Alba High School students, circa 1903, four years before the brick school house was built.
Webb City Area Genealogical Society
Before the brick building we think of when we think of Alba, there was a wood-frame building that became inadequate.
The first reports we found of an Alba school are from the 1872 Jasper County School Report by U. B. Webster, Jasper County Superintendent.
His report states: “Miss Emma Frise, teacher; wages $33 1-3; seventy pupils on register; average fifty-eight; house too small and out of repair.
“This is Miss Emma’s first term; and she has had a hard time, but she is one of the plucky ones that will “dare and do;” she has fought it out on “that line,” and her first school is a success; but it has required spirit, and muscle too. The Alba school is crowded; the house is too small, and there is too much work for one teacher to do. The patrons of the school should look to the interest of the children in this matter; a good set of pupils.
“By 1878, things were improving as S. A. Underwood reported: Henry Hubbard, James M. Haworth and Wm. John, directors; J. S. Rees, teacher.
“Term of five months began October 7th. District enumeration 70, enrollment over fifteen years of age 9, total 45, present 30. Building and furniture second-class. Seating capacity 30. The Alba school has been hard to govern and the pupils have been allowed to cut and otherwise injure the furniture.
“Under the management of Mr. Rees, who is now teaching his seventh term in the county, the department is rapidly improving and the recitations are becoming more thorough. The directors have placed in some new furniture, improved the interior of the school house and propose to do their part toward having a good school.”
The first wooden Alba school was constructed on a lot owned by Alice Smith northeast of the intersection of Main Street and D Highway. This building was enlarged to three rooms in the early 1880s. By 1893 the Alba School had two teachers, Mr. H. Church and Miss Eva Cirlett. The enrollment at that time was 106 pupils. No more teachers were added to the faculty in 1903.
A larger school building, the eight-room brick building that still stands, was constructed in 1907 near the corner of Orchard and Walnut Streets.
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.