1929, Cedar Rapids telephone directory, photographs of the old Harrison School before and after the fire, a picture of the new school under construction, and a list of Harrison students. To our knowledge no one has opened this dedication box.

The new Harrison School was named for Benjamin Harrison, the twenty-third president of the United States and his grandfather, William Henry Harrison, the ninth president of the United States.

In 1964, in a Cedar Rapids Gazette newspaper article (May 18, 1964; page 18A), a teacher who had retired from teaching 45 years at Harrison Elementary School, Miss Charlotte Springsteen was quoted as saying, "You might think a person would be bored, or might get into a rut being in one place so long. But there's so much change going on in the schools that you've got to progress, that's all there is to it." To Miss Springsteen the classroom of 1964 was a much more interesting place than it was when she began teaching (1919).

Her job from 1924 to 1964 was teaching second graders. "I like children at that age when they're just beginning to read." In the same article Miss Springsteen recalls that "second grade in the old days" was "reading, arithmetic and penmanship - lots of penmanship."

When the new school was 60 years old, there was a celebration commemorating the 1930s dedication. Staff and students who had attended Harrison Elementary School came. A 1930s style classroom was recreated on the stage of the gymnasium.

During the celebration, another box was capsulated. It was put in a compartment built into the wall at the east corner of the south wall of the gymnasium. The box contains a video of the celebration, the article from the "Cedar Rapids Gazette" which tells about the "Sixty Years of Dedication" celebration, and information about the earlier Harrison school, as well as, other miscellaneous information.

Our school today looks almost exactly like it did in the 1930s. However, there are some changes. A five-room kindergarten and first grade wing was added in 1955. There are now 25 classrooms including those that were built on. In 1995, a double portable building was added to the grounds. That classroom, called Berkeley Place, was placed at the northwest corner of the main school. It is used for two classrooms.

In 1987, Fred Steitzer, principal from 1986 to 1990, and Ethel McCreedy, secretary, played an important role in arranging to have the oak cabinets and school's woodwork refinished. They polished hundreds of sets of brass door hardware. More than 48 leaded-glass window panes were repaired, one pane at a time. Steitzer also discovered 22 framed prints, most dated in the late 1890s, in the tunnels beneath the school. He had the frames and the prints restored and today the prints hang throughout the main school building.

In the main foyer there now hangs a 23-foot long mural that was painted in 1934 by William Hennings, an artist who once worked with Grant Wood. The mural is 23-feet long and is titled "Transportation."

Four hundred seventy-eight students were attending Harrison School during the 1995-96 school year. In 1990, a modern playground was built on the school grounds behind the school. We have a modern library media center (LMC) which has over 10,000 items. We have a computer catalog to find the materials we need. Our circulation system is automated too. Every day over 450 lunches are served to students at Harrison. Accounting for the lunch program is automated by computer.

Harrison Principal 1954-1960

Ray Churchill

Margaret Allen - Clerk

Kindergarten - Anna Stover, Evelyn Neena
1st Grade - Florence Couch, Shirley Shadid, Lois Cowen, Carole Rasmussen. Louise Algren
2nd Grade - Charlotte Springdteen, Mirium Lodge, Winnifred Siamie
3rd Grade - Marie Sailor, Helen Duncan, Joy, Anderson
4th Grade - Language Arts - Myrna See, Donna Schlampp
4th Grade - Science, Math, Health - Mardelle Bryant
5th Grade - Language Arts - Viola McGrath
5th Grade - Math Jane Lilja
5th Grade - Music, Health - Florence Culver
6th Grade - Science & PE - Richard Weepee,
6th Grade - Language Arts - Arlene Myers, Joyce Miller
5th Grade - Language Arts, Social Studies - Donna Schlampp

6th Grade - Language Arts, Science - Tom Morgan

6th Grade - Science, Health - Sue Beck
6th Grade - Art - Beverly Gustafsen
6th Grade - Special Reading - Gail Demo
6th Grade - Special Education - Oline Siem
Classmates who attended Harrison:

Doug Benedict, Linda Bohr, Pam Bramson, Julie Campbell, Marleen Dennison, Carol Donisthorpe

Diane Ferreter, Kathleen Finnigan, Neal Fran

Debbie Gibson, Tom Hankins, Sue Hardin, Judy Hardy, Wanda Hughes, Mark Jackson, Barbara Jepson

Frank King, John Kinney, Vickie Lee, Cassandra Neel, Susan McGuire, Walter Merritt, David Montaque

Keith Nye, Judy Ostburg, Ed Overly

Linda Perry, Rob Pike, Charles Potter, Marvin Schroeder, Barbara Steitz, Richard Sterenborg, Donna Strait

Don Taylor, Lynda Thompson, Sharon Valandingham, Wendy Walters, Dennis Wiedenmann, Chuck Wise,

Richard Young, David Zook, Penny Zrudsky

Harrison School 1954 - 1955

Mrs. Knupp's 1st Grade Class

3rd Row: Mrs. Knupp, ???, ???, ???, Wendy Shafer, ???, ???, ???, ???, ???, ???

2nd Row: ???, ???, ???, ???, ???, ???, ???, ???, ???

1st Row: ???, ???, ???, ???, ???, ???, ???,

1953-54 Harrison School

Mrs. Anna Marie Stover's Kindergarten Class

3rd Row: Mrs. Anna Marie Stover, Linda Podzimek, Cassey Neel, Ronnie Mercer, Joe Lucas, Gilbert ???, Tom Hankins, Mary Ann Jenkins, Susan Harris_
2nd Row: Janette Krecioch, Rosemary Allen, Dick ???, Linda English, Darlene Nashen, Kent Kroupa, Pat White, Kathleen Finnigan
1st Row: ??? , Jamie Leedom, Suzette Frank, Lynda Thompson, Jeanette ???, Julie Eige, Pam Bjornsen, Kay ???

Harrison 1959 - 1960

Mrs. Schlampp 6th Grade Homeroom

4th Row: Miss Schampp, John Kinney, Carol Donisthorpe, Cassie Neal, Shirley Romig, Vickie Renfrow, Diane Kaderabek, Joyce Kalina, Alleen Martin,
3rd Row: Doug Benedict, Dave Kalina, Steve Seifert, Susan Reid, Lynda Thompson, Ricky Herald, Rob Pike

2nd Row: Barb Jepson, Susan Hardin, Debbie Gibson, Janet McDowell, Coleen Reynolds, Donna Holliday, Tom Hankins, Dennis Wiedenman

1st Row: Steve Fullerton, Wendy Walters, Wendy Shafer, David Montague, Henry Stahr, Bob Bruce
Harrison Teachers

2nd Grade

Mrs. Siamis

3rd Grade

Miss Bryant

4th Grade

Miss See

5th Grade

Mrs. McRath

6th Grade

Miss Schlampp

Harrison Principal - Roy Churchill

Margret Allen - Secretary/clerk

Teachers 1953 -1960

Anna Marie Stover - Kindergarden

Evelyn Newman - Kindergarden

Florence Couch - 1st grade

Shirley Shadid - 1st grade

Lois Cowen - 1st grade

Mrs. Knupp - 1st grade

Carole Rasmussen - 1st grade

Charlotte Springstern - 2rd grade

Miriam Lodge - 2rd grade

Winnifred Siamis - 2rd grade

Marie Sailor - 3rd grade

Helen Duncan - 3rd grade

Joy Anderson - 3rd grade

Myria See - 4th grade, Language Arts

Ardelle Bryant - 4th grade, Science Math, Health

Donna Schlampp - 4th grade, Language Arts

Jane Lilja - 5th grade, Math

Viola McGrath - 5th grade, Language Arts

Florence Culver - 5th grade, Music, Health

Richard Weppie - 6th grade, Science, PE

Arlene Myers - 6th grade, Language Arts

Joyce Miller - 6th grade, Language Arts

Nancy Waite - 6th grade, Art, Reading

Classmates who attended Harrison

Doug Benedict, Pam Bjornsen, Bob Bruce, Marleen Dennison, Carol Donisthorpe, Julie Eige


Diane Ferreter, Steve Fullerton, Suzette Frank, Debbie Gibson


Tom Hankins, Susan Hardin, Susan Harris , Ricky Herald, Donna Holliday


Mary Ann Jenkins, Barb Jepson. Diane Kaderabek, John Kinney, Dave Kalina, Joyce Kalina, Jeanette Krecioch


Kent Kroupa, Jamie Leedom, Joe Lucas, Alleen Martin, Janet McDowell, Ronnie Mercer, David Montague


Cassie Neal, Rob Pike, Linda Podzimek, Susan Reid, Vickie Renfrow, Colleen Reynolds, Shirley Romig


Steve Seifert, Wendy Shafer, Henry Stahr, Lynda Thompson, Wendy Walters, Dennis Wiedenman

The Barn