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School History

Welborn Elementary School

Location:  5200 Leavenworth Road

Named for area of City: Welborn (named for J. B. Welborn)

Other Names:  Six Mile School (they were six miles west of Kansas City, KS); also Wyandotte Forest School.

Excerpt from “History and Growth of Wyandotte County Educational System,” a short, three-page document prepared in 1963.  A copy forwarded to the Board of Education by Mr. George D. Bell, County Superintendent of Schools, in June, 1969.

“Wyandotte County was organized in 1859 by the territorial government under the laws passed by the Territorial legislature.

The first slate of County Officers was elected in 1859.  Included was J. B. Welborn, elected as County Superintendent of Schools, but we had no public schools at that time.

District #18, Nearman, operated as a one-room school from 1873 to April 9, 1954 when it was annexed to Welborn District #10.”

1887 – G. M. Hopkins Surveys & Plats Map of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas:  Located on property owned by J. K. P. Barker property.

Bonner Springs Chieftain – Oct 22, 1931

“The first high school to serve Welborn was in Wilson Hall at the old Kansas City University, Thirty-third and Parallel Street, in Kansas City, Kansas.  It was supported in part by county school funds.  This arrangement was terminated by a change in conditions at the university and the school was moved to Welborn in 1925.”

It appears that Wilson High may not have been the first high school to serve the Welborn area (formerly called Six-Mile area because it was six miles west of the courthouse.)

Summary

Mr. Bill Gregg, local historian, tells us that “Six Mile School, sometimes known as the Wyandotte Forest School and now known as Welborn Elementary School, still stands in the same location where it began somewhere in the 1860’s.  The first building was designed by Mr. D. B. Peterson, a frame building with four rooms.”

(Officers, Wyandott Gazette, 17 July 1873 – Lyman Comstock, Thos. Crooks and Elphonzo Holly)

1914 – Building built, with second story added in 1922. Contains grade school, junior High and senior high.

1923 – Four-room frame building erected.

NOTE: Rose/Peterson, Architects – There are two structures that have been attributed to W. W. Rose and one structure to Rose and Peterson which have been examined in this survey. The buildings include Park Elementary School (demolished) and Clara Barton Elementary School (demolished). At the time of this writing, adequate documentation to corroborate these attributions has not been found.  Welborn Elementary School, although strongly resembling several Rose designs, was found to have been designed by the firm of White and Dean in 1923.

1924 – Additional to original building.

1925 – Wilson Hall at the old Kansas City University, 33rd and Parallel Street, in Kansas City, KS and served Welborn as a High School. It was supported in part by county funds. This arrangement was terminated by a change in conditions at the University and the school was moved to Welborn in 1925. The rapid growth of the Welborn District soon brought on over-crowded conditions and a move was started to enlarge the building.

1929 – A delegation of patrons of the Welborn School conferred with Olive I. Thompson, County Superintendent, in regard to enlargement of school facilities. Enrollment of over 500 in grades, junior high and high school.

Suggestion was made that the district might consolidate with another district of KCKs and the school board might be asked to annex Welborn. But Welborn citizens were interested in making their community a third class city, thus retaining its identify, rather than be taken into a larger city.

December.  Welborn School was originally the Six Mile School (six miles west of the conflux of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers). Original building designed by D. B. Peterson and had four classrooms.

1930 – District notified that KCKs school districts could no longer accept students from county districts, even if they paid the $90 required tuition, because of overcrowded conditions in city schools.

Bond election for funds to build new building carried 366 for to 324 against.

February. Bond election invalid because of insufficient and improper petition made in calling the election.

March. Petition signed by 514 taxpayers to create a new high school under the Barnes School Law. Districts proposed to consolidate into high district are:  Pleasant Hill, Hazel Grove, White Church, Pomeroy, Wolcott, Nearman and Welborn.

Community divided on high school consolidation program or bond program for Welborn district.

April. Welborn bond proposal defeated.

April. Proposed district boundaries for consolidated high school district: South, Reidy Road [now State Avenue]; North, the Missouri River; West, the limits of the Piper School District; east the school limits of Kansas City, Kansas.

June. Vote for new high school district carries. To be known as Rural high school District #2. Vote on three propositions: creation of rural district; providing $175,000 in bonds for a new building; and locating the new school at a point on the Leavenworth Road and the Leavenworth Inter-urban between Vance and Bethel. All propositions carry. Building anticipated to be completed by September, 1931.

1931 – August.  Old Welborn High School to be used as a grade school.

1948 – Addition to original building.

1953 – First building of primary building annex. Schools in KCKs in Years of Change 1962-1986, Dr. Oren L. Plucker, 1986

1956 – Addition to primary annex. Schools in KCKs in Years of Change 1962-1986, Dr. Oren L. Plucker, 1986

1967 – Part of USD 201 (formerly Rural District #2) attached to Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools (USD 500) in January, 1967.

1973 – Original three-room frame rural building closed and razed.  Schools in KCKs in Years of Change 1962-1986, Dr. Oren L. Plucker, 1986

2001 – Voters approved a proposed $120 million bond issue at the Municipal Election Tuesday (April 3, 2001) to air-condition schools, improve technology, and make other upgrades to schools and public libraries. Welborn was part of Phase I, which was completed in the summer of 2001.