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Brief History Of District 8, Pauline School*

District 8 Pauline School was formed on Jan. 20, 1872, with the organizational meeting called for Febr. 3. Originally all of Little Blue Township was placed in the district, but this was soon changed to include only the northwest quarter. The first schoolhouse was built by the side of a natural lake, formed by springs near the Blue River, in the southwest corner of Section Four, west of the village of Pauline. One of the first teachers was Laura Fouts, daughter of "California Joe" Fouts, one of the county's first homesteaders.

Local folklore has it that Miss Fouts had to pull the shades so that the pupils would not watch a neighbor, Mrs. Fairbanks, who liked to dance on the roof of her nearby dugout, to the distraction of the children.

In 1875-76 Miss Lila K. Loomis taught five children for 64 days, receiving $15.00 a month for her work. Some of the patrons "boarded her free" in order to maintain school for a small budget. Families in the district were the Mootes, Gates, Godings, Olmsteads and Foys. The school record indicates the school house was in good condition, but there were no privies(outhouses). An 1885 census report indicates $238.78 being paid to male teachers.

An addition was built onto the first school around 1884, according to the school's 1942 yearbook.

"A new school has been erected at a cost of $1500."

-Nebraska State Gazetteer, Business Directory for 1890-91

At some point between the founding of the village in 1887 and the turn of the century, the first frame building was moved to Pauline. Records from 1900 indicate $210.00 paid out for moving the schoolhouse. By then there were 18 families in the district.
The present property for the school was purchased by one or more lots at a time from the following individuals: Lots 6 and 2, Block 12 from William and Lizzie Kerr for $30.00, Sept. 18, 1899; Lot 4, Block 12 from Thomas J. and Minnie R. Prosser for $25.00, Febr. 18, 1908; Lot 1, Block 12 from Edna M. McCleery for $25.00, April 10, 1910; Lot 5, Block 12 from Carl K. McCleery for $100.00, Febr. 8, 1912; and Lot 3, Block 12 from Edna Maria McDonald for $100.00, Febr. 8, 1912. Trustees listed on the land purchasing deeds were Daniel McCleery, Carrie A. McCleery, Jonas Goding, 1899; and R.O. Slater, A.H. Boswell, and M.R. Burroughs, 1910.

In 1907-08 there were 73 pupils enrolled with two teachers, Nellie Sherman and Eileen Kress. High school classes were started in 1913 with seven students in the ninth grade. Graduates are recorded for 1915-17 and 1919. High school during that time encompassed only the ninth and tenth grades.

In 1923, however, a four-room, two-story brick schoolhouse with full basement was built with the idea of once again accommodating The newly built schoolhouse, about 1924.  Courtesy of the late Edna Reiber.The newly built schoolhouse, about 1924. Courtesy of the late Edna Reiber.12 grades. There was a wide stairway in the center of the building and a round metal fire escape on the west side. The south room on the first floor was the primary room, with the north being the grammar room, or upper elementary. High school classes were held upstairs, with the first high school class consisting of three seniors, graduating in 1930. The school was a flurry of activity in during the 1920s, '30s and early '40s, with plays, PTA programs, banquets, high school sporting events and graduations.

Twelve grades of high school continued to be offered until 1945; after May, 1947 grades nine and 10 were discontinued. The school's first telephone was installed during the 1974-75 school year; indoor toilets were installed in the 1980s. District 8 Pauline School held its last classes in May of 1983. In the late 1980s, the district was dissolved and the Little Blue Township assumed ownership of the facility. It was used as a voter polling site for several years thereafter. The school building was badly damaged in 2004 when a tornado blew out the upper east front of the building. A brick-colored metal was put over the damaged portion of the building, and the township board continues to utilize the school as a meeting place.

*Brief history is taken in part from "Pauline and Community, 1887-1987, 'A Trail in Time' ".


The Long Road To SchoolCatherine Post, circa 1900.Catherine Post, circa 1900.

"I have, what may be, a school photo of my grandmother. Did they take individual school pictures back then? . . . The only thing I remember my grandmother saying was that she got so tired of walking up and down all those hills to and from school." – Donna Rice Knight, granddaughter of Catherine Post Thaden, an early District 8 scholar.

Cutting short the distance to school was how the main east-west road (Cherry Street) just south of the school came into existence. Catherine's elder brother, John H. Post, had at one time recounted to area resident Philip Smidt that in the early days of Pauline's existence, Cherry Street was not a platted road. Persons coming to town from the south and west had to travel another half-mile north to the corner of the section in order to get to Pauline. Once the school was moved into Pauline, however, children began to "cut across the prairie," west of the school in order to shorten the walk. Over time, a path was worn, and the property owners, the McCleery family, donated land with the road on it to the county. Fastforward 100 years to the early 21st century. When the Nebraska Public Power District wanted to run a line along this road, putting a pole on the schoolground, Smidt, a longtime board member of Little Blue Township, recalled the decades-earlier conversation he'd had with John H. Post, reminding NPPD of a law prohibiting placement of poles on a "given road." Thus, the grace of God, a long-ago conversation, the keen memory and watchfulness of a board member spared the schoolground of an ungainly power poles.


Pauline School In The News

"The baccalaureate sermon will be delivered at the Methodist church Sunday evening by Rev. M.O. McKenzie while commencement exercises will be held Thursday evening, May 22, with the address by Dr. C. French of Hastings College. The class, which consists of three members, is the first class to graduate from the full 12-grade school and is made up of Margaret Swigart, valedictorian, who completed the High school course in three years; Glenn Busboom, salutatorian, and Lena Krull the first graduate to attend the Pauline school through the entire 12 grades." –"Pauline Items" by Mrs. Harvey P. Jones, "Hastings Democrat," Thursday, May 15, 1930