School History

Caruthers Elementary School

Formerly Hawthorne Elementary School
Renamed Caruthers Elementary School in 2002 for Bertram R. Caruthers


1897 – December: Western Highlands Land Company offered 200 feet of land if school erected in northwest part of city. Children previously at London Heights and Long.

1898 – March 7: Land company offered to donate Lots 8-11, Block 10 (or 19), First Addition, Western Highlands, on north wide of Waverly between 11th and 12th.

April 4: Board accepted offer from L. E. James.

May 16: School called Hawthorne in honor of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Contract awarded to F. W. Soper for four-room brick. Heat and ventilation contract to Lewis and Kitchen. Foundation laid in early spring. Architect was W. W. Rose and address was listed as 1118 Waverly.

October 13: First occupied. First faculty was J. M. Windlow, principal; Jean Allison, Helen Buchan, and Nettie Harris.

1900 – April 17: L. E. James and Company offered fifty feet adjoining school and fifty feet across the street for addition.

May: J. W. Ferguson, contractor, for four-room addition on west. Architect was W. W. Rose.

1895-1909 – W. W. Rose, Architect – The remaining schools designed by Rose alone are, for the most part, unrestrained interpretations of Classical styles. This group of structures includes Lowell Elementary (1897-98) and Irving Elementary (1900), two schools of comparable design which incorporate towers into the overall theme; Eugene Field (1900), similar to Lowell and Irving but with minimum articulation; Whittier Elementary (1908), Dunbar Elementary (1908), Hawthorne Elementary (1908-09), and Horace Mann Elementary (1909) which employ Classical detailing to otherwise moderately articulated facades; and Cooper Elementary (1904), which remains the most modest design from this period of Rose’s Career.

1902 – October 6: Principal and teachers thanked Board for repairs made on school.

1907 – June: Sanitary facilities installed. Basement used for classrooms.

1908 – Four-room addition on east. Contract to F. A. Thompson

1895-1909 – W. W. Rose, Architect – Rose also worked on six separate school projects which resulted in additions to the following Hackney-designed elementary schools: Morse, John J. Ingalls, London Heights (Abbot, and Reynolds ( Prescott ). The strong resemblance of Ingalls to Lowell, Irving, and Eugene Field suggests that in this instance, the addition was more in the nature of a complete reconstruction or replacement. The first and sixth projects involved Hawthorne Elementary, a school Rose more than likely originally designed. These two plans added a total of eight rooms to this grade school.

1909 – January 18: Site for annex purchased. Primary building erected.

1912 – First PTA, Mrs. Bess Kimball, first president.

Fire in northwest room. Contents burned and fell through to room below on first floor.

1923 – Seventh and eighth grades to Northwest Junior.

1930 – Cadet Center for Teachers College. Hazel Holmes, director.

1939 – Longfellow closed. Pupils to Hawthorne.

1940s – Mr. William Bye lived at 836 Quindaro and attended Hawthorne in 1946.  He was kind enough to share some memories about the school with us.

  • There was no cafeteria at Hawthorne at that time.  Students had to either bring their lunch or go home.
  • No school busing existed.  Most students walked to school.
  • The main building was heated by steam heat and the heat was piped down to the smaller building (Primary Building) causing frosted windows in the winter.
  • There were desks, but no ink wells.  Blackboard were gray in color; and the floors were refinished before the start of each school year.
  • The custodian was a good friend of the students.  A person who helped take care of them.  The boys would help the custodian “vacumn” the erasers for the classrooms.
  • In May, May Day was celebrated.  Some wore costumes with flower bands in the girls hair and baskets being made.  There were games, songs, and the traditional May Pole (decorated with flowers and ribbons) with the children dancing and singing around it.
  • On Wednesdays, the students took a dime to school to buy a stamp.  The stamps were put into books and when the books were filled, the student took the book to the bank (a lot of times Quindaro Bank) and exchanged the book for a bond purchased at $18.75.  Mr. Bye said when he cashed his bonds in, they were worth three times what he paid for them.

1962 – January: New primary building planned as first step in expansion. Horner and Horner, architects. First unit of new building: 3 classrooms, 2 kindergarten rooms. To begin replacement of obsolete structures at Hawthorne.

1964 – Second unit of new building, 12 classrooms.

1977 – Final unit of new building including library, multi-purpose room, offices, special services and classrooms to replace old Hawthorne. All old structure, including main building and primary unit, razed. Schools in KCKs in Years of Change 1962-1986, Dr. Oren L. Plucker, 1987

2002 – School renamed “Caruthers”

2004 – Received a “Great IDEAS” grant (funded/sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Fund) for the 2004-05 school year, which encourages teachers in SLC’s (Small Learning Communities) to work together to develop innovative programs and projects to improve student learning.  Received $2,621.


1898 – J. M. Winslow / 1899 – Edward F. Taylor / 1900-06 – C. N. Walker / 1807-13 – Clara White / 1914-47 – Alice Adams / 1948-55 – Elizabeth Sparks / 1956-58 – Alice Barnett / 1959-60 – Charles Ireland / 1960-66 – Bertram R. Caruthers / 1966-72 – Lenis Boswell / 1972-81 – Wendell Edwards / 1981-83 – Tom Picklar / 1983-86 – Deloris Edwards / 1986-87 – Deloris Edwards Pinkard / 1987-95 – James White / 1995-2000 – Mark Harrison / 2000-2005 – Jayson Strickland / 2005 – Stacia Brown / 2012 – Dionandre Josenberger / 2014 – Molly Struzzo

History of Hawthorne by a 6th grade class, 1933

In the spring of 1898, a foundation was laid for a four-room building, which is now Hawthorne School, named in honor of Nathaniel Hawthorne, a famous writer.

The lots on which the school was erected were given to the Board of Education by Mr. L. E. James, Tenth and Haskell Avenue.  The children did not attend school in the new building until October.  The “first day” was Friday, October 13.

When the school was finished, it had no drinking fountains, no excellent slate blackboards like the modern schools, nor large playgrounds.  The drinking fountains were made up of two long benches filled with pails in which there were long-handled drinking cups.  Before recess, the janitor would refill the pails with fresh water drawn from a hydrant in the yard.

Mr. James gave the school a globe and a hundred dumbbells and Indian clubs.

In the early days of Hawthorne School, the surrounding vicinity was used mainly for pasture land.

Although Tenth and Waverly were streets, Haskell, Eleventh and others were not.  Twelfth Street was a footpath that led to Quindaro Boulevard.  There were a few houses on Tenth Street, one on Haskell, and one on Eleventh.

Heathwood Park (10th & Parallel) was a cornfield with a wood fence around it.  Parkwood residential district was farm and pasture land.  There was one large house there.  Not far from it was a well surrounded by a large apple orchard.

Thirteenth Street was paved with round cedar blocks.

The school sidewalks were wooden ones.

Not only was there a pond where the primary building now stands, but there was one at the northwest corner of Cleveland Avenue and Eleventh Street.

Later the pond at Eleventh and Waverly, where ice skating was so popular, was drained and used as a ball diamond.

Mr. Brewer’s store was located where it now stands.

The school playground was unusually small and there was no playground equipment.  The swings that are used today were the first ones purchased.  Mr. Walker, a principal, was worried because there was no playground except that small part in the front.  By much trouble and hard work, he with the help of the teachers, finally succeeded in getting the Board of Education to buy the vacant lots north and east of the school and make a playground out of them.  At that time, there was no PTA to boost for the good cause so all the credit goes to Mr. Walker, the teachers, and Mr. Jackson, then the supervising principal.  The stone walls around the playground today have not always been there.  The ground was graded, and the two levels made.  Of course, the undertaking was extremely expensive, but we have ideal playgrounds as a result; a vast improvement over the original slanting one.

Among the teachers who were there at that time were:  Miss Bobbit, Miss St. John, Miss Drisco, Miss Smith, Miss Downs, Miss McCoy, Miss Morrow, Miss More and Miss Mitchell.

The first flag pole used at Hawthorne was made from a cedar tree which the children brought in from the woods.  Later, the iron pole which is now in use, was given to the school by the Western Highlands Church.

At one time the children published a paper named”Hawthorne Herald”.

Until 1923, there were also seventh and eighth grades.  With the completion of the Northwest Junior High, the pupils of these grades were enrolled at the new school.

Formerly, manual training was taught in the room now occupied by the kindergarten.  Mr. Perreault, Billy’s father, was the teacher.  He was succeeded by Mr. McManis, whose successor was Mr. Shelley.

The girls “took” sewing while the boys were using the hammers and saws.  Miss Mitchell was the sewing supervisor.

When the pupils had successfully passed the eight grades, they were graduated at Western Highlands Church.  The next year they went to high school where they were called freshmen.  Graduation was a very solemn affair.  The girls were asked to wear white middies and dark blue skirts.

The children who attended Hawthorne in its early days used slates and slate pencils; they did not have crayons, but instead used paints.  Both boys and girls learned to knit.

Instead of the electric bell of this modern day, a large hand bell was used to call the children to their studies.  The bell was rung twice at nine o’clock.  The first ringing meant for everyone to stand still and to be quiet; the second, for everyone to walk slowly and quietly to his line, and to march into the building to the music of the piano.

In a few of the old rooms, one, today, finds the old-time windows, the tops of which are round.

One night in 1912, a fire started in the northwest room upstairs.  The entire contents of the room burnt and fell into the room below when the floor gave way.

Children often took their lunches to school.  These were eaten in a special room to which a teacher had been assigned charge for a certain length of time.

The west wing was added first.  In 1908, the east wing was added.  The primary building was erected in 1909.  A year before the east wing was built, it was necessary to use the northwest room in the basement as a classroom.

It is true that for many years the grades were divided into two classes, “a” and “b”.  The pupils in the “a” class were “passed” or transferred to the next grade in the middle of the year; the children of the “b” class entered the “a” class of the same grade.  In this way, if one failed, he would lose only one-half of a year.

One of the first schools songs was:

“Happy, hearty, honest work,
With a willing spirit shown!
It’s the best school in the town —
Hawthorne!  Hawthorne!

The school ranks third in population.  Its pupils are eager, sturdy, and energetic.  From the original four-room school, Hawthorne has grown into a seventeen room school.  Two rooms are not occupied this year, 1933.  In the upper grades, teachers teach special subjects.

Hawthorne today is very different from the Hawthorne of the past.  On the school playgrounds are baseball diamonds, basketball goals, swings, and jack stones, as well as supervised play.

The teaching methods have improved and all together school is made so interesting that children are eager to go.

Hawthorne has a good reputation, and it is hoped that it will keep it forever.

Kansan Newspaper, 12 Sept 1918