The 1949 Webb City High School Drum Corps.

Ancestors, Legends & Time

The Cardinal Notes

Jeanne Newby


Jeanne’s latest book, “The Zinc City, Webb City, Missouri,” has been printed. The 425-page hard-cover book is based on her 31 years of columns in the Webb City Sentinel. It is available for purchase at the Webb City Tourist Information Center.


It is fun to read old newspapers, high school annuals, magazines, and history books. It is fun to try to imagine what our city looked like during those days. 

About ten years ago, Sharon Conner shared the first volume, first edition of the Cardinal Notes, published in 1931. What a wonderful piece of history about the school. The publication stated that for a long time: “The citizens of Webb City have felt the need of some means by which the school life and the home life of the community could be drawn more closely together. The students of the fifth hour English class will publish a weekly paper in which they will try to print all of the news from the various schools of the city.” 

The cost of the publication was paid through the advertising by local businesses. They had more offers to advertise than they had room to print in the first copy! That is a dilemma most newspapers would love to have. The cost of an ad was 50 cents!

The Hub, at 1 South Main St., advertised Nelly Don Frocks for $1.95 and proclaimed, “These dresses never wear out!” 

The optometrist, Dr. Strain, advertised, “See Strain for Eye Strain.” 

Dancing in the Electric Ball Room at Main and Daugherty streets each Wednesday and Saturday night was advertised by Hubert Surface, manager. The Palmers Orchestra entertained. (I think the ballroom was on the southeast corner of Main and Daugherty.)

The students felt that the Cardinal Notes would not only promote an association between school and home, it would also secure a better understanding between parents and teachers. They were in hopes that this publication would build and maintain a much higher school spirit among the students. Sharon Conner also had a copy of the 3rd Issue dated October 1, 1931. The issues had belonged to Sharon’s mother. What a treasure.

Among the many activities listed in the Cardinal Notes was the Webb City High School Drum Corps, an all-girl organization that was very popular during the halftime at football games. The Drum Corps was organized in 1930. 

The Webb City High School Orchestra was in high demand at many events. The publication stated that if the orchestra continued with their success they would organize a band to accompany the ball teams at times.

The newspaper also kept track of alumni and announced their fraternities and the colleges being attended. They also announced the alumni marriages and new arrivals. This kept the city involved with the graduates even after they left town.

There as an announcement of a school event called Sunday School Homecoming Day, with a competition between the various schools of who would have the highest percentage of Sunday School attendance. 65.5 of the total school enrollment attended that Sunday but Franklin School was the winner with 71.8 percent attending. Then they narrowed it down to highest percentage in classrooms with the Freshman Home room 13 had 82.7 percent, Webster’s Room 2 had 82.1 percent attendance. This was a very interesting contest for the students.

The student council in 1931 seemed to have a great responsibility. The purpose of the Student Council was to promote the welfare of the school in every way. They had the power to make and enforce any rules necessary for the betterment of the school, its life and its interests, to recommend the appointment of necessary committees, and to investigate and report on matters especially referred to it by the faculty or administrative officers of the school, to assist the faculty in maintaining law and order. The powers of the Council were delegated by the principal. He had the right to veto over any measure passed by the council. Their council consisted of 10 seniors, 10 juniors, eight sophomores, and eight freshmen elected by the students of their reflected classes.

It is fun to go back in time to see how the schools were functioning. It is great to know that our schools were doing great in 1931 and are still doing great today.

Jeanne Newby

A lot of us appreciate the Bradbury Bishop Fountain, but Jeanne actually worked behind the counter making sodas while she was in high school. She knows everything about Webb City and is a member of the Webb City R-7 School Board.