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"FOR THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE COMMUNITY": Riverside's 14th Street School Debate.

LOCAL SCHOOLS, LOCAL POLITICS

The placement of schoolhouses provided a forum for animated and often colorful local debate during the late 19th century. The great political debates over national school systems and the racial politics of Reconstruction, while influencing state educational policies, elicited little interest at the local level in Southern California. Local racial animosities, however, permeated the debate. Local newspaper editors occasionally interspersed references culled from national educational debates within their columns, indicating that their readers were well aware of the issues and the rhetoric of national politics surrounding public schools. The increasing importance of the school building in the community, and the changing architecture of schools communicated both a new institutional structure and changing social beliefs about schools and schooling. These emerging social beliefs are illustrated in the debates in the communities of San Bernardino and Riverside, California, during the late 1880s.

In San Bernardino, California, the location of a proposed new school building convulsed the community for nearly six months. In the end, the new school, one of the largest in Southern California at the time, stood as a crowning ornament of the city. In the meantime, the San Bernardino City Council and the Board of School Trustees, both serving identical constituents, embroiled the city in a battle over whether the city or the school board owned one of the schoolhouses then serving as the Police Court and City Hall.

"MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING"--THE SAN BERNARDINO SCHOOLHOUSE FIGHT

As the national political debate over federal versus state control of education faded, the city of San Bernardino, in a decidedly local twist, engaged in a dispute over whether the city or the school trustees owned a lot upon which a school stood. The rhetoric of the debate in the local press, over a minor civic dispute, illustrates the emerging vision of schooling in the Gilded Age and the importance of the school as a civic institution. The battle over ownership of the school lot on Sixth Street erupted in April of 1887, between the City Council and the Board of School Trustees, although the roots of the conflict went back to the city's founding. The founders of San Bernardino allocated one lot in each ward for school purposes in 1855. Shortly afterward a brick school was constructed on one such lot. The school board vacated the building in 1885. A member of the city council obtained the keys from Chris Kurtz, a school trustee, after which time the school housed the city hall meetings on Tuesday evenings and the Police Court Recorder each morning.

The Mormons first settled San Bernardino in 1851, on land purchased from the Lugo Rancho. On April 13, 1854, the California State legislature passed an act incorporating the City of San Bernardino. The legislature repealed the original Incorporation Act on March 6, 1863, wiping the city, as a legal entity, out of existence. No provision was made to dispose of city property, which under the law escheated to the State. The town re-incorporated as a city in 1869. The Legislature restored all properties, which had escheated to the State in 1863, to the City of San Bernardino on March 14, 1872. This chain of events and the fact that the city had possession of the school house and used it daily to transact city business suggested to some members of the city council that the city, and not the school trustees, were in fact the legal owners of both the school lot and the building thereon (Statutes 1854, 1863, 1871-72). However, The Daily Courier told its readers, "this artificially created dispute... is simply much ado about nothing" (Courier 1887a).

On May 1, Superintendent H. C. Brooke presented the Board of Education's claim to the school lot, citing documents showing that the Board of School Trustees obtained the lot in question for school use in November 1855. The Daily Courier said, "That Mr. Brooke... proves the moral right of the school department to the lot few wide-viewed people will question" (Courier 1887b). On May 4, The Daily Courier presented City Attorney Rolfe's legal opinion "That the present city of San Bernardino is the absolute owner in fee simple of all the lots or tracts of land or premises owned by the former city, when it was dis-incorporated, with power to hold use and dispose of the same as the City Council may direct" (Courier 1887c). The Board of Education had the moral right to the lot and the City the legal title.

In July, The Daily Courier noted that Riverside had voted $50,000 for a new school building "which will even throw the San Bernardino school house into the shade." The paper also pointed out that "The standing of a school district, a village, a town, a city or a county is judged in this progressive age and growing country chiefly by the showing made in public improvements. The new city school building was the best investment ever made by the city of San Bernardino" (Courier 1887d). During this period, cities sought to erect impressive public buildings demonstrating the desirability of the community vis-a-vis their neighbors, and the school house was often one of the first major public buildings erected.

As the school lot controversy dragged on into September, eight teachers commenced classes, but the school taught by Miss Caro could not open, as the papers reported, "because a suitable building cannot be procured" (Courier 1887e). The following day an editorial appeared supporting the Board of Education position of refusing to lease the building from the city for fear that by doing so the board would concede to the city "a color of title to the premises" (Courier 1887j). On September 15, one editorial equated injuring the public schools to "Playing with moral dynamite, which is sure to explode to the confusion of the man who handles it" (Courier 1887k). Another editorial in the same issue pointed out that, "Riverside is building a $50,000 school house while the city trustees of San Bernardino propose to locate the lowest primary school in half-lighted basement... A beautiful way to boom San Bernardino, this" (Courier 1887i). Still another column claimed, "A month hence and one-third of the children of San Bernardino will be excluded from the public schools for want of room." Voters were told, "The Board of Trustees are... putting themselves on record as the obstructors, the opponents, the enemies of America's surest bulwark - the public schools.... But then blessed be technicality, beatified by red tape" (Courier 1887g).

With the schoolhouse still occupied by the City Police Court, Miss Hale's school with ninety students was operating on a half-time schedule with half attending in the morning and half in the afternoon (Courier 1887f). An editorial denounced the Board of Trustees for keeping "The little children of San Bernardino from the privilege of attending the public schools." And asked, "Are we living in America? Is this the nineteenth century?" (Courier 1887l). Finally on September 21, the Board of City Trustees agreed to return the premises on Fourth Street to the School Board until a new schoolhouse could be constructed (Courier 1887m).

This debate illustrates the general view of schools and schooling as portrayed in the popular press of the Gilded Age. Local editors expounded on two emerging ideas. First, the belief that the public school constituted America's surest bulwark, second, the idea that the standing of a community could be judged by the grandeur of its public school building. A point not lost on either Riverside or San Bernardino, as San Bernardino boasted of its large new school building, and Riverside prepared to construct an enormous Romanesque building that would put San Bernardino's new school "into the shade" (Courier 1887d).

"For The Best Interests of the Community" Riverside's 14th Street School Debate

The controversy over the location of the new school in Riverside centered on a single issue--whose property values would be enhanced due to proximity to the new school? While the real controversy revolved around property values, the local political debate soon mirrored the larger ongoing national political debate on race and education. The ways in which the antagonists invoked larger issues to deflect attention from the personal financial interests, involved the use of the courts to attempt to stifle the will of the majority and the portrayal of opponents of the new school site as public enemies, are all illustrated in the Riverside school debate.

In 1887, the Riverside schools contained nine grades, the ninth corresponding to the present first grade. The district possessed two schoolhouses, the one room Brockton School, a mixed school of the six lower grades, and the Sixth Street School, with four rooms, which could accommodate the four lowest primary grades. The lowest grade, ninth, at Sixth Street enrolled 103 children placed in a single room. In the late 19th century in Riverside grade numbering was the reverse of present practice. The largest number referred to the lowest grade.

This still left the five upper grades without accommodations. Up to this time, the city annually voted a special tax to rent additional rooms rather than bonding itself to build additional schoolhouses.

The Riverside School Board called for a bond election to be held on June 25, 1887, for funds to build a new grammar school and high school. School board member E. W. Holmes described the ideal location for such a school as one:
Large enough to permit of some ornamental grounds to supplement and
aid the architectural beauty of the building itself, with plenty of
space for separate playgrounds for both sexes, so arranged that they
are not thrown together except in the study or recitation rooms. The
lot should be separated from other property by streets upon all sides
so that nothing could ever hide it and nothing obscure a pleasant view
from its windows. (Holmes 1887a)


This description precisely describes the location on Fourteenth Street that would become known as the "new site" during the ensuing debate.

The bond measure for $50,000 passed with only eleven dissenting votes prompting the Los Angeles Times to comment, "There are three things that Riversiders are practically unanimous upon: First, Riverside; Second, temperance; Third, education" (Los Angeles Times 1887; Press1887b). L. M. Holt, editor of the Riverside Daily Press observed that there were some citizens who wanted the new school built alongside the Sixth Street School, "But as that is to be used also for the lower departments, it is much better to have the two separated and a location selected as near a center point for the future growth of the city as possible to accommodate the greatest number in the best manner" (Press 1887a).

A community meeting held on the evening of Tuesday, August 9, made clear that E. W. Holmes' proposed site on Fourteenth Street overlooking the arroyo faced strong opposition from a group of interested citizens hoping to persuade the board to locate the school near the old building on Sixth Street. The site advocated by Mr. Naftzger and his supporters, known as "the park" between Eighth and Tenth Streets, and that was a parcel in which Naftzger held a financial interest, became known during the debate as the "old site." Naftzger told the people at the meeting that the proposed new school site was too near the point where the city sewer line dumped into the arroyo and posed a hazard to the health of students in the proposed school. The meeting then urged the use of the park property. The following day, in an article in the Daily Press, City Engineer and Inspector of Sewers G. Olivio Newman pronounced himself "Utterly astonished at the ignorance of sanitary and topographical ideas in the speeches made by some of our citizens." He also believed, "With Naftzger, that he was willing to appear ignorant for the sake of pecuniary gains." Newman called the park property a "mud pond" and observed that it contained low lying ground converted into a shallow artificial lake surrounded by "cess-pools placed in the most unsanitary manner possible." Newman pointed out that the sewer outlet lay over a mile from the proposed school site and the "prevailing wind goes from the sewer outlet over the park which is nearly one-half mile to the north." Newman also noted, "The park property is the only place in the whole of Riverside where the topography of the country admitted the formation of a natural marsh." Newman concluded his assessment of the suitability of the park property with the comment, "I don't wonder that some of the city trustees are willing to get it off their hands and throw the expense of beautifying this grand cess-pool on the school fund" (Press 1887b).

School officials believing the park property inadequate for a school site of the extent planned, sought the advice of the acting city attorney. The city attorney's opinion of the park site "Was decidedly adverse" (Press 1887c). Other parcels available were deemed to be either too small or too expensive to purchase and still construct the school building. School officials viewing the arroyo hill site as the most suitable determined to hold another public meeting. School officials made much of the fact that the new school should be a civic landmark and readily visible to visitors to the community. Critics pointed out that were they to build the schoolhouse on any block or lot in the city "In five years it will be almost completely hid by trees and shrubbery" (Press 1887d). The visibility desired by school officials could be attained, according to some very vocal critics, only if the school were "Placed upon a high eminence... no matter if the weary little ones do have to climb a high hill and sicken and die in the attempt" (Press 1887d). Curiously the two proposed sites differed in elevation by a mere eight feet, although at the proposed new site, the land south of the property descended into the arroyo, or generally dry riverbed. The same writer also noted, "It is time to commence the fall term of school and there is not enough room available to accommodate the constantly increasing number of scholars... temporary quarters must be obtained or the children must remain home from school, wasting valuable time that should be devoted to study, while their parents are quarrelling over the site of the school building for them" (Press 1887d).

One question animating the community debate over the location of the new school in Riverside concerned the necessity and wisdom of separating the older pupils from those in the lower grades. A letter under the pen name "Old Site" argued, "It has been asserted all along by those who favor the new site that we must separate the large and small scholars. Now, a careful study of the 'School law of California,' fails to show by inference or otherwise, that the law ever contemplated that they should be separated." "Old Site" goes on to say, "Many reasons can be given why they should not be separated, but no valid one, so far, for why they should be." In fact, while the writer fails to actually offer any reasons why the pupils should not be separated, educators did offer reasons why they should (Press 1887g).

The schools opened for the fall term on September 26. That morning the Daily Press carried an editorial written by J. E. Cutter pointing out the advantages of the 14th Street site and noting that it would separate the "Large pupils from the primaries and the intermediates, a point which should always be secured if possible" (Cutter 1887). Cutter's comments reflected the latest thinking in school matters at the time. The traditional one room country school of thirty years earlier had mixed all ages in a single room. The graded schools of the previous two decades still housed all ages in a single building. The newly emerging idea, among educators, of the benefits of separating older students from the younger children animated the debate in Riverside. By the turn of the century, educators advised community leaders across the nation as follows:
The best experience of the educational profession... has demonstrated
the inadvisability of having the grammar and high schools taught in
the same building, and of having very young and nearly grown boys in
the same playgrounds.... As a rule the lower grades of the grammar
school are scattered in school buildings in different parts of the
cities and these are known as ward schools, the high school and the
higher grades of the grammar school are taught in one building
centrally located. (Minutes 1907)


The Daily Press described the second public meeting, held on Wednesday evening, September 28, as an "enthusiastic school meeting" involving "warm work... and an exciting time." An account of the meeting in the Daily Press gives some sense of the proceedings:
The meeting was called to order by E. W. Holmes; chairman of the
School Board and L. M. Holt was elected to preside over
deliberations.... three sites had been proposed to the committee and
the object of the meeting was to decide which one if any should be
selected on which to place the new school building. The three were the
five-acre tract between Thirteenth and Fourteenth Streets west of
Walnut Street [new site]... the present schoolhouse site with the
addition of half a block on the east [the park or old site]... and a
five-acre tract on the Pierce Addition across the railroad.... Mr. E.
Caldwell moved that the meeting select the old school tract, which was
seconded. J. G. North moved that the Fourteenth Street selection...
be the choice of the meeting, which motion was seconded.... M. S.
Bowman moved that the meeting proceed to vote by ballot for a site
from those proposed.... The friends of the Fourteenth Street site had
prepared printed ballots for their choice, and the casting of votes
was soon in active progress. The whole number of ballots cast was 187;
necessary to a choice, 94. The Fourteenth Street site had 94; the old
school-house site, 86; and the lot on the Pierce tract, 7; and the
choice of the Fourteenth Street site was decided to be the sense of
the meeting and they adjourned" (Press 1887e).


The article in the Daily Press concluded with presumed finality: "There was considerable hilarity expressed over the result by the victors, and the others took their defeat very philosophically. They had done their duty faithfully and will leave to time the problem whether the decision was a wise one" (Press 1887e).

In fact, the debate was far from over. Supporters of the old schoolhouse site objected to the manner in which the decisions of the previous public meeting were summarily rescinded arguing that the first meeting "Peremptorily forbade the trustees to consider the arroyo site" (Press 1887l). They also questioned the appearance of printed ballots and suggested that Holmes used school funds to prepare and print the ballots distributed at the second meeting (Press 18871). Holmes replied that he never knew a ballot had been printed until he saw them in the hall the evening of the meeting, and assured the public that "the books of the district are open at any time for the inspection of any citizen" (Press 1887n). Eventually supporters of the old schoolhouse site sought an injunction to halt construction on the new site.

One week after the second community meeting an editorial under the pen name of "Another Site" transformed the nature of the debate. Previous writers had focused on issues of property values, convenience of access, and esthetics. "Another Site" raised issues of the Fourteenth Street site's proximity to the small Chinese community directly across the arroyo and the tiny black neighborhood just to the north of the school site. During Reconstruction the issues of black education and segregation permeated school politics in the eastern states. The politics of race were quite different on the West Coast. In San Bernardino County schools, including Riverside, black students routinely attended public schools with their white peers, but the state school law in California barred Chinese children from attending public schools. Evidently, "Another Site" saw the black neighborhood as the greater issue when in one the most patently racist remarks of the entire debate the writer objected that "A visitor from town going to the new site will have to pass the most malodorous portion of town, and if we are to pay attention to the esthetic we ought to see that the finest edifice in the city is not sandwiched between china town and nigger alley" (Press 1887f). It is surprising that an editorial supposing to influence readers on issues related to public schools would use such volatile language unless the writer was unaware that black children in Riverside, not only attended the public school, but also attended integrated classes. Perhaps the writer known as "Another Site" was also unaware that many of Riverside's early settlers had in their earlier years been active in the abolitionist movement. Other Riverside residents failed to see any threat from their black neighbors, nor did the racial animosity exhibited by this writer toward blacks excite any repetition among other writers. The "Negro quarters" are mentioned only in one other editorial advocating against the proposed new site, and only in passing in that one (Shugart 1887b). Indeed, less than three months later, an article in the same paper suggested creating "An immigration society to bring good help from Georgia" to Riverside (Press 1887p). However, the debate over the proximity of the Chinese residents filled the pages of the Daily Press with racial invectives for over a month, and before it was over "Old Site" even raised questions about the morality of the respectable white women of Riverside whom he accused of visiting "dens" in Chinatown (Naftzger 1887b).

While Riverside was working up a high dudgeon over the small Chinese community, Warren Wilson, editor of the San Bernardino Weekly Times, explained the nature of anti-Chinese agitation in that nearby community:
Whatever other sections may suffer from the Chinese evil, San
Bernardino has not yet been brought face to face with it, and never
yet manifested any great love for the Mongolian or prejudice against
him, and don't work up to an enthusiastic pitch over it, even in an
election year. There is a lack of sincerity about this matter that is
very transparent. It is invariably sprung on us about election time,
and allowed to rest at all others. ... Of course... there has got to
be some great issue to howl about in the campaign seasons, and the
Chinese question is the best one at hand. (Weekly Times 1886)


Riverside was in the midst of a campaign over the school site, and "howl" they did.

Dr. W. B. Sawyer protested that the Fourteenth Street site was unhealthful due to "Its propinquity to the outlet of the sewer mains, the Chinese settlement, etc." (Press 1887k). The next day, echoing Dr. Sawyer, "Old Site" suggested that the trustees would spend public money "To improve their end of town even if it should be at the cost of the health and morals of our children" (Press 1887l). A full week passed before "Old Site" again appeared in print, this time to "Make a few general inquiries for the benefit of the general public." The inquiries seem to offer proof of Editor Wilson's point that the Chinese question was "a great issue to howl about in the campaign season." "Old Site" asked:

1. Are the general public aware that the Chinese have bought the present Chinatown, and that they have bought further property nearer the school site?

2. Is anyone ignorant of the fact that the presence of the Chinese in any particular district, or part of town, is utter ruin to property and property owners?

3. Do people generally know that young women supposed to be respectable, have been found in Chinese dens in Riverside?

4. Is it generally known that the Chinese in San Francisco have in course of time, absorbed churches and other public buildings, and that in consequence of the Chinese plague there the Catholics have been obliged to abandon their cathedral on Dupont street, and build another in another part of the city...?

5. Is it generally known that the Chinese are the same everywhere under the same circumstances, and that it is only lack of opportunity and numbers that renders them less harmful here than in some places?

6. Is it generally known that the Chinese are not capable of being Christianized or civilized according to our notions?

In view of the above would it be wise to put a $50,000 school building where it would be in constant danger of the spread of the Chinese evil, and where our children's physical and moral well being would suffer from their presence? (Press 1887o)

Not fully satisfied with the previous effort "Old Site" again regaled their readers three days later with "The fact that infectious diseases among the Chinese often exist unknown to the medical faculty" (Naftzger 1887a).

This series of questions generated several columns of print in reply. One correspondent contemptuously dismissed "Old Site's" effort "to win by keeping Chinatown goblins... before the public mind." He went on "to say a word about "Old Site's" charge that young women of Riverside visit Chinatown (by implication for opium smoking and immoral purposes). This statement is libelous if untrue, infamous if not proved, and in any case unfit for publication" (New Site 1887). In the same issue Dr. Shugart, believing the Fourteenth Street site to be an "Unsightly, undesirable, and unhealthy place," suggested "the district... sell it to the Chinese" (Shugart 1887b). Still another letter in the same issue, over the pen name "Fair Play" demolished "Old Site" item by item. "Fair Play" noted:

1. The Chinese do not own... land in Riverside except the seven acres Chinatown is situated on. They have been offered more land but they do not want it.

2. As to 'the presence of Chinese... is utter ruin to property and property owners,' ... just before Chinatown was moved to the arroyo, the three acres adjoining Chinatown on the north could have been bought for fifteen hundred dollars, and the gentleman who bought it... sold them for... an advance of over four hundred percent on the property since the Chinese moved to the arroyo.

3. People do not generally know that young ladies, supposed to be respectable have been found in Chinese dress (sic). About eighteen months ago it was rumored that 'some of the most respectable ladies in Riverside were visiting Chinese dens,' and now it is 'young ladies supposed to be respectable.' ... I will venture to say his facts are rumor and nothing worthy of notice. Many ladies go to Chinatown, some to see about their laundry work and about servants and others to buy notions at Chou Gen's store.... In regard to Christianizing and civilizing the Chinese, what effect does he think his article would have upon them if they could read it? Just such articles as that, and the treatment they have received has prevented in a great measure any good effect from the work of Christian teaching and home missionaries.

In his sixth query he seems to think that the 'physical well being' of the children would suffer. Why? Would it be because the Chinese are the healthiest class of people in Riverside? ... For the past six years there has been an average of about one hundred and twenty-five Chinese in Riverside. During that time... not one [died] from ... any disease. If Chinatown is such a health destroying place why don't the Chinese get sick?" (Fair Play 1887)

Finally, responding to both "New Site" and "Fair Play" regarding the comments "about young women in Chinatown," "Old Site" replied, "Would that it were only rumor" (Shugart 1887c). Holmes weighed in with the observation that as clerk of the Board of School Trustees he was, "pretty well acquainted with the school girls and with their teachers, and I don't know a girl in Riverside who would even think of such sins as are referred to if it were not for their public suggestion, nor a teacher who is unable to guard the children against such evil if it existed" (Holmes 1887b). The Teacher's Institute was held in San Diego during week of November 7-11, and curiously all mention of the school site controversy dropped from the press during that time.

In mid-November, Shugart and Sawyer sought an injunction to stop the school trustees from grading and preparing the Fourteenth Street site for construction. The suit alleged that the proposed school site was "Low, malarial, unhealthy, and inconvenient of access and unfit for school purposes" (Press 1887h). The effort to seek an injunction halting work provoked comment in the San Bernardino Daily Courier. Reporting that "Drs Shugart and Swayer (sic) are about to enjoin the Riverside Board of Education from proceeding with the building of the new $50,000 school house," The Daily Courier offered the opinion that "This is worse than folly. It is morally criminal." The Daily Courier concluded, "We sincerely hope that the men... who are endeavoring to interfere with the building of the new school shall be incontinently crushed... The man who cripples the public schools is a public enemy, and in making these comments we are actuated by that view" (Courier 1887n).

Just three days later, ignoring the local controversy raging on its pages, the Daily Press issued as booster page boasting "The public school system of Riverside is being built up so as to stand second to none in the state.... The city is now engaged in erecting a fine high school building" (Press 1887i). Once again, the local paper embraced the notion that a stately school building reflected the refinement of the community.

With grading on the new site already under way, several citizens sought an injunction to restrain further work on the site. On November 28, the trustees of the school district announced another meeting to specifically authorize construction of the school, which they believed was implied, but not specifically ordered, in the vote held during the previous meeting one month earlier. In the announcement the trustees characterized the allegations made in the application for injunction as "In the main frivolous and unreasonable." In calling a new public meeting the Trustees proposed to "save the 'objectors' the shame of standing up in court to slander their own city." The trustees' use of the term "objectors" to describe the advocates of the old site drew a swift response, as the debate grew more heated (Press 1887j).

The following day one of the "objectors," Dr. Sawyer, wrote of the proposed school site, "That the portion of the city chosen is, and has been more subject to miasmatic and symotic (sic) disease, especially among children than any other offered, or that could be selected." Dr. Sawyer also observed that the new site was "Neither central, accessible, convenient, or desirable" (Press 1887k). The next day the paper carried a vociferous attack on the trustees, particularly Dr. Holmes. The writer accused Dr. Holmes of being "The leading spirit in this pack of hungry real estate speculators" and of printing tickets supporting the Fourteenth Street site "presumably at the expense of the school funds" to promote "the new site scheme" (Press 1887l). Dr. Holmes vehemently denied these charges, calling them "malicious" and "hardly less than libelous" (Press 1887n). The writer summed up the differences between the trustees and the "objectors" saying, "it is called by the friends of the site, the arroyo hill; while the "objectors" call it the arroyo hole" (Press 1887l). An answer to both letters came the following day. This writer questioned how the school could be described as "Not accessible... in the face of the fact that streets border it on four sides, and that it lies between and near two projected lines of street cars." The writer continued, "As to the charge that someone has real estate in his eye, I beg leave to suggest that there is not a square of 100 feet in the district that would not recommend itself to somebody on that score" (Press 1887n).

On December 19, the day before the final meeting to vote on the matter, William Morrell asked, "What is for the best interests of the community and school?" He then summed up the entire contentious campaign with these words:
That the new site is central, and that it is not; that it is exposed
to sewer gas, and that it is not; that the pupils will be endangered
by infections which may sometimes attack the secretive Chinese, and
that they will not; that they will be morally contaminated by the
pagan crew, and that on their way to and from the temple of learning
as many must pass the unhallowed spot to reach the old site as the
new, while during school hours the children will be kept on the school
ground, and the heathen will be kept off--such points have probably
been weighed by each voter. (Morrell 1887)


The voters unswayed by "Chinatown goblins" once again cast their votes according to property interests and chose the Fourteenth Street site. The court, seeing a narrow, but clear, majority consistently voting for the Four-teenth Street site, refused to grant an injunction to prevent construction of the new school. The imposing four story Romanesque style stone building, completed in 1889, stood for nearly fifty years. In 1933, an earthquake damaged the structure beyond repair. The smaller, Mission style, Grant Elementary school now stands on the site.

This debate illustrated the belief, once again, that an enemy of "the public schools is a public enemy" (Courier 1887n). The emerging belief that young children in the primary grades ought not be mixed with older grammar grade students is also evident in the discussion of the school site. The use of racial invective to deflect attention from property interests was in this case at best, only partially effective. The widespread antagonism on the West Coast against the Chinese and the relative lack of animosity against black citizens in the area is also evident in the debate. The fact that city boosters boasted of the new school building, even as the debate over its placement raged in the same paper, offers still another demonstration of the boosters' belief that a community possessing a substantial and commodious grammar school and high school building gained an advantage over its local rivals.

REFERENCES

Courier. 1887a. Published as The Daily Courier, 29 April.

Courier. 1887b. Published as The Daily Courier (San Bernardino), 1 May (italics in original).

Courier. 1887c. Published as The Daily Courier (San Bernardino), 4 May.

Courier. 1887d. "Public Improvements," published as The Daily Courier (San Bernardino), 7 July.

Courier. 1887e. "Our Public Schools," published as The Daily Courier (San Bernardino), 13 September.

Courier. 1887f. "Talk of the Town," published as The Daily Courier (San Bernardino), 14 September.

Courier. 1887g. Published as The Daily Courier (San Bernardino), 15 September.

Courier. 1887h. "Talk of the Town," published as The Daily Courier (San Bernardino), 15 September.

Courier. 1887i. "A Ruinous Policy," published as The Daily Courier (San Bernardino), 15 September.

Courier. 1887j. Published as The Daily Courier (San Bernardino), 16 September. Courier. 1887k. "Talk of the Town," published as The Daily Courier (San Bernardino), 16 September.

Courier. 18871. "The Schools," published as The Daily Courier (San Bernardino), 16 September.

Courier. 1887m. "City Trustees,"published as The Daily Courier (San Bernardino), 16 September.

Courier 1887n. Published as The Daily Courier (San Bernardino), 17 November.

Cutter, J. E. 1887. Riverside Daily Press, 26 September.

Editor. 1887a. Published as Riverside Daily Press, June 28, 1887.

Editor. 1887b. Published as Riverside Daily Press, August 10, 1887.

Editor. 1887c. Published as Riverside Daily Press, September 1, 1887.

Editor. 1887d. Published as Riverside Daily Press, September 17, 1887.

Editor. 1887e. Published as Riverside Daily Press, 29 September.

Editor. 1887f. Published as Riverside Daily Press, 5 October.

Editor. 1887g. Published as Riverside Daily Press, November 21, 1887.

Editor. 1887h. Published as Riverside Daily Press, November 16, 1887.

Editor. 1887i. Published as Riverside Daily Press, November 19, 1887.

Editor. 1887j. Published as Riverside Daily Press, November 28, 1887.

Editor. 1887k. Published as Riverside Daily Press, November 29, 1887.

Editor. 1887l. Published as Riverside Daily Press, November 30, 1887 (Emphasis in original.).

Editor. 1887m. Published as Riverside Daily Press, December 1, 1887.

Editor. 1887n. Published as Riverside Daily Press, December 7, 1887.

Editor. 1887o. Published as Riverside Daily Press, December 14, 1887.

Editor. 1887p. Published as Riverside Daily Press, December 28, 1887.

Editor. Weekly Times. 1886. 13 February (San Bernardino).

Fair Play. 1887. "Fair Play," Riverside Daily Press, 19 December.

Holmes, E. W. 1887a. "The Riverside Schools: Their Condition and Needs," Riverside Daily Press, 16 June.

Holmes, E. W. 1887b. Riverside Daily Press, 19 December.

Los Angeles Times. 1887. 26 June.

Minutes. 1907. "Minutes of the Mayor and Aldermen, Book No. 24," 7 August, p. 5-6, City Records of Natchez, Mississippi.

Morrell, William H. 1887. Riverside Daily Press, 19 December.

Naftzger. 1887a. "Old Site," Riverside Daily Press, 17 December.

Naftzger. 1887b. "Old Site Again," Riverside Daily Press, 19 December.

Naftzger. 1887c. "Old Site's Finale," Riverside Daily Press, 19 December.

New Site. 1887. "New Site," Riverside Daily Press, 19 December.

Shugart, K. D. 1887a. "School House Site," Riverside Daily Press, 9 December.

Shugart, K. D. 1887b. "Dr. K. D. Shugart," Riverside Daily Press, 19 December.

Statutes. Statutes of 1854, p. 200-1; Statutes of 1863, p. 36.

Statutes. Statutes of 1871-1872, p. 362.

Mark Groen

California State University, San Bernardino
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Author:Groen, Mark
Publication:American Educational History Journal
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2017
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