Peru State College - Peruvian Yearbook (Peru, NE)

 - Class of 1934

Page 138 of 168

 

Peru State College - Peruvian Yearbook (Peru, NE) online yearbook collection, 1934 Edition, Page 138 of 168
Page 138 of 168



Peru State College - Peruvian Yearbook (Peru, NE) online yearbook collection, 1934 Edition, Page 137
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Peru State College - Peruvian Yearbook (Peru, NE) online yearbook collection, 1934 Edition, Page 139
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Page 138 text:

Peak's Peaksters Foster, Bole, Cross, Novak, Nicholls, Peek, Ashton, Pace Garner, Kingsolver May Fete Attendants, 1933 Edna Maystrlck as the "Poor Little Rich Girl,' and Dorothy Wiebe, her mother Coons from W. A. A, Florodora Girls of Girls’ Club Party Margaret Winter and Claudia Luse—Dorm Girls' Christmas party In the Shadow of a kocjc' ueen School-girl tapsters of Girls' Club Valentine Party

Page 137 text:

THE 1934 PERUVIAN Sixty-Seven Years at Peru 1867-1934 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. 125



Page 139 text:

THE 1934 PERUVIAN Six+y-Seven Years at Peru 1867-1934 The men who have successively held the president's chair are: J. M. McKenzie. 1866-1871: H. H. Straight, 1871; A. D. Williams, 1871-1872: Gen. T. J. Morgan, 1872-1874; Rev. Azel Freeman, 1874-1875: S. R. Thompson, 1875-1877: Robert Curry, 1877-1883: G. L. Farnham, 1883-1893: A. W. Norton. 1893-1896: J. A. Beattie. 1896-1900: W. A. Clark. 1900-1904; J. W. Crabtree. 1904-1910: D. W. Hayes. 1910-1918: E. L. Rouse. 1918-1922: and A. L. Caviness, 1922-1923. Since August of 1923, W. R. Pate has held the office of president. Temporary arrangements have been made at times in the presidency. Each of these men has contributed his part toward making the school what it is. A desirable tendency may be noted in the trend toward a longer period in office for the president. This makes possible the carrying forward of a consistent educational policy. The growth of the school has not been a steady and uninterrupted one. There have been periods of "hard times" for the school as well as for society in general, but each period of hardship has been succeeded by a spurt upward—beyond any previous achievement of the school. The periods of hardship may easily be discerned in any survey of the school's publications, just as the history of a tree may be read in its annual rings. The story of the growth of the school may also be read in the increase in the amount of its equipment, from one poorly furnished building to the present group of modern and attractive buildings. The original structure was further conditioned by an appropriation of ten thousand dollars in 1869, but the need was soon felt for more classroom space. Accordingly, the money was appropriated, the work begun, and the new four-story building, which came to be known as "Old Normal Hall," was completed and dedicated in 1873. It occupied the space that the new science building now occupies. Later, in 1885, it was enlarged, a "wing" being added where the auditorium now stands. This was followed in 1887 by the erection of a frame library. This arrangement sufficed in most respects for a decade: then the original building was destroyed by fire, and was replaced the same year by the Mount Vernon Dormitory. About 1900 began the steady growth which has continued ever since. In 1901 the athletic field and greenhouse were added to the school's equipment. A critical point in the school's history came in 1903, when there was discussion as to whether the school should be maintained. The securing of an appropriation for a new chapel and gymnasium building was the deciding point. The new building was dedicated in 1905. Meanwhile work was also in progress on a new library building, which was completed in 1906. The old library was doubled in size, brick veneered, and equipped as a science building. Then the need was felt for a new administration building, and in 1909 the appropriation was secured. Two years later the present administration building was completed. In 1915 plans were made for the T. J. Majors building; this was completed in 1917. In the early part of the last decade the present auditorium was constructed on the site of tho south wing of "Old Normal Hall." The chapel and gymnasium building was remodeled so that it could be devoted largely to athletics. Two of the more recent and finest buildings were completed in 1929— the science building, on the site of "Old Normal Hall." and the girls' dormitory, named for Eliza Morgan, whose services as preceptress in the school's early history will long bo remembered. Some important matters in the growth of the school's scope of activities and status in the educational world should be observed. As early as 1873 the summor school sessions wero begun—to accommodate those who could not attend the regular term. There has been considerable shifting in the lengths of the school's terms at times, however. In 1915 the school was admitted to membership in tho North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, with the status of a teacher training institution, and in 1932 it was transferred from this status to that of a regular college. One of the major events in the history of the school took placo in 1922. At this time, by act of the stato legislature. Peru Normal School became the Peru Teachers College, with the right of issuing the A. B. degree in education—in addition to the one and two-year certificates. Traditions, mighty as the hills among which they were builded, are the heritage of all who go out from Peru. To uphold these is their privilege. To instill in your minds a solemn reverence for them is the purpose of this chronicle of a year's activities and its background. 127

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