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Morrow, End of An Era - Part 1

In addition to the schools listed in the previous chapter as having been built by the 1958 bond issue, Fickett Junior High and Myers, White, Whitmore, Brichta and Roberts Elementary Schools were also constructed with these funds. The six schools were completed for the opening of school September 1, 1960.

Fickett Junior High School, 7240 E. Calle Arturo, originally had 32 classrooms and a general purpose room. William H. Carr was the architect, and W. F. Conelly Construction Co. was the contractor. Cost was $1,004,405.38.

Portable classrooms were placed on the grounds in 1963.

The school was named for Fred W. Fickett, who served on the Tucson District 1 School Board from 1935 until 1953, including three, one-year terms as President of the Board. He was a member of the three-man Board in 1951 which voted to desegregate the Elementary Schools under a new state law. The High School was never segregated.

A former Pima County Superior Court Judge, Fickett was awarded a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona in 1917 and his juris doctoral degree from the University in 1922. He was cited for bravery and skill of command as a captain of a machine gun company in France during World War I.

At the school's dedication February 2, 1961, Charles A. Carson, Associate Superintendent of the District, said that Fickett "was one who devoted much effort to improvement of Tucson Schools... and it is my hope that those who attend and teach here may receive inspiration from the example he set."

Thomas R. Hull was first principal of Fickett.

Brichta Elementary School, 1501 N. Silverbell, was built as a small school of six classrooms and administrative offices by J. A. Binns at a cost of $162,778.90. It was designed by Place and Place, Architects.

In 1963, four classrooms, a multi-purpose room and a library were added at a cost of $211,889.

The school was named for Augustus Brichta, the District's first school teacher whose history is recorded in an earlier chapter. Mrs. Marion Copeland was the first principal.

Myers Elementary School, 5000 E. Andrew, was first constructed with 16 classrooms and a general purpose room. Shipman, Codd & Mann were the contractors and Scholer & Fuller were the architects. The building cost $560,414.58.

A six classroom addition was built in 1966 at a cost of $171,580 and a library was built the same year at a cost of $78,068.

A number of portable classrooms have been used at the school.

The school was named for Joseph Creston Myers (popularly known as J. Cress Myers) who served five years on the Tucson District 1 School Board from 1923 to 1928.

Myers was born in Delphos, Ohio, November 11, 1873. He was educated in rural schools, attended a normal college for one year and then entered retail business in Lima, Ohio. In 1906 he married Ella Conrad and moved to Tucson.

In Tucson, he formed a partnership with David Bloom, opening what was then called a "Racket" (variety) store. In 1911, Myers and Bloom purchased the Armstrong Store at Congress and Stone and started a department store for men. They sold the store to the Levy Brothers, of Douglas, Arizona, in 1930.

Myers was interested in Tucson's school system, the development of the city and in baseball. He financed baseball teams and succeeded in arranging for baseball scouts to come to Tucson to see some of the players in action.

Myers was a member of the original committee that wrote the charter for the City of Tucson. He died July 14, 1939.

First principal at Myers was Marvin R. Paffenroth, the present principal.

Roberts Elementary School, 4355 E. Calle Aurora, was built by Murray J. Shiff Construction Co. and cost $411,537. It was designed by Friedman & Jobusch as an 18-classroom and multi-purpose room school. Portable classrooms were placed on the grounds in 1963.

The school was named in honor of Mrs. Clara Fish Roberts, mentioned earlier as the first woman School Board member in District 1. She was elected in 1917 and served three years, two of them as President of the Board.

Mrs. Roberts was born September 3, 1876, in Tucson, the second child of Maria Wakefield and Edward Nye Fish. She attended public schools in Tucson except for one year in Oakland and San Francisco, California. She returned to Tucson in 1891 to register as the first student at the new University of Arizona.

In 1896, she was the only student to graduate, and because school officials did not want to hold ceremonies for one student, they asked her to wait for graduation until the following year. She formally graduated with two other students in 1897 with a Bachelor of Science degree.

Mrs. Roberts began teaching in the Tucson Public Schools in 1897, first as a substitute and then as principal of the Congress Street School. In 1901 she began teaching at Flagstaff Teachers College but because of the illness of her mother returned to Tucson. She married a civil engineer, Fred C. Roberts, June 12, 1905, in Tucson.

During her term on the School Board, Safford, University Heights and the Dunbar Schools were built. During her Presidency, Tucson newspapers were critical, accusing the Board of wasting the taxpayer's money because teachers' salaries were raised.

Mrs. Roberts died October 26, 1965, at the age of 89 in Sherman, Texas, where she had resided since 1959 with a daughter, Mrs. Elmer W. Flaccus.

Dillard R. Schroeder was first principal at Roberts School.

White Elementary School, 2315 W. Canada, cost $190,060. It originally had six classrooms. Contractor was J. A. Binns and architect was Russell Hastings. Since the school opened, 11 classrooms and a multi-purpose room have been added at a cost of $295,647.

The school was named for John E. White a member of the District 1 School Board from 1917 until 1925. He was also the 25th mayor of Tucson for two terms from 1924 through 1928.

Born in 1875 in Illinois, White arrived in Tucson in 1912 after having been employed by the Union Pacific Railroad in Cheyenne, Wyoming, for nine years. In Tucson, he served 13 years as an auditor and assistant treasurer of the Arizona Eastern and Southern Pacific Railroad.

While mayor of the City of Tucson, White was credited with the responsibility of pushing through an $800,000 bond issue to develop Randolph Park, construct Hi Corbett Field, finance a water development program and a several new city parks. While he was on School Board, District taxpayers approved bond issue that built the present Tucson High School.

White died in 1928.

Mrs. Dorothy H. Finley was first principal of White School.

Whitmore Elementary School, 5330 Glenn Street, was constructed of 12 classrooms and a multi-purpose room by J. A. Binns; cost of $332,787. Starkweather & Cain the architects. Since then, seven classrooms and a library have been added at a cost of $128,192.

The school was named for Dr. William Vincent Whitmore who came to Tucson to practice medicine in the 1890's after receiving his degree from the University of Southern California was born in Maine.

He married in Tucson and raised a family. Dr. Whitmore served 12 years on the District 1 School Board beginning in 1908. He was a member of the State Board of Regents for six years and was an organizer of the original Arizona Medical Association.

He was active in many civic affairs in Tucson.

In 1963, mothers of five-year-old children who would enter Whitmore School the following year organized a private kindergarten on a site adjacent to the school. The kindergarten works closely with Whitmore School through the efforts of Mrs. Mary Meredith--first principal of Whitmore and present principal. The kindergarten, in a building financed by private funds, exists through tuition charged parents of its students.

According to a report in the Arizona Daily Star, November 27, 1964, "First grade teachers have reported to her (Mrs. Meredith) that groups coming from the kindergarten are a month to six weeks ahead of their classmates in reading readiness and adjustment to school."

With the peak District enrollment of 38,236 students in the 1959-60 school year, the School Board found in December, 1959, that Kellond, Corbett, Borton, Davidson, Myers, Richey, Rose and Wright Elementary Schools were on half-day sessions. Staggered sessions were being conducted in junior high schools and the high schools with a total of 3,097 junior high school students and 6,409 senior high school students on staggered shifts.

The Board saw the inevitable. The half-day and staggered sessions would multiply.

A study of school needs was conducted and published through the cooperation of the City-County Planning Department, and following the publication early in 1960, the School Board called for $5,936,000 High School District and $4,054,000 Elementary School District bond issues to be voted upon February 23, 1960.

Assistance was obtained from the two daily newspapers, radio and television stations, PTA groups, civic organizations, and the Chamber of Commerce.

The issues were to be presented as four questions: (1) $3,904,00 for elementary school construction and additions to existing buildings; (2) $150,000 for elementary school sites; (3) $5,148,000 for the proposed Palo Verde High School; (4) $788,000 for auditoriums at Rincon and Palo Verde High Schools.

The Tucson Daily Citizen, noting the overcrowded situation in the schools, supported the four issues. It warned, however, that the issue would approach the District's bonding limit and that some day regular double sessions or a 12-month school term might be necessary.

The Arizona Daily Star supported the first three questions, but editorialized against the two high school auditoriums. Said the Star on January 16, 1960: "The children are here and more are coming. They must be provided with schools. But the voters have a right to be selective and careful in marking their ballots for the necessary portions of the bond issue and rejecting seldom-used but costly auditoriums." On February 17, 1960, the Star advised its readers to vote "no" on the auditorium issue.

On February 22, 1960, the Citizen said, "The bonds should pass tomorrow unquestionably."

They did, easily, but the auditoriums passed with the smallest victory margin.

The vote was:

Proposition (1) for elementary school construction and additions
--4,839 "Yes," 1,891 "No."

Proposition (2) for elementary school sites
4,768"Yes," 1,949 "No."

Proposition (3) for Palo Verde High School
-- 4,664 "Yes," 2,085 "No."

Proposition (4) for auditoriums at Rincon and Palo Verde
--3,803 "Yes," 2,924 "No."

The bond money constructed Booth, Steele and Dietz Elementary Schools in 1961 and Palo Verde High School and Naylor Junior High School in 1962.

Booth Elementary School, 7130 E. Calle Arturo, was designed by Blanton and Cole and constructed by Defco Construction Co. for $335,152. Two classrooms were added to the original 12-classroom school in 1963 at a cost of $39,716.

The school was named for Jonathan Lovall Booth, a prominent Tucson educator, who died at 71 years of age December 22, 1958. He was born in Peru, Kansas, and had resided in Tucson since 1932, serving first as an elementary school teacher and later as supervisor for the District's Elementary Schools.

Upon his death, Superintendent Morrow characterized Booth as "a true homespun philosopher. He was extremely loyal to Tucson's school children and to education in general."

Booth began teaching in a Kansas country school shortly after the turn of the century. He later moved to Colorado, then to New Mexico and from there went to Oklahoma. In 1913, he moved to Winkelman, Arizona, and worked in the Hayden copper mill. He moved to Mayer in 1919 to become principal of the public school there.

He later received his A.B. degree from Arizona State at Flagstaff, studied at the University of California at Berkeley and was awarded his master's degree at the University of Arizona in 1932.

He taught science and history at Mansfeld Junior High and became principal of Carrillo School. He was appointed supervisor of the District's elementary schools in 1938 and held that position until his retirement in 1953.

Miss Alice M. Hackett was the first principal at Booth.

Dietz Elementary School, 7575 E. Palma, was designed by Edwin H. Nelson and constructed by Craven-Hague Construction Co. at a cost of $292,849. Originally, it had 12 classrooms and a multi-purpose room. Since it opened for classes in September, 1961, 10 classrooms and a library have been added at a cost of $210,814.

The school was named in honor of Charles E. Dietz, who was born in Tucson in 1887. He attended the old Mansfeld School, Tucson High School and the University of Arizona. He began teaching woodworking classes in 1920 at Safford and also at the Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind. Dietz had been stricken with polio when he was three months old and used crutches and a wheelchair the rest of his life.

He found it difficult to get around the shops as an instructor because of his physical handicap, but he was credited with being a successful shop teacher from his desk, the students bringing their work to him for assistance. Dietz retired in 1950 as a certified teacher in the District and was then hired as a classified employee in the District's maintenance shops.

"In 1953, Dietz was awarded the 'Man of the Year' title by the Tucson Ad Club; in 1955 he received a certificate of appreciation from the American Automobile Association; in 1956 he received an award of merit from the Lions Club; and in 1958 he was honored with the Sertoma Club's service to mankind award."

The foregoing quote was taken from the obituary of Dietz published in the Arizona Daily Star, June 19, 1959, the day following Dietz' death at age 72. The awards were based in part on the fact that Dietz was credited as being the founder of the school safety patrol in 1930 with 12 members. The patrol later grew to number more than 3,000 boys and girls.

It will be recalled that earlier in this volume it was reported that Miss Salome Townsend was credited with founding the safety patrol in 1930 when she was principal at Roskruge School. The dual "founding" of the patrol appears to be a historical phenomenon or at least a coincidence. Persons of that era who were interviewed were hazy on the subject but agreed that patrols were started at the two schools--Roskruge and Safford--that year. It is possible that Dietz and Miss Townsend cooperated in their efforts to start the patrols and it is true that Dietz was successful, as noted in the preceding chapter, in getting Lions International to underwrite the project until it became too financially cumbersome for the club to continue.

Roy T. Quinn was first principal of Dietz and retains that position today.

Steele Elementary School, 700 S. Sarnoff Drive, was built as a 20-classroom and multipurpose room structure. Friedman & Jobusch were the architects and J. A. Binns was awarded the contract at $459,165. In 1963, three classrooms were attached to the existing structure at a cost of $71,846.

Steele School was named after Harold Steele, Superintendent of District 1 from 1916 to 1918. Steele is credited with instituting in Tucson the practice of using specialized teachers in the high school, rather than to have a single teacher instruct in all subjects.

He organized the first Boy Scout troop in Arizona and was the state's first scout master. Steele graduated from Albion College, Albion, Michigan, in 1902 and received a master's degree later from the University of Wisconsin.

He died August 14, 1962, in South Haven, Michigan at the age of 82.

Steele, who was the guest of honor at Steele School's dedication six months before his death, willed the school $35,754. Income from the invested funds is used by the school for extracurricular projects.

Russell F. Gearin was principal of Steele School.

Naylor Junior High School, 1701 S. Columbus Boulevard, was constructed at a cost of $780,754 by Defco Construction Co. It had 22 classrooms, designed by Starkweather and Cain.

In 1963,10 classrooms were added at a cost of $138,729.

It was named for Miss Mary G. Naylor, who retired in 1950 after more than 20 years with District 1.

She attended a teacher's college in Minnesota and came to Arizona on the advice of the dean of women. She taught at Clarkdale, Arizona, for six years and then in Yuma for one year. Following that year she came to Tucson to teach at Sam Hughes School.

A few years later, she was transferred to Mansfeld Junior High School.

Along with membership in professional organizations, Miss Naylor also served as treasurer of the Southern Arizona Retired Teachers Association and the Arizona Retired Teachers Association.

In an interview with the Tucson Daily Citizen on May 12, 1961, Miss Naylor gave her philosophy of teaching. She said, "A good teacher must care a lot about people and must want to help others. One doesn't learn to be a good teacher through education courses alone. It must come from within."

First principal at Naylor was J. Russell Peters.

The final school built with 1960 bond issue funds was Palo Verde High School, 1302 S. Avenida Vega.

It was built in three stages. The first phase was completed April 20, 1962, and consisted of 68 classrooms, the administration offices and the library. J. A. Binns was the contractor on a contract for $2,094,692. The second stage provided the gymnasium, industrial education facilities, shop wing and the heating plant at a cost of $1,416,200. McKee Construction Co. was the contractor. The third phase built the auditorium, cafeteria, and music and fine arts classrooms. W. F. Conelly Construction Co. was the builder of the third phase at a cost of $1,197,481. Total construction cost was $4,708,373. Architect was Gordon M. Luepke.

Classroom modifications and administration and counseling offices were financed in 1966 with 10-cent levy funds at a total cost of $28,365.

Allan S. Hawthorne, present Assistant Superintendent for the District's Secondary Education, was first principal at Palo Verde.

School enrollment continued to climb. Peak enrollment in the District in 1960-61 was 40,086. This increased to 42,838--an advance of 2,752 students--in 1961-62. In 1962-63, the increase was 2,899 students for a total of 45,737. On May 17, 1961, Morrow told the School Board that the district needed another bond issue--probably no later than October, 1961. He noted that a year-around school schedule was under consideration but said the bond issue was necessary neverthless. He said that more than $8 million was needed. At the time of Morrow's statement, despite new schools and additions to be opened in the fall, more than 4,000 students were on double sessions. The Tucson Daily Citizen projected enrollments to 1965, saying that the District would have 12,000 more students enrolled by that time. The Citizen concluded that a 12-month school year might defer "some present building needs" and it warned that "the public may not be ready" for the bond issue.

The fall, 1961, bond issue did not come about. School bond issues were failing throughout the country and it seemed wise not to bring the subject to a vote in Tucson.

On May 22, 1962, however, the issue was presented to District 1 taxpayers.

There were to be four questions on the ballot, two for the elementary district and two for the high school district. In the elementary district, issue 1 would provide Magee Junior High School, two new elementary schools and site acquisitions at a cost of $3,782,000. Issue 2, at $578,000 would build a central kitchen and improvements at Education Center.

In the high school district, issue 1 of $5,910,000 would build Sahuaro High School, pay for site development and equip the school. Issue 2 would add to Catalina, Pueblo and Rincon High Schools at a cost of $1,238,000 and would provide $250,000 for site acquisition. The total of the bond issues would be $11,758,000.

Of the proposals, the Tucson Daily Citizen on May 17, 1962, said: "The present $11.7 million bond proposal by District No. 1 is soundly based upon the experience of the district and upon the forecasts (of school population) of the City-County Planning Department . . . The public recognizes school needs as a basic factor in community life and development. There is reason for pride in the way the people of this community have consistently provided good schools. Next Tuesday the same pride and purpose of the people should be reflected once again in an affirmative vote for the school bond issue."

The Arizona Daily Star also supported the issue but warned against "the present unduly extravagant operation of the schools." It cited recent salary increases given to beginning teachers and "planting and maintaining extensive lawns." But, said the newspaper, "The Star urges the support of this bond issue."

The Chamber of Commerce and civic groups also supported it.

But when the vote was counted, the public defeated three of the four proposals. The successful one was the $3,782,000 for elementary district construction. Voted down were Sahuaro High School, the central kitchen and additions to the three high schools.

The elementary school construction issue won by only 87 votes with 5,480 "Yes" and 5,393 "No" votes.

The central kitchen was defeated by 6,154 "No" votes to 4,633 "Yes" votes.

The Sahuaro High School issue was disapproved by a vote of 5,636 "No" votes to 5,210 "Yes" votes.

The high school additions were turned down by a vote of "No" 5,712 to "Yes" 5,082.

Reasons for the defeat were hard to pin down. Board member Norval W. Jasper said, "The results indicate confusion and apathy of the voter. I feel the high school situation will be so critical that the Board should re-submit the proposal in the immediate future--as soon as legally possible."

Morrow said the failure was due to "bad timing." He said that charges expressed against the Board by one citizens' group which opposed the issue were not true. The organization said that the Board and administration had been "extravagant, wasteful and unmindful of the public."

The Tucson Daily Citizen said that "there were strong negative influences such as the already high property tax rate for school support and the high price tags on proposed school construction."

The elementary issue that passed built Magee Junior High School and Marshall and Schumaker Elementary Schools. Additions were built at 11 other schools and portables were constructed.

Magee Junior High, 8300 E. Speedway, was the first built, opening for classes in December, 1963. Its original construction was of 22 classrooms, a multi-purpose room, library offices, and special rooms for science, shops, home economics and mechanical drawing. Contractor was W. F. Conelly Construction Co. at a cost of $871,843. Russell Hastings was the architect.

The school was named for Joseph W. Magee, who at the time of his death on January l0, 1960, was assistant superintendent in charge of business affairs for the District. He died of a heart attack at the age of 54.

Born in Douglas, Magee came to Tucson in 1926 and graduated from the University of Arizona in 1930. He went with District 1, teaching mathematics and commercial subjects at Safford Junior High School and Tucson High School until 1940 when he became manager of the high school bookstore and coordinator of student activities at THS. He remained in that position until 1949 when he was appointed purchasing agent and controller for the school administration in 1949.

He was appointed business manager in 1952 and assistant superintendent in 1955.

Of Magee, Morrow said on his death: "He was one of the most valuable and loyal men ever to serve the Tucson School system and the state has looked to him for leadership in school financial matters."

Magee was an Army veteran of World War II, a member of the Presbyterian Church, and Epes Randolph Lodge No. 32 of the Masonic Order. Magee started the Tucson Teachers Federal Credit Union.

First principal for Magee Junior High was Gordon Overstreet, the present principal.

Schumaker Elementary School, 510 N. Maguire Avenue, originally had 17 classrooms and a multi-purpose room. Blanton & Cole were the architects and it was constructed by Craven-Hague Construction Co. at a cost of $472,722. A two-room addition was built in 1966 at a cost of $46,100.

The school was named for Miss Ivah Schumaker, a teacher at Davidson School for 25 years until her retirement in 1956. She grew up in Findlay, Ohio.

She taught in Columbus, Ohio, and New Mexico before coming to Arizona where she was employed to teach at Hayden.

In the fall of 1931, she came to District 1 to teach in the primary grades at Davidson. Science was a favorite subject with her. She helped students at the school start a small museum, encouraged them to plant vegetables in window boxes in the school room and taught them southwestern crafts and folklore.

Miss Schumaker is a life member of the University of Arizona Alumni Association and an inactive member of Pi Lambda Theta, an honorary educational sorority. She retired after 41 years of teaching.

First principal at Schumaker was W. Bruce Patrick.

Marshall Elementary School, 9066 E. 29th Street, was constructed of 12 classrooms and a multi-purpose room by Defco Construction Co. at a cost of $391,815. D. Burr Dubois was the architect. In 1966, two rooms were added at a cost of $28,486.

The school was named in honor of Miss Sara E. Marshall, who began teaching for District 1 in 1923 and retired in 1959. She was first assigned to teach non-English speaking children at Safford Elementary School and was a pioneer in this field. She later taught at Safford Junior High.

A graduate of the University of Arizona, Lucy Wells Hayes National Training School, Geneseo State College, New York, and Galeton, Pennsylvania, High School, Miss Marshall taught in Williamsville, New York, beginning in 1917. She also taught in Ellsworth, Pennsylvania and Roslyn Heights, Long Island, schools before coming to Tucson. Principal at Marshall was Ronald K. Paisola.

The School Board, in 1963, began discussing plans to build a center for trainable mentally retarded children on the Duffy Elementary School grounds, 5145 E. 5th Street. The 15 acre Duffy site was selected because it was five acres larger than the usual elementary site. Two camps of parents, doctors and other interested citizens were immediately formed--those who opposed placing the retarded children in close proximity to Duffy School children and those who favored the plan.

An historic public hearing was set for June 18, 1963, and was attended by an overflow crowd at the Board room at Education Center. Parents and other speakers were heard and after extensive haranguing the Board decided to go ahead with its plans.

Now known as Gump School, the training center was located in 11 portable classrooms. It was constructed by Paddock General Contractors on 10-cent levy funds at a total cost of $122,819. Clarence Torsell, District 1 Architect, now retired, designed the portables. The 10-classrooms and one administration portable are shielded from sight of the Duffy School by plantings. The Gump School uses an address of 750 N. Rosemont Avenue.

First Hundred Years, By James F. Cooper, Edited by John H. Fahr, Tucson, Arizona, 1967