|Roosevelt High School (now Davey Elementary School) in 1928|
Lately I've been doing sporadic research on the history of the Kent City Schools, the Davey building in particular. I've also done quite a bit of research on Roosevelt High School as well (which was housed in the Davey building for 37 years), touching on the elementary buildings along the way. I've found that there are many people interested in what I'm finding out about the history of our school buildings, but I've also found it's somewhat difficult to explain the histories, especially some of the older schools. That's because there are two histories: the history of the school building and the history of the school organization. The Davey building is a prime example of this. The building history goes from 1921 (when construction started) to now. During the 89 years since it opened in 1922, it has housed three different schools: Theodore Roosevelt High School, Davey Junior High School (later called Davey Middle School), and Davey Elementary School. Each school organization, however, has its own history independent of the building itself. For instance, Roosevelt High School dates back to 1868, Davey Junior High is now Stanton Middle School, and Davey Elementary is the continuation of Central Elementary School. It's really confusing when you have a mixture of schools that have moved and kept their name (like Roosevelt) and schools that have moved but changed names (Davey Middle School to Stanton Middle School).
|The Union School, later known as "old" Central|
Most buildings in the district have only had one tenant, so it's somewhat easier. But even then, we have successions of buildings that sometimes are very clear and sometimes aren't. Holden Elementary, for instance, is a continuation of the old South School, which was located across the street from where Holden is now. I haven't really dived into the history of Holden, but my guess is that it was likely originally planned to be the new South School and during construction or just before it opened the board decided to name it for Belle Holden, a former teacher and principal at South School. Roosevelt High School was named after the building (now Davey Elementary) was finished. All the construction information simply refers to it as the "new" Kent High School. The decision to name it after Theodore Roosevelt didn't come until just a month or so before the building was dedicated. Stanton Middle School was named in the early stages of construction. At the time I was hoping they would carry the Davey name to the new building, but the Board opted to keep the Davey name at the current building because of that building and property's historical ties to the Davey family (John Davey, founder of Davey Tree, owned part of the land it was built on and the old Davey estate is adjacent to the school).
|DePeyster School, now home of the administrative offices for the district|
To help make sense of the two histories, I created two graphics to illustrate them. One is a history of each school organization and the other is a history of each school building. They are both works in progress as I find more information about each building through my research. Each picture contains basic information about the years a particular building was known by a certain name and when any additions or major renovations happened.
|School organization history|
|School building history|