School District #25 was established on March 19, 1878 by a petition signed by John Casey and eighteen other Clontarf residents. The first teacher was Kate Shinnick, daughter of William Shinnick, and classes were held in the Catholic Church until a schoolhouse was built in 1880.
By the 1914-15 school year the two-story frame school building was showing its age. Timothy P. Foley, the school board member who completed the District #25 Record of Application for Special State Aid on June 8, 1915, reported that the building was in “very poor” condition.
Enrollment for the 1914-15 school year was 74, with on average 55 students attending class each day. The school had one twelve-inch globe, and the library contained 304 volumes, forty of which were purchase from St. Paul Book and Stationery, Co. on January 13, 1915.
The students received instructed from two teachers. The principal teacher was Loretta Fogarty and the assistant was Mary McMahon. The principal was rated a “very poor teacher” by Mr. Foley while Miss McMahon did “excellent work”. I can imagine that Mary McMahon was a fine teacher. After all, she was my great-grandfather’s younger sister and my mother remembers her as having a great sense of humor. I suspect, however, that Timothy Foley’s report is not without bias; he was married to Mary’s sister Bridget.
The 1978 Clontarf anniversary booklet indicates this picture is from about 1915. The old schoolhouse is pictured behind the Clontarf students. The school was located on the site of the Anna Shinnick home on Armagh Street.
A brick building replaced the old schoolhouse in 1917 at a cost of $60.000. It served the Clontarf community until 1972 when the Clontarf school district merged with Benson.
I am sure many readers of this blog have memories of that schoolhouse. Please share them…