Burlingame Grade School photo from 1908. The site, which was
also a courthouse, is now home to the Schuyler Museum.
Gabe Faimon | Reporter
BURLINGAME—The Kansas Historical Society recently announced
the Historic Sites Board of Review voted to list the Schuyler
Grade School in Burlingame on the Register of Historic Kansas
Places. The board also forwarded nomination of the Schuyler Grade
School to the National Register of Historic Places in Washington,
Information regarding the Schuyler Grade School and several other
properties across the state was also submitted to the Historic
Sites Board of Review for addition to the Historic Public Schools
of Kansas list. The local significance of Schuyler for education
and architecture strengthened consideration for adding it to the
Philip Church Schuyler, one of Burlingame’s founders and
community leaders, donated lots for construction of the first
Osage County Courthouse, located at 117 S. Dacotah St., Burlingame.
After the county seat was moved from Burlingame to Lyndon, the
building was used as a school. Files of the Osage County Chronicle
indicate the community concern and efforts to replace the courthouse
with a new building, which became the Schuyler Grade School:
• Jan. 20, 1897 – “The building was erected
as a court house over 30 years ago. The ceiling and wall in the
northwest corner of the second story had separated, leaving a
gap of approximately four inches.” The building was occupied
by 134 students.
• May 27, 1897 – Three years earlier, the school board
agreed that a meeting with the community was needed to consider
construction of a new building. Since the meeting was never called,
Major H. Dubois, who was then president of the school board, convened
a community meeting. The report of the meeting states, “it
was decided to ‘Build on the present site, providing a satisfactory
title can be obtained.’”
• April 4, 1902 – An impasse had developed between
the school board and its contractor for demolition of the schoolhouse.
Community volunteers proceeded with demolition. Condition of the
building was characterized by the statement, “A push with
a pick would send over pieces of the wall which would fall to
the ground like so much loose sand and stone.”
• The April 4 account also said the cost on the new building
will be about $6,100.
Other information from the Osage County Chronicle regarding construction
and occupancy of the building indicate:
• George and Arthur Ramskill provided approximately
100,000 bricks from the brick factory. Bricklaying was supervised
by M. Pratt, of Lyndon.
• The cornerstone was laid July 8, 1902.
• Construction of the building was not complete before the
first day of school in 1902. Interim classroom sites were established
at Oliver’s Store and the U.B. Church.
• A community meeting was held on Oct. 31, 1902. The
meeting produced a decision to call a school district bond election
to secure $2,500 to complete construction, install a heating system
and acquire furnishings.
• The bond election was cancelled due to incorrect wording
in the petition. “The law provided that the call (petition
for the election) must read for ‘building’ a school
house, while the petition read ‘completing.’”
A revised petition was circulated.
• The bond election was conducted on Dec. 23, 1902.
Despite a 423-3 vote, the election was not sufficient to allow
bonds to be issued. State law required a majority of voters to
vote for passage of a bond issue. The school district had 985
registered voters. A second bond election was held on Jan. 5,
1903. A total of 570 votes were cast, 563-7.
• The first classes were held in the “new two-story
Romanesque-style brick school building” on Jan. 18, 1903,
when three classrooms were occupied.
The recent nomination states, “Generally, the interior of
the Schuyler Grade School, particularly on the main first and
second floors, retains its original plan and typical room configuration.”
The nomination also summarizes alterations to the building and
Beginning in 1955, the Schuyler Building was remodeled extensively.
A “modern-style wing” was added to the west side of
the building. The main recessed entrance was enclosed. Stairs
to the basement were relocated. Original wooden double-hung windows
were replaced with aluminum windows. Solid wooden entrance doors
in metal frames were installed in classroom doorways to the halls;
suspended ceilings were installed above the second floor landing
and hall and in first and second floor classrooms. Floors were
covered with carpet. Two detached buildings were placed on the
grounds in the 1970s.
The property functioned as a school until 2001, after which Burlingame
Historical Preservation Society, Inc., acquired the property in
October of that year, naming it Schuyler Museum. The society had
organized seven months earlier.
The Register of Historic Kansas Places is Kansas’ official
list of historically significant property. Property that is included
in the National Register is automatically listed in the state
register. However, not all property listed in the state register
may be eligible to be included in the National Register. The same
general criteria used to assess the eligibility of property for
inclusion in the National Register are also used for the state
register, but more flexibility is allowed in state interpretation
of criteria for eligibility.