"Senior. ‘15" is printed on the brown paper cover of the "first book ever published by the Lowell High School," a copy of which was donated to the Halsted House Museum by Lou (Mrs. Harrison) Snell.
Thirty-nine students began their freshman year in 1911, with 14 in the last senior class to graduate from the combined elementary and high school building (built in 1896) which is still standing on Main Street in Lowell.
A three-year high school was in an earlier building on the same site from 1887 to 1896, changed to a four-year high school in 1896, with only one graduate in 1897. The Class of 1916 was the first to graduate from the building on Oakley Street (now the Lowell Middle School, the first section built in 1914). The class actually studied at the Main Street building until January 1916, however.
"Dedicated to the memory of Melvin A. Halsted, founder of Lowell" is printed on one of the first pages of the yearbook, the next page featuring a fine sketch of Halsted who passed away on March 24, 1915, just months before the class’s graduation.
The editor of the year book was Lucile Dorris, later, Mrs. Harold Ross, Staff members were Henry Poppe, Garnette Foster, George Hayden, and Fay Hoshaw.
Portraits of the seven members of the 1915 Lowell High School faculty are shown on a full page with their names on the next: A.T. Elliot, Superintendent; E. Croxton, Principal, Math; Laura A. Pike, Physics and Math; Irene A. McLean, Latin, History, English; Violet Viant, Music, Drawing; F. Rachael Brownell, Domestic Science; and Avis Bryant (Mrs. Joseph E. Brown), English and German.
Members of the Class of 1915 were (as listed in the book): Hal Weaver, Neva Tanner, Floyd Lambert, Fay Hoshaw, Fern Hayden [Minninger], Garnett Foster, George Hayden, Lila Schmal [Clark], Cecil Minninger, Joe Little, Lucile Dorris [Ross], Henry Poppe and Glen Pletcher [Clark].
Five of the eight men in the class of 1915 served in the military during World War I. Floyd Lambert died while serving in the army at Columbus, Ohio.
George Hayden served in the U.S. Marines, Joseph Little joined the Navy, and Ed Minninger and Henry Poppe also served in the Army.
The 1915 year book features the usual class histories, prophecies, class poems, sports, cartoons, and lists of all the graduates of both the three-year and the four-year high school from 1890 to 1915, and also provides a 1915 school year calendar. The senior course of study included English, American History and Civics, Commercial Arithmetic, Latin or German, Physics, Animal Husbandry, Music, Drawing, and Commercial Geography.
Studies prescribed for graduation: English, 6 semesters; Algebra, 3 semesters; Plane Geometry, 2 semesters; Latin or German, 4 semesters; American History and Civics, 2 semesters; Science, 4 semesters; Commercial Arithmetic, 1 semester; elective subjects, 10 semesters; music or drawing, 2 semesters.
Several pages were used for advertising local businesses: "McNay’s Ice Cream" (at the northeast corner of Main and Clark Streets); "Leary’s Garage and Auto Livery;" "S.C. Dwyer, Attorney;" "Dickinson Hardware" (at the present site of a vacuum cleaner shop in downtown Lowell); "Undertaker Weaver;" "C.N. Sanger, Home Restaurant;" "The Fair, George Kimmet;" "Baum’s Cash Meat Market;" "The Rexall Store -- L.J. Scritchfield" (on the northwest corner of Clark and Commercial Ave.); "Lowell National Bank" (site of present Vault Antique Shop); "Cedar Valley Creamery" (now the west part of the American Legion Hall); "Geo. J. Hoevet’s Store" (now the site of Hawkeye’s Restaurant, Ugly Duck Tavern, and the Lowell Office Supply); "Lowell Tribune;" "Wilbur Lumber Company" (on the site of the Costa Food north parking lot, Washington Street); "W.H. Hayward, Photographer" (on the floor above the present carpet store); "West Side Hardware, George Berg" (at the present site of the east part of Zuni’s Restaurant); "Charles P. Anderson, General Merchandise" (now Earle’s Home & Garden); and "Wm. M. Sheets, Funeral Director, Furniture Dealer" (now Treasure Hunt Antique Mall).
Senior Editor Lucile Dorris ended her "Senior History" column: "As we now separate to continue making histories for ourselves, surely no one will try to be anything but worthy of the precedents set by his comrades or to be other than an honor to the Class of 1915." She also mentioned that the basketball team was "3-5" and that a better team was hard to find.
In September 1965 the Class of 1915 held their 50-year reunion at the Lowell First United Methodist Church. Of the original classmates, nine were still alive, and seven attended the event with their spouses. A newspaper photo showed the smiling faces of Lila Schmal Clark, Fay Hoshaw, George Hayden, Henry Poppe, Fern Hayden Minninger, Avis Bryant Brown (teacher), Lucile Dorris Ross, and Glen Pletcher Clark, Also attending were spouses Joseph Brown, Charles Minninger, Harry Clark, Mrs. Hoshaw and Mrs. Poppe.
The 1915 Lowell High School year book can be viewed at the Halsted House Museum, on the corner of Halsted and Main Streets in Lowell. The museum is open the first Saturday of each month, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., or for special tours for families or groups, phone 696-9234 or 696-0641.
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