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Time is an ephemeral, mystic thing. To us the hour seems long, the days wear slowly away, imperceptibly lengthening into years, yet aeons are, after all, but tem-irarary and fleeting. Centuries flash quickly by, the dust of ages in the mighty hourglass of time.
That a land, evolved so slowly thru all the great silent spaces of eternity, should be so quickly and marvelously transformed from a primeval wilderness to one of the arteries of commerce in the brief space of fifty years, seems well nigh unbelievable. The span between the rugged frontiersman and the king of finance, it may seem, is a tar cry from the desolate seas of sage to the rippling fields of wheat, hut the consummation of these remarkable phenomena has constituted the kaleidoscopic history of our own young west.
A hundred years ago a few adventurous spirits braved the vastness of the unfathomed west, thru a land of conjecture and romance, and with unquestioning courage pushed forward into the bleak unknown, little dreaming the endless leagues of prairie were the cradle of a new era of progress; or the swirling Missouri, the Jordan of a promised land. With the reckless courage horn of lives of privation and a passionate love of freedom they planted their little huts beside the turbulent Muddy, and then, seeking new worlds to conquer, continued still farther westward. So the west was not destined to long continue a romantic nowhere, a land of song and story. The westering wave of civilization lapped at its edges, broke over it, and its seemingly limitless prairies were harnessed bv fences, its hillsides began to bloom with a new, more radiant glory.
It is not strange that early writers, such as Irving and Marbois consigned Nebraska to eternal desolation, for they, being neither geologists nor prophets, could not sec the marvelous possibilities of Nebraska’s soil, or foretell the coming kingdom of steam and rail. Within a few years the hand of man had wrought miracles, the rapidly increasing vegetation arrested the marching dunes of sand, and arrayed the arid leagues of desert in gay coats of green.
There followed years of varying fortunes for this newly found land, seasons of plenty intermingled with those of want, insects, fire, and the pitiless drouth alternating in their work of destruction and discouragement. Mow deeply we revere those daring ones whose courage bound them to their adopted country, whose fortitude of soul sent them forward in the face of hopeless odds.
After a long period of struggle and stormy council, in the year 1867, a large portion of land west of the Missouri was designated, its boundaries set, and made a sovereign member of the American union. In honor of the great river that divided it, it was christened, Nebraska, “Flat Water.”
Now Nebraska, with the great ports of the world tributary to her wealth, seems indeed the favored of the gods in that she possesses yet another realm of greatness with which we as students arc perhaps more vitally concerned. For, in her swift and steady march to distinction, she never lost sight of the coming generation, or ceased to
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working his way through and graduating in 1887. He began his teaching career in a rural school of Cass County. From this time he made rapid strides in the educational world, until he returned to his Alma .Mater, as its president in 1904. Under his administration the degree of Bachelor of Education was first given. The school work was divided into departments, as English, Mathematics and Science. The year’s work was also changed from the three term to the semester plan.
Prof. Crabtree will be remembered in Peru’s history as the man who made Peru popular and a power of influence throughout Nebraska. This was made possible by hard work and his personal popularity, and untiring enthusiasm, aided by an intimate knowledge of the public school conditions in Nebraska. This resulted in a remarkable growth of the institution, as shown by the enrollment, which for the regular year and the summer school of 1909, reached the grand total of 1,453, not including registration in the model school. One hundred sixty-four graduated from the advanced course of the Normal. More room was necessary to accommodate the students. A new library was erected and the old library building was remodeled and equipped for a Science Hall. A new heating plant was provided, and an appropriation was secured for the new administration building.
Mr. Crabtree was the third president from Peru to become State Superintendent. At present he is president of the Wisconsin State Normal, located at River Falls, Wis.
Pres. I). W. Hayes was elected in 1910. He is a graduate from Wesleyan University and received his Master’s degree from the University of Nebraska. He was Superintendent of the Schools, at Alliance, Nebraska, at the time of his election. He continued the policies of his predecessors in making Peru Normal a power of influence throughout the state. The standard of the school has been raised, the degree course has been established, and the following courses have been instituted, together with equipment for the same: manual training, public school music, art, physical training, and rural education. Among other things arc the "Budget System,” the "Hour System,” recognition by the North Central Association, and the Infirmary. At the close of the present year President Hayes will have signed more diplomas than all former presidents. During his administration the new steel frame greenhouse has been completed, the Library building has been enlarged, the athletic field has been improved by adding a drainage system, tennis courts, and a large cement stadium. The new T. J. Majors Training building has just been completed at a cost of $100,000. Under President Hayes’ direction and guidance Peru, the mother school of all Nebraska Normals, continues to hold her high place of influence and leadership.
The presidents of Peru have been from among the great men in the educational world, and Peru, today is what she is largely, because each of these worthy men has given to the institution the very best of his life.
Peru has had her fifty golden years and her sons and daughters may well be proud of her history and her achievements. M. H., ’17.
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provide for them. All honor to those far-sighted ones, who in that time of strife and clamor conceived and established institutions which have been the foundations of Nebraska’s marvelous empirical education. Most notable of these, was, of course, our state university; but Nebraskans, looking into the future saw our state university too heavily burdened, and set to work to devise a method of taking care of a special type cf education which has come to be paramount in the civilization of today. With the advent of a new generation would come a cry for teachers, and people would clamor for scientific and practical instruction in the art of | edagogy. Then it was that the novel system of normal schools came into being, and in 1867, as Nebraska came to her own, as a state, there was conceived and dedicated to the profession of teaching, an institution, little heralded it is true, but one of the greatest educational centers in the west, the Nebraska State Normal of Peru.
Far down in the southeastern corner of Nebraska, tucked away within the encircling arm of the protecting hills, a mere pocket in the bluffs along the river, lies the little town of Peru.
First impressions of Peru differ. To the person first seeing it from the dear antique old bus, it may seem a remnant of the days of John Alden, and it would not be a difficult feat of the imagination to transform the bewhiskered driver into a veritable twentieth century Rip Van Winkle.
To the pilgrim of the open road, seen thru the swimming, smoky light of Indian Summer, it may seem only a shimmering wave upon wave of glistening emerald, dotted by chimneys, and jewelled by a few glinting spires, an arboreal haven of rest, and a green allurement for birds.
In the winter of 1860, a charter was granted for the establishment of a school of college rank in Peru. The matter rested for a term of five years, when it was once more taken up; and in 1866 occurred the real inception of the school in Peru. C. B. McKenzie, a man of unusually commanding personality, a teacher with lofty ideals, was elected principal, and his wife elected preceptress of the then unimportant and little-noticed school. It was planned to turn it over to the Methodist Church conference for a female seminary.
In the early history of Peru, no man stands out with such distinction as C. B. McKenzie. Those were years that tested the mettle of character, and to the man whose wisdom, perseverance and unflinching courage gave us our Peru of today, we owe an incalculable debt.
In the spring of 1867, the present Peru State Normal consisted of one low, ramshackle frame building, crowning the sparsely vegetated crest of the high hill southwest of Peru. It was at the time a struggling Methodist academy, which the townspeople and surrounding countrymen were bending every effort toward keeping in existence. They gave willingly of what they had, their efforts were untiring and unceasing, but several hard years followed one another, and finally, seeing their cause hopeless, rather than see the fruits of their labor come to nothing, it was turned over to the state legislature, a group of men among whom was T. J. Majors, to be given to the State, with the express reservation that the state University be located there. 'Phis proposal
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