Students at Webster School (above) and Central School, circa. 1898.
Webb City Area Genealogical Society
The Webb City Area Genealogical Society recently acquired some early photographs showing the students of Central and Webster schools.
We estimate that these were taken in the late 1890s.
We also have a letter written in 1965 to Juanita (Neta) Billings from a friend in Florida, signed Elva.
Elva asked Neta about the early days of the Webb City High School. Here is her response,
“You ask me about when the High School was held in the West Side school. I am copying from the History of the High School written by Winifred Pierson in the King Jack yearbook, January 1909.”
Winifred Pierson wrote,
“Twenty years ago the Webb City H. S., together with the seventh and eighth grades, occupied one room in an eight roomed frame building where the present Central building now stands. In 1890 the first Commencement exercises of the school were held. The graduates were six in number. In 1892 the West Side building was finished and the High School was moved to one room there.”
December 1st, 1894 the new Central building was completed and the high school was given three rooms there.
The first Webb City school house was built in 1877 as a four room building that was later expanded to eight rooms. It faced Webb Street, according to the 1885 Sanborn Map above. When it was replaced by Central High School, it was moved west on Joplin (Broadway) Street.
The 1900 Sanborn Fire Insurance map shows the 1894 Central School facing Webb Street.
The 1894 Central School building that replaced the school above.
This 1900 Sanborn map shows the original Webster School facing Allen (Main) Street, as does the current Webster school building. North Street would later be named Aylor Street. The map notes vacant mining land is just north of the school, where the kids play now.
Google Maps shows the current Webster building now makes use of the entire block and more with the playground to the north.
The WCAGS has accepted ownership of the complete collection of bound volumes of the Webb City Sentinel, from 1983 (after the fire) until the final issue on Dec. 30, 2020.
Those issues can also be viewed on microfilm, along with much older issues.
WCAGS members staff the Genealogy Room on the third floor of the Webb City Public Library. Current hours are noon to 4 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Meetings are held at 6 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month in the Geadalogy Room.
Everything you want to know about Jasper County Missouri Schools is available at a site compiled by Webb City Area Genealogical Society member Kathy Sidenstricker.