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Page 136 text:
TWO BY TWO
Lora and Harold
June and Don
Rex and Mary
Kike and Davey
Jo and Red
Muckle and Max
Winter and Wands
Alice Mae and Freddie
Jennings and Michaels
Jim and Margaret
Page 135 text:
Pin me up—
" ’Sa ringer," say Snider and Haskins
Glover and Blanchard
But B. never lost her smile
Where the little Puddle Jumper goes
Page 137 text:
THE 1934 PERUVIAN
Sixty-Seven Years at Peru
The unskilled writer of history who is unable to temporize between the facts of history and the human aspects which give the facts meaning is forced to choose between them. One may easily learn the historical data concerning our school, stated as bare facts, but only by conscious, laborious effort can he learn the real significance of "Peru" as it may be read into these facts by the story of the efforts of those who have labored to make this school a worthwhile institution.
A history of our school as it should be would be the story of different personalities interwoven into one grand pattern. The facts may only be interpreted in such a way. Institutions, however great, are not of themselves something; institutions do not have ideals and aspirations, hopes and fears: these exist only in the minds of the people who compose them. To say that J. M. McKenzie was the first principal of the school is little; to know his ideas and ideals as a Christian gentleman is to understand the early life of the school.
It is impossible, or at least inaccurate, to assign the founding of our school to any particular person. Peru is the result of the labors of many, of the strivings of a group, not of an individual. But of course some figured more prominently than others, and the story hinges upon thorn.
Tho settlement of Peru began about 1855, tho year aftor the organization of Nebraska as a territory. It grew up as the result of the establishment of a boat landing, and was named "Peru" by some settlers from Peru. Illinois. It was one of the earliest towns in the territory, and it grew rather rapidly, soon becoming a thriving little center of trade. For it served in trade an increasing number of people, having access to the river transportation of tho days. It goes without saying that lifo in tho frontier town was crude, but some of the far-seeing and progressive spirits were looking toward the future, and as early as I860 a charter was granted by the territorial legislature for the establishment of a school of college grade in Peru.
Time passed, however, and for five years tho soed which was to bo tho college lay dormant. Then the seed began to sprout; through a series of incidents an interest in a school was renewed. Reverend Hiram Burch, pastor of the Methodist Church in Peru, came to Major William Daily and asked for a subscription to a fund for a new church building.
Previously, in 1862, Mr. J. M. McKenzie, of Upper Iowa University, had come to Nebraska with the ambition of establishing an institution of higher learning; he had. by great effort, begun an academy in Pawnee City and was enjoying some degree of success. Major Daily was the Indian agent for a tribe of Otoes west of Pawnee City, and he frequently visited the academy on his trips to and from the agoncy. He thus became interested in establishing such a school in Peru.
Therefore, when Reverend Burch solicited his aid for the church building, ho refused, saying that he would gladly contribute to a school fund instead—adding that the school could be used for church purposes. He was active in interesting others in the idea, and finally it gained a sufficient number of converts, including Reverend Burch, and a board of trustees was appointed to carry forward the work of raising funds and beginning tho construction. It was planned to establish the school and offor it to the Methodist conference as a seminary.
As a suitable location was needed, Dr. J. F. Neal. Reverend Burch, and Mrs. C. B. McKenzie donated sixty acres of land to the trustees; Major Daily also contributed indirectly. It was planned to erect a three-story building of brick and stone, and as a site the top of the hill where the Mount Vernon Dormitory now stands was chosen. The cornerstone for tho building was laid in tho spring of 1866, when eight thousand dollars had been secured by the trustees.
There was nothing inviting or hospitable about the site of the school then. The hills were covered with shrubbery, with only here and there an occasional tree, and over all wild life was abundant. The true beauty of the location was not appreciated until lator.
The work of the building proceeded slowly for various reasons. There was some difficulty encountered in collecting the subscriptions. Suitable materials for the erection of a large building were difficult to secure. When cold weather set in late in the fall, the difficulties were multiplied, but the work continued.
Meanwhile, because of the enthusiasm, the educational work had begun. Mr. J. M. McKenzie was elected principal and Mrs. C. B. McKenzie preceptress, and the first term began late in August, 1866.
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