Thursday, May 6, 2021


The News Back Then: Williams Elementary School

The old Williams Elementary School is spoken of fondly by everyone who attended there. Located where the elementary school is now it was a prime example of architecture, for its time.

Built in the 1930’s , it had the charm and grandeur that no new school can hold a candle to today. It is the most discussed topic of our baby boomer set when we reflect on our school days at Williams. It has also remained a heated topic when the discussion rolls around as to its demolition.

I had the unique opportunity to copy the minutes from the Williams School board beginning in 1930 to 1934, the years of the conception and building of my our alma mater. So without further ado…..I will share with you the planning and building and behind the scenes activities over the next several columns….enjoy!

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May 14, 1930

The board met in regular session to receive the bids for the construction of the new school building.

Present were J. L Mendenhall, chairman, H. H. Crutcher, W. F. Schaad, and M. J. Keegan. Absent was Augusta Abel.

There being so many people in attendance, that they could not be seated in the city office, the meeting was moved to the office of Judge Reckers.

At 8 o’clock the chairman declared the time had arrived for opening bids for the construction of the proposed Williams Union Grammar School building. The following sealed bids were submitted: Azevedo and Sarmento $75,481; Lindgren and Swimerton $82,765; Fred H. Betts $89,600; Wm. Keating $83,500; C. L Hopkinson $ 81,474; Mathews Construction $81,600; Campbell Construction $83,836; P. F. Bender $87,462; J. M. Evans and Son $86,877; J. F. Shepard $86,877; and H. H. Henning $82,180.

Moved by Keegan and seconded by Schaad, that certified checks be returned to all bidders except that of Azevedo and Sarmento. Motion carried and so ordered.

The board then adjourned to the City Clerk’s office where they went into executive session.

Mr. Starks (the architect in charge) stated that he believed that Azevedo and Sarmento were responsible contractors and were competent to complete the construction of the building.

Moved by Schadd, seconded by Keegan, that the contract for the construction of the new grammar school building according to the plans and specifications drawn up by Starks and Flanders, be awarded to Azevedo and Saramento, they being the low bidders, motion carried.

Moved by Schaad and Seconded by Keegan that the chairman and clerk be authorized to sign contract and approve the bond of the contractor. Motion carried.

The bill of Starks and Flanders for 60% of their fee for $2760.98 was presented to the board. Moved by Schaad and seconded the bill be paid.

May 21, 1930

The board met at the call of the chairman. Present -J. L. Mendenhall, Chairman, Augusta Abel and H. H. Crutcher.

Mr. Starks of Starks and Flanders, architects, appeared before the board and presented plans, specifications and contractor’s bonds for approval and certification. The same were certified to by the chairman and clerk and a copy of each ordered filed with the county Clerk and Recorder as required by law.

Mr. Azevedo, a member of the contracting firm who were awarded the contract for the erection of the Union Grammar School building was present and introduced to the members of the board.

May 26, 1930

Present were J. L Mendendhall, chairman, Fred Schaad, Augusta Abel, and H. H. Crutcher. Absent, M. J. Keegan

The matter of adding 15 ft. to the length of the play room of the school was discussed. Mr. Sarmento stated that the approximate cost of adding 15 ft., would be $1575.00. This cost considered too much, it was decided no addition would be made.

After some discussion it was decided to increase the salary of Mr. J. B. Pardue from $400.00 to $425.00 per year and the clerk was instructed to enter into a contract with Mr. Pardue accordingly.

It was a unanimous opinion of the board that an inspector should be employed to watch the construction of the new school building. The chairman and clerk were instructed to employ a competent man to start on the work when needed.

June 14, 1930

The board met at the call of the chairman at 8 o’clock P. M. Absent was Fred Schaad.

The matter of purchasing an additional four acres from Belle Williams Moore adjoining the new school sight was discussed. Moved by Abel, seconded by Keegan, that necessary papers transferring said four acres to the school district, the agreed price was $500.00 an a acre. Mrs. Moore is allowing $300.00 of the purchase price to go toward the filling in a hole east of the property.


Contributors note: Throughout out the building of the school the architecture firm of Starks and Flanders is mentioned. I would also like to add that firm also submitted the plans for the Masonic Hall in Williams in 1930.







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