William Frederick Howat.

A standard history of Lake County, Indiana, and the Calumet region (Volume 1) online

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authorizing and governing such movements. By the earnest solicita-
tion of a committee of citizens appointed for the purpose by Mayor
A. F. Knotts, a subscription of $2,000 for library purposes was secured,
and in May, 1903, the first Public Library Board of Plammond was
appointed, as specified by law, as follows: ]Mrs. J. G. Ibach, A. M.
Turner and L. Becker, appointed by Judge Me^Iahan of the Circuit
Court; E. Scull and W. Burton, who has since been succeeded by T.
W. Kohr, appointed by the Common Council of Hammond; Rena
Ames and Dr. W. F. Howat, appointed by the Board of Education.
Following the organization of the board, the first act of importance
was the purchase of the books of the Shakespeare Club.

' ' From that time a steady growth has taken place and at the present
writing (1904) there are over 2,400 volumes accessible to the public.
]\Iost of these books have been acquired by purchase, though many have
been donated. Chief among the donors of books stands AV. B. Conkey,
who has given over 400 volumes, and who will from time to time add
to this collection. The clergymen of the city and several other citizens
have also donated in the aggregate about 200 volumes.

"According to the modern conception of a library, we can no longer
designate a large collection of books by that term. In the present-day
sense of the term, a library consists of books, a home for the books, and
a smoothly working system whereby the literary collection can be
easily and safely accessible to those desiring to use it.

"The functions of a library are three-fold. First, entertainment;
second, education ; and third, inspiration, or to put it in another way,


pleasure, profit and encouragement. AViiere these three functions are
well balanced the public may be said to be deriving perfect results
from the institution. The normal process in this work should be one of
constant progression from the first to the second, and from the second
to the third."

Public Schools and Educators

Although the public school system of the City of Hannnond is
claimed by many to date from 1884, the year of the organization of the
high school, and by others from^ 1894, when the first municipal board of
education was appointed by the city council, there are not a few
interesting events to be chronicled having a direct bearing upon the
education of its young people through the medium of the common
schools. Fortunately, the editor can rely upon an account of these
early school matters prepared by a pioneer educator, who is now as
well known in financial circles as he was among the teachers of the
Calumet r'egion twenty years ago.

Foundation of System

In 1892 Prof. W. C. Belman, then superintendent of the schools
of North Township, wrote the following history of the public schools of
Hammond : ' ' The public schools of North Township are the only schools
in the State of Indiana whose limits include one city of 10,000 people,
one incorporated village of 1,500 people and one community that is
not incorporated of 2,500 people, and yet have a complete system of
graded schools whose board of education consists of a township trus-
tee, and its school faculty a superintendent and a corps of teachers
thirty-one in number. The system is the outgrowth of a local neces-
sity and that it is to the advancement of the schools is evident to all.

"Plammond, an incorporated city of 10,000 people, has had a won-
derful growth; its advantages in a commercial way are superior to
any suburb of Chicago. Located as it is on the Calumet River, with
easy access to Lake Michigan, and having within its limits seven of the
important railroads leading from south and east into Chicago, with
twenty-five passenger trains each way daily, Hammond has all the
advantages of Chicago with none of its disadvantages.

' ' The early history of the town is interesting, and but for the loca-
tion of the G. H. Hammond packing establishment it might yet be

"In 1863 was erected on Hohman Street, between what is now Mich-


ig-an Avenue and Wilcox Street, the first sehoolhouse, and here, during-
the winter of 1863-4, under the direction of ]Miss Amanda Koontz, was.
taught the first school in what is now the City of Hannnond. The
term was sixty days, the salary .i!20 per month, and the pupils, nine in
number, were furnished hy tlie followiiiii : Mr. Ilohman 3. ^Ir. Cood-
man 3, Mr. Sohl 2, Mr. Di'ackert 1. one of these 1)eiiig younger tlian
the law allowed.

"The following is a list of teacher.s who otfieiated in after \ears :
Mary Lohse taught the winter of 1864-65 ; :\Ir. Smith the winter of 1866-
67 ; Mary St. John began the term during the winter of 1867-68. and
Louise Dutton finished the term. Miss Louise Sohl. now ^Nlrs. J. M.
Beall, taught for two winters during 1868-69-70. ^^liss Teed taught the
winter of 1870-71. was followed the next winter by I). McKinney, but
returned and taught the two succeeding winters, 1872-74. ]Miss Mary
Harper taught the winter of 1874-75, and the old Iniilding with its old
memories was left, the new building erected .just soutli where tlie city
hall now stands became the Hammond School. In the course of years
the town had slowly grown, so that, when ^liss Alice Sohl opened school
in the autumn of 1875 she enrolled during the year sixty-eight pupils.
The salary at this time had 1)een advanced to H^35 per montli and the
length of term increased to eight montlis. ]\Iiss Sohl continued to teach
here for three years, when, in 1878. Mi-. A. A. Winslow. with Alice Web-
ster as assistant, took charge of the seliools. The next year Doctor
Forsyth and Alice Webster were the teachei's. ;uul in 1S8(» A.- A. Win-
slow, Miss Helen Winslow and ^liss Alice Wehstei- conducted the work,
the primary room ])eing in an adjoining l)nil(ling. During the sum-
mer of 1881 and 1882 M. M. Towle, tlien trustee, erected a new Iniilding-
on the corner of Hohman and Fayette streets. The new building was
two stories high and contained eight rooms, four of which were fi]i-
ished at the time. Here in the autumn of 1888 Miss Agnes Dyer, as
principal, with Helen Winslow, Ennna ^Nlott and Alice AYebster opened
school in what is at present (1892) our Central building. In 1882 Floyd
Truax was appointed principal, but resigned in February and D. Mc-
KiniK\y was appointed to fill the A'acaney. The school term during this
year was eight months in length. During the summer of 1883 Trustee
M. M. Towle completed the Central building and AV. C. Belman, with
the following teachers — Alisses Cynthia AYoods, Nettie Smith, Linnie
Ousley, Mary AYelsh, Mary Dunn, Madaline Ijail)le — began the task of
developing a system of graded schools. Since that time the schools
have grown largely, both in numbers and period. C. N. Towle and Dr.
W. W. Merrill have each filled the I'esponsible position of trustee, and
much that has been done is due to the earnestness with whicli they sup-


ported the superintendent in his endeavors to build up a thorough system
of schools. From 1883 till 1890 Superintendent Belman did consider-
able class work. In 1890 he was placed in charge of the township work,
which included the schools of Hammond, East Chicago and Whiting.
He has placed all the schools under the same system and is endeavoring
to work out a township system that shall be of great value to all the
schools concerned.

"In 1887 the high school, which was organized in 1884: with l)ut few
pupils, graduated its first class, three ladies. From that time the high
school has grown until at the present time (1892) it has become an
important factor in the system.

''Thus from a small district school on the l^anks of the Calumet has
grown a system of schools that today (1892) occupies six buildings,
enrolls 1,500 pupils, pays an annual salary of nearly seventeen thousand
dollars to its faculty. With such a system we may well feel proud, and
with the sympathy that exists between people and schools we are sure
of extended success in the future. ' '

Public Schools. 1892-1904

Continuing Professor Belman 's sketch, from 1892 to 1904, the Ham-
mond Daily News, to which we are indebted for much other local his-
tory, says:

"The foregoing sketch is of the schools while they Avere still under
the township. At the time tlie schools were turned oxer to the City of
Hammond, the Central High School building had just 1)een completed
at a cost of >)^65.000 by Township Trustee Merrill, with the assistance of
W. C. Belman, superintendent. Besides that building, there were in
use at that time (October 13, 1894) the Riverside School, corner Truman
and Calumet; the Lincoln School, corner of Costlin and School .streets;
the East Side School, a two-story franu^ at corner Sibley and Calumet ;
the Roby School, a small frame building still in use.

"During the building of the Central High School various rooms were
secured about the district to accommodate the pupils and continue the

"The old two-story frame Central School building was purchased by
M. M. Towle, divided into two sections and moved to a lot on Fayette
Street, near the Erie tracks, where the two halves were again put
together and stood until torn down the past season.

"October 13, 1894, the first board of education was appointed by
the city council and was composed of the following named gentlemen:
Kossuth II. Bell, A. W. Warren and J. B. Woods. On the same date


they met and organized, electing J. B. Woods, president; A. W. War-
ren, secretary, and K. H. Bell, treasurer. By lot they decided that Bell
was to serve one year. Woods two and Warren three years. Trustee
Merrill turned over to this board the sum of $305.95, the amount due
the school city from funds in his hands.

"The number of enrolled pupils in the city at that time was 2,377.
On January 31, 1S95, K. H. Bell resigned as treasurer and was succeeded
by A. M. Turner, who was chosen to serve out the unexpired term of
Bell, and who afterwards was elected for a term of three years.

"In the spring of 1895 the kindergarten was established, and has
grown in popularity each year. The teachers were paid from the tuition
fund of the township until January 1, 1895, the amount having been a
part of the trustees ' annual estimate and levy paid to him by the county
treasurer. The payroll for 1895, the first year paid out of the funds of
the school city, was a total of $17,304.35. The records of the board
shovv that P. W. Meyn in 1895 and 1896 took the school enumeration
at $2 per day, receiving for the work July, 1895, $62, and in May,
1896, $63.88. '

"June 12, 1896, Stephen Ripley, Sr., succeeded J. B. Woods as
president of the board, and 0. A. Krinbill succeeded A. W. Warren
(resigned) as secretary. During that year the Riverside building was
enlarged at a cost of about five thousand dollars.

"In 1897 the number of teachers employed was thirty-nine. A
frame school building was erected at Robertsdale at a cost of $4,500
complete. In 1898 the La Fayette building was built at the corner of
Sibley Street and Calumet Avenue at a cost of over fifteen thousand

"In 1900 and 1901 the Washington building was erected on Williams

"Pessimists who feared irreparable loss by the removal of the G. H.
Hammond Company plant to Chicago found no justification in the statis-
tics of the school board, the enumeration of pupils for the period from
1894, when the board was organized, was as follows : 1895, 2,377 ; 1896,
2,762; 1897, 3,194; 1898, 3,106; 1899, 3,143; 1900, 3,375; 1901, 3,621;
1902, 3,901 ; 1903, 4,523 ; 1904, 4,443 ; a loss of but eighty in the enu-
meration occasioned by the Hammond Company going away. Greater
loss is shown between 1896 and 1897, caused by the moving away of
those who, previous to the industrial depression, had been employed in
the iron and steel industries. The enrollment of scholars in the schools
shows a still smaller loss in 1904, there being a difference of only five
scholars less than 1903, as follows :

"Enrollment for 1895-96, 1,377; 1896-97, 1,390; 1897-98, 1.570; 1898-


99, 1,749; 1899-1900, 1,849; 1900-01, 2,012; 1902-03, 2,085; 1903-04,

' ' The number of teachers employed in the schools from year to year
since 1894 is as follows:

' ' Number of teachers : 1895-96, 37 ; 1896-97, 37 ; 1897-98, 40 ; 1898-99,
47; 1899-1900, 58; 1900-01, 62; 1901-02; 63; 1902-03, 69; 1903-04, 69;
1904, 69.

"Besides the natural increase since 1894, the work in the schools
has been greatly added to.

''In 1900, while W. C. Belman was still superintendent of the schools,
athletics were introduced, and in 1901, when W. H. Hershman succeeded
Professor Belman, still more time and attention were given to the intro-
duction of athletics, until in 1904 Mr. Cantwell was engaged to teach
English and athletics in the high school.

' ' In 1903-04 manual training was introduced into some of the schools
by Professor Hershman.

"It is generally believed that the teaching of athletics in the schools
instills amljition and order into the minds of the pupils. Organization
is given to the scholar when he first becomes familiar with the estab-
lished rules of the games he plays. The scholar learns to respect the
laws of his city, state and nation by a realization of the necessity for
rules to govern himself and playmates at play. An ambition to excel
at play is wholesome, natural life. When given the right cultivation it
soon branches out and becomes an ambition to excel in everything. ' '

Points from Superintendent ]\IcDaniel

C. ]\I. ]McDaniel, the present superintendent of schools, has prepared
the following succinct statement, bringing the history of public educa-
tion in Hammond up to the present day: "The Hammond High School
was organized in the year 1884 with but few pupils to do the work of
the Freshman year. In June, 1887, three young ladies constituted the
first graduating class. In ]\Iarch, 1894, the High School occupied the
present quarters.

"Today there are twenty teachers in the High School, with four
hundred pupils. It is the belief of the school authorities that with the
completion of the $300,000 Industrial High School Building more than
five hundred pupils will be enrolled. AVhen a new building is erected
on the North side, the present Lincoln Building will be used for a trade

"During the school year 1905-1906, sixty-nine teachers were era-
ployed ; in the school year 1913-1914. one hundred and thirty-one. The



total enrollment for 1913-1914 was 5,110. The per capita cost of grade
pupils was .$16.69 ; High School pupils. $53.80. The total amount paid
all teachers was $115,945.38.

"There are nine school huildings which, wil
are valued at $850,000.

"Art was introduced in 19(15-1906. Jiencl
and domestic art wci'c added in ]f)l]-19]2.
grade through High School have the advantage of domestic science and
domestic art ; the bovs, of bench work and mechanical drawing.

ith ground and eciuipment,

I work, domestic science
All girls from the fifth

Courtesy of Frank P. Heigliway, County Superintendent of Schools.

Wallace School

"The night school was started in October, 1912, and nine hundred and
forty-two students were enrolled during th(^ year. Practically all of the
work is along vocational lines.

"Children have had thorough medical examination since 1911. Phys-
ical education has been in charge of a special instructor since 1910.

"During the year 1913-1914 the children whose parents could not
afford dental work were given it gratis. A room was equipped in the
Jefferson School through donation of Hammond citizens and the Ham-
mond dentists operated it ^vdthout compensation. AYith the addition of
a nurse, the physical welfare of the children will be well cared for.

"Many pupils in the High School cannot remain for four years. A
two-year commercial course has been added for their benefit.

"AVith the erection of the Industrial High School and the equipment
of a trade school, Hammond Avill be able to direct the pupils more def-
initely for the life work for which they are especially inclined."


Friend of the Backward Pupil

Superintendent McDaniel is abreast with the progressive educators,
who hold that more attention should be given to backward than to nat-
urally bright pupils. On this point he says :

I believe that many pupils have been required to repeat their grade
because of an artificial standard of grading. Any figure that may be
determined upon is both arbitrary and artificial. No standard grade can
be a just expression of a pupil's mental development. A slow pupil
might fail with a fixed standard and yet develop more mentally than
a naturally bright pupil and be as w^ell fitted for promotion as many
pupils who reach the passing grade. I do not want to convey the impres-
sion that all pupils should be regularly promoted, but every teacher,
every principal and every school superintendent feels the number of
failures is excessive.

At the close of each six weeks a list of the pupils whose work is
"unsatisfactory" is made by each teacher, a copy of which is given to
the principal and another copy to the superintendent. Each list is
carefully compared with the preceding lists and progress noted. As an
aid for the "unsatisfactory" pupils a system of coaching has been
established. In the first four grades definite places upon the program
are given for the coaching of backward or the unusually brilliant chil-
dren. In the four upper grades the time of any regular subject in which
the work is satisfactory may be used for giving special time to sub-
jects in which the work is not satisfactory or for coaching individual
pupils. The principals aid the regular teachers in this work.

It is admitted that "coaching" is not as satisfactory as separate
rooms, but the want of schoolroom accommodations prevents this as a
feature of the school system. However, one room will be used for back-
ward pupils in one of the buildings with the completion of an addition
to the building.

Examinations have been another disturbing factor to both pupils and
teachers and are an unnecessary burden for each. In the grades all
examinations, as generally practiced, have been abolished. As we use
examinations, I prefer the word "test." The object of the "test" is
to indicate to the teachers the lines of work which need emphasis. The
"test" is an aid in determining mistakes in the presentation of a subject,
and also an aid in the study of the development of each pupil. These
"tests" have no more bearing upon the passing of a pupil to another
grade or his detention in the same grade than any one recitation in the
same subject during the week.


Some pupils who are naturally slow iu development need a longer
time than is usually required to finish the work.

The purpose of eight weeks ' summer school is threefold : To enable
the students who are slow iu their development to complete the reg-
ular work and receive promotion; to enable the students who have
extra ability to do the required work in less than the usual time ; and
to give outlet to the energy of the boys and girls who do not have
positions during the summer. The work covers all academic subjects,
but emphasizes especially the industrial and the playground phases. The
summer school has been in existence three years, although previous to
the last vacation the term was only six weeks. It has accomplished the
aim indicated and is a fixed part of the school system.

Hammond's Chamber op Commerce
By Carroll B. Woods

Our present social fabric is founded, generally speaking, on the
principle of cooperative effort. Harmonious, concerted action is always
constructive in its results, whereas, dissension and strife, or even the
policy of indifference for that matter, has a destructive tendency.

Tlie business element of a city may be classified into two pronounced
divisions. One type is the man who is a real citizen and the other
simply lives there. The first is, to a large extent, a parasite on the
community, for it becomes his purpose to profit to the greatest possible
extent as an individual and to give in return as little as the law^ will

The real citizen may be defined a.s the man whose line of vision is
not limited to his own sphere of activity, whose efforts are not confined
to his own welfare, but one who is broad enough to interest himself in
promoting the general good of the community.

Such are the men who unselfishly and assiduously' promote the
chambers of commerce in almost every city in the United States today.
These are the men who make the Hammond Chamber of Commerce pos-
sible and are accomplishing much good for the city without desiring
direct compensation for themselves.

It was nearly twenty-five years ago that a business men "s association
was founded in Hammond for the purpose, I am told, of moving the
county seat to Hammond. Since that time some sort of a business
organization has been almost continually iu existence, with a checkered
career of success and failures.

In April, 1912, the present Chamber of Commerce was founded.


It was the most pretentious organization ever created in Hammond.
Four hundred citizens joined in the wave of civic spirit which swept
over the city and enrolled their name on the membership lists. Mag-
nificent quarters were established on the third floor of the Citizens
National Bank Building and these are the quarters in use today.

The theory upon which the chamber was founded Avas that it could
provide a proper medium for the discussion of public questions, create
and sustain a sentiment of pride and loyalty in Hammond, build up
the city by locating industries and attracting capital, stimulate busi-
ness, and make our city a more healthy, wholesome, congenial place in
which to live.

It was generally recognized that Hammond possessed wonderful co]n-
mercial advantages. It is in the distributing center of the United
States and the locality in which raw materials can be assemliled at the
lowest possible cost. With eighteen trunk lines, three belt roads and
a Lake ^lichigan waterway ready to be developed commercially, its
shipping, facilities are everything that could be desired. Add to this
the cheap acreage available, low taxes, plentiful labor market, and cheap
power, and you have the answer to the question of why Hammond
has recently shown such remarkable commercial progress and why its
citizens profoundly believe it is destined to become one of our great
American municipalities. It i.s one of the purposes of the Chamber
of Commerce to bring these potential advantages to the attention of
the outside world, and not sit 1)y in apathetic contentment until they
are discovered.

Organized efl:ort. as represented in the old commercial clubs, was
chiefly responsible for locating several of the industries which are now
the backbone of the city. Tiie present Chamber of Commerce under
the leadership of Judge Reiter was active and effective in dealing with
many important business emergencies, more particularly that of the
Indiana Harbor waterways project in regard to which a number of
our citizens were sent to AYashington to press the claim of this region.
Their efforts to adjust the long di.stance telephone rate matter were
eminently succesfiful. Among the numerous iother accomplishments
which, in the aggregate, were of material good to the city, there was
one movement which will redound to the credit of this organization
forever. That was the raising of $2,000 in this city for the relief of
the flood sufferers of Southern Indiana — a most remarkable tribute to
the charitable spirit of our citizens.

What might be termed a change of policy in the Chamber of Com-
merce occurred in ]\[ay, 1914, when the board of directors decided to
employ a paid secretary. It purported to have the lm.siness of the


chamber conducted in the future in a business-like manner. It was
deemed necessary to have some one devote his entire time and atten-
tion to the organization which represented the interests of the city as
applied to public projects outside the jurisdiction of the city govern-
ment. That policy is still maintained, and has been, I believe, pro-
ductive of good results.

Among the recent accomplishments of this organization was that

Online LibraryWilliam Frederick HowatA standard history of Lake County, Indiana, and the Calumet region (Volume 1) → online text (page 34 of 44)