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School History

One-room School House

Building Built/Opened:  1857:  A schoolhouse had been opened on May 3, which also served as a church on Sunday. (“Annals of Quindaro,” Alan W. Farley)


  • 2800 Farrow (in 2005)
  • 1912 City Directory:  27th and Farrow Ave. – Gertrude Highleyman, principal
  • Location in 1940 listed as n.w. corner of 27th St. and Farrow Avenue.  Legal Description:  Lots 227-229-231-233-235-237 in block 23 in the addition to the town of Quindaro now Kansas City, Kansas.

Named for location in city: Quindaro

There are three pictures of the Quindaro School.  The 1st picture is the school in 1884 (Kansan news article – May 8, 1938).  The picture belonged to Frank Hickock of 3218 No. 33rd Street.  Hickock was a pupil at the one-room school at the time the picture was taken.   The teacher, he said was a Mr. Jones.  This one-room school house built in 1867 (a one-room limestone), was later enlarged into two rooms, with a 4-room brick building being built later.   The 2nd picture was taken in 1940 of the school built between 1906-1912.  The 3rd picture is the current (2005) Quindaro School built in 1972.

There were two Quindaro schools.  Quindaro (District #4) was the white school and was located at the n.e. corner of P and Eleventh (28th and Farrow).  Part of the current school sits on that site.  The school for black children (District #17) was built at Kanzas and Eighth (27th and Sewell).  It was operated with an all-black school board and later called the Vernon Elementary School.

Also located in this area is the remaining building for the Vernon Elementary School (formerly the school for black children in Quindaro), along with the John Brown Statue and cornerstones from the Western University (African-American University).

The Quindaro Elementary School is located in a part of Kansas City, Kansas formerly known as Quindaro Town Site.  The area has a long and rich history, with heavy involvement in the abolitionist crusade to eliminate slavery, beginning even before that with John Stewart (of African heritage) being granted a license and aid in building a school (1819 in Ohio) connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the settlement of the Wyandot Indians in 1843 in Kansas.

From the Kansas City, Kansas Urban Planning and Land Use – Read their most accurate and up-to-date history of Quindaro – “Quindaro and Western University Historic District



1856 – December: Quindaro townsite purchased through negotiation of Nancy Brown Guthrie, member of early Wyandot family.

Owen A. Bassett platted the townsite, including Quindaro Park (the first park in what is now Wyandotte County and one of the oldest in the state of Kansas.  (Quindaro and Western University Historic District, KCKs Urban Planning and Land Use, 06 Jan 2005)

1857 – January: First shovel of dirt turned for new city.

May 3:  School for white children opened. The first teacher was probably Miss Carpenter, daughter of Mrs. Clarina Nichols, noted pioneer editor, lecturer and teacher who settled in Quindaro. Mrs. Nichols was assistant editor of the Quindaro Chindowan newspaper.

“A schoolhouse had been opened on May 3, which also served as a church on Sunday”  (Annnals of Quindaro: A Kansas Ghost Town, Alan W. Farley, 1956)

By December of 1857, the Quindaro Library Association had accumulated a library of 200 volumes, while the Quindaro Literary Association had begun to sponsor a regular lecture series, meeting at “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” at 62 P Street.  The Literary Association also published an occasional journal, “The Cradle of Progress,” edited by Mrs. Nichols.  (Quindaro and Western University Historic District, KCKs Urban Planning and Land Use, 06 Jan 2005)

The land for the Quindaro School was part of the original Wyandot Allotment No. 187 to Ebenezer O. Zane (wife, Rebecca).  This was part of the Treaty of January 31, 1855 between the United States and the Wyandot Tribe of Indians.  The patent is dated June 1, 1859 and recorded Aug 6, 1875 in the Book of Patents, Page 61, signed by President James Buchanan; I. N. Granger, Recorder of the General Land Office.

1858 – February 9: The third Kansas Territorial Legislature, with Free State men now in the majority, approved Quindaro’s incorporation.  (Quindaro and Western University Historic District, KCKs Urban Planning and Land Use, 06 Jan 2005)

February 20: The text of Mayor Alfred Gray’s first inaugural address (prior to incorporation) was published in the Chin-do-wan.  In it he urged the Common Council in their capacity as school commissioners to establish a school for black children, thereby indicating that there were already sufficient numbers present for that to be a matter of concern.  (Quindaro and Western University Historic District, KCKs Urban Planning and Land Use, 06 Jan 2005)

Mayor Gray’s nephew (Dr. George M. Gray) would later gain local prominence as a physician, banker, civil leader and one-time may of Kansas City, Kansas.  Dr. Gray promoted the park system in KCKs and supported educational progress.  His daughter married Willard Breidenthal, whose grandson (George Breidenthal) was a member of the KCKs Board of Education.  This family has a long history in the area and in the progress of education.

April 12: “The Common Council’s Committee on Finance issued a report on the Quindaro school fund after one year.  The school for white children had been built at a cost of $2,000, with a teacher employed at $700, while in apparent response to Mayor Gray’s proposal, a school for black children had been established at a cost of $500, with a teacher at $300.  The disparities may have been as much a reflection of the actual numbers of children served as the racial prejudices of Quindaro’s citizens, but it should be remembered that at the time, such prejudices were common even among those who believed that slavery was morally indefensible.” (Quindaro and Western University Historic District, KCKs Urban Planning and Land Use, 06 Jan 2005)

May 13: Quindaro voters approve Negro suffrage in municipal elections, but at the same time vote to continue separate school systems. (Quindaro and Western University Historic District, KCKs Urban Planning and Land Use, 06 Jan 2005)

One person who did not support racial segregation in the schools was Mrs. Clarina Nichols.  Her daughter Bertie Carpenter operated a private school in Quindaro which served both white and black children, but a May 2, 1859 letter from Mrs. Nichols to her friend Susan Wattles indicated that this was not a widely popular position to take:

“My daughter has recommenced her school with 13 white and col’d and 3 or 4 more promised.  She has an offer of a School in Lawrence at $100.  No question she could have 30 to 40 scholars here at $499 per qtr. if she would exclude col’d children, but we have concluded, tho’ it looks like starving for our principles, that we will wait till we have starved before we abandon them.”  (Quindaro and Western University Historic District, KCKs Urban Planning and Land Use, 06 Jan 2005)

1861 – Benjamin Franklin Mudge (1817-1879) held the office of superintendent of education for Wyandotte County, and organized the Wyandotte County Agricultural Society, which sponsored the first County Fair in October of 1863.  (Loren L. Taylor, local historian)

1863 – Wyandotte Gazette – December 5:  “Our people are making additional efforts to extend the benefits of a free school, by liberal contributions to its support.”  “Through all these hard times, we have had an excellent private school, when a free school has not been in operation.”  “We are glad in being able to announce that our arrangements are completed; money sufficient for a three months school has been raised, and Miss Lizzie Dickinson, who has so long and faithfully taught the children of such as were able to pay, is now with her sister, recently from one of the best schools in the East, teaching also the children of the few who are not yet able to pay.”

1867 – Following the establishment of a county-wide system of public schools in 1867, both of the Quindaro schools (still segregated) received new stone buildings in 1868.  The school for white children, District 4, was erected by R. M. Gray at the northeast corner of P and Eleventh (28th and Farrow) on six lots purchased the previous October from Alfred and Julia Robinson.  The site still serves as part of the property of the present Quindaro Elementary School.  The school for black children, District 17, was built next to the Quindaro Congregational Church at Kansas and Eighth (27th and Sewell) and for many years operated with an all African-American school board.  (Quindaro and Western University Historic District, KCKs Urban Planning and Land Use, 06 Jan 2005)

As Wyandotte, Kerr and Kansas City, Kansas were respectively Districts 1, 2, and 3 of Wyandotte County, it seems reasonable to suppose that District 4, Quindaro, was organized about the same time, in 1867 or 1868. (Larry Hancks, KCKs Urban Planning and Land Use)

1872 – January 6 – the Colored Normal School of Quindaro was established by the Kansas State Legislature.  This school was to function as part of Freedman’s University (Western University).

(Officers, Wyandott Gazette, 17 July 1873 – Cyrus Taylor, Henry H. Reynolds, and W. J. Huffaker)

1884 – School crowded. Classes held in upstairs room of a store building. J E Kammeyer and Mr. Jones, teachers.

1889  – Carline to 19th and Quindaro. Two-mile walk to two-room school.

1889-1899 – Four-room brick erected on the site during this time.

1899 – Addition to Quindaro mentioned. To be named for Governor Stanley Hall.

1906 – Addition to Quindaro. Architect: W. W. Rose

1895-1909 – W. W. Rose, Architect – There are three schools from this period of Rose’s career that display elements of the Second Renaissance Revival:  Kansas City, Kansas High School (1897-99 et seq.), Bancroft Elementary School (1900), and Quindaro Elementary School (1906). Bryant Elementary School, designed by Rose in 1904, features an Italian Renaissance Revival vocabulary, while John Fiske Elementary (1907/07) and Sumner High School (1905-06/1809-09) exhibit Jacobethan elements in their primary and secondary elevations.

1909 – Quindaro Township taken into the city of Kansas City, Kansas.

1910 – School became part of KCKs school system. Principal was Kate Cowick and five teachers are mentioned.

1912 – Six rooms mentioned as being in the main building, with two small rooms on the west side. Building L-shaped. Three rooms down and three on second floor.

September 27: First PTA, Mrs. Fred Sorter, first president.

1913 – Made another room from coat hall.

1914 – Six rooms erected.

1920 – Dr. Gloyne established a free clinic, one hour each Saturday, for free treatment of children unable to pay. He stressed disinfecting, not fumigating, for schools. The doctor deplored the lack of soap and towels in lavatories, especially where there were lunchers. Only teachers were supplied. At Quindaro, the year before, three towels for the entire school were available, and 25 cases of sore eyes developed.

1925 – Plans made for addition.

1933 – Quindaro reported to have 17 rooms

1938 – May:  Reunion to celebrate 80th anniversary of school’s founding.

1961 – January 5: Lewis Brotherson, Business Manager for the BOE, negotiated for property on north and west side of school.

1969 – Six relocatable classrooms placed on Quindaro as emergency housing.  Schools in KCKs in Years of Change 1962-1986, Dr. Oren L. Plucker, 1986

1972 – New school opened on 28th and Farrow site. Old building razed. Relocatables moved to Lindbergh and L M Alcott. Additional land purchased west of 28th Street and north of old site on 27th Street for enlarged site.

2004 – Phase IV of the KCKs Public Schools $120 million bond issue includes:  Banneker, Central, McKinley and Quindaro Elementary Schools, Harmon High School and the Area Technical School (ATS).  Central and McKinley will reopen to student enrollment in the Fall of 2004.  The other buildings, which previously had air conditioning, will receive upgrades to their heating and cooling systems, as well as minimal energy updates on windows and exteriors.  The last buildings to receive upgrades include the Main Branch Library, Central Office and the Shop.


From the Kansas City, Kansas Urban Planning and Land Use – Read their most accurate and up-to-date history of Quindaro – “Quindaro and Western University Historic District

The African-American Mosaic 
A Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study of Black History and Culture

Quindaro Virtual Tour

Online Transcription Project – Quindaro – Pages 528-530 from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. … / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.

1 The Brown family of Quindaro were Wyandots from the Detroit area, and were no relation to the fiery abolitionist.