When the one-room country schools were closed, a bus was needed to bring the farm kids to the nearest town. Hamilton County students would learn and then graduate from the school in the nearby town: Jewell High School, Stanhope High School, Ellsworth High School, Randall High School, Kamrar High School, Stratford High School, Webster City High School, Blairsburg High School, or Williams High School.
St. Paul Lutheran Church in Boone County (south of Stanhope and close to Highway 17) had a school for students through their 8th grade. Some of these students graduated from Hamilton County schools, such as Stanhope High School (or after 1962, from South Hamilton High School).
On September 29 1958, the South Hamilton Community School District was approved by voters at a special election. After the reorganization was upheld in the courts and legalized by the state legislature, it began its operation on July 1, 1959. The new district was the largest Hamilton County school in land area, and with an enrollment of 1,254 students, ranked as the seventy-sixth largest school in Iowa. John T. Gannon of Stanhope was elected district superintendent with M. B. Curdy and A. I. Kingery serving as assistant superintendents. Each of the four towns (Jewell, Ellsworth, Stanhope, and Randall) had always operated their own K-12 program. It was the philosophy of the board that to provide proper breadth of programs at efficient expenditure levels, classes of at least 100 students per grade were desirable. This meant a central facility, and because of transportation and auxiliary expenditures it seemed feasible to plan for a combination junior-senior high school to accommodate all students at these levels in one building. In 1960, a proposed new high school building plan was received from architects Frangkiser & Hutchens of Kansas City, but in February and June of 1961, bond issues for $1,130,000 for the construction of a new high school were defeated by voters. In 1961, the school board approved the proposal to name athletic teams Hawks and Hawkettes.
In December of 1961, the until September of 1962, a central high school
was established at the Jewell center. In the 1962-1963
school year, all South Hamilton senior high student (grades 10-12) attended
high school in Jewell and students grade 7-9 attended one of the twin junior
highs in Ellsworth and Stanhope. Kindergarten through
six graders attended school in the four town centers, Jewell, Ellsworth,
Stanhope, and Randall.
at issue was where to build a new junior-senior high school building for
grades seven to twelve. Seven bond issues were put before the
voters. If the location was cited in Jewell, the outlying areas
tended to vote no. If the location was cited in the country,
Jewell voted no. On June 7 and December 9 of 1963, the bond
issues for $1,200,000 was defeated. Over a period of almost four
years, plans to cut back to save costs such as inflation affected the project.
Now also eliminated was the proposed indoor pool, a three hole golf course,
an indoor track and air conditioning. After six unsuccessful
attempts to gain a 60% majority favoring the issuances of bonds to construct
a new junior-senior high school, the $1,425,000 issue voted on April 19,
1966 carried by a 65% margin. The successful vote was a result
of a vigorous campaign on the part of the board and interested patrons
to inform the voters in the district of the bond issue's importance.
Finally in a special election on April 19, 1966, the seventh try for a
school bond issue passed for construction of the new high school in Jewell.
ground breaking ceremony for the new South Hamilton junior-senior high
building was held Sunday, March 12, 1967. A brief ceremony
was held at 3 PM, during which board president Curtis Thoreson turned the
first spade full, followed by board members Richard Arends, Clarence Hove,
Robert Young, and Francis LeMaster.
spade was then handed to a representative of the general contractor, Roth
Associates of Storm Lake. Others on the program were the Rev.
R. D. Ehlers of Ellsworth and Rev. Karl Miller of Stanhope and Superintendent
A price had been paid, however, and disagreements over location caused delays. Because of increased costs, the new school was not really the same one envisioned by the architect and planning committee. Gone were the terrazzo floors, glazed block walls, indoor pool, and barrel-vaulted auditorium roof. The smaller band room, lack of storage space, and the poor quality windows and doors which later had to be addressed symbolized the cheapening of the planned school structure. On December 29 of 1968 the dedication of the new junior-senior high school building was held. A booklet was given out at this event explaining many details. A quote from that dedication booklet is below this next image.
|"We dedicate this building to the services of youth
and adults, whereby we can best meet their needs. We believe these
needs to be:
To acquire, through competent guidance, habits of
completion of the new junior-senior high school building, South Hamilton
students were bused to the new school from a 205 square mile area which
included the towns of Ellsworth, Stanhope, and Randall, in addition to
Jewell. The twin junior highs, which had operated since 1962,
were then no longer needed.
The district school maintained an elementary with grades K-6 in each of the four towns. In the fall of 1971, The Randall school was changed to accommodate most students in grades 5-6, while the other three elementary centers taught grades K-4 with Stanhope still having their own grades 5 and 6.
By the fall of 1972, all grades of 5 and 6 were in the Randall Center. Ninth graders joined the ranks of high school during the 1974-75 school year.
In the Spring of 1976, another decision was made by the school board to close the two elementary centers in Ellsworth and Stanhope. Several new classrooms were added to the elementary in Jewell to accommodate this move, and grade four was added to the fifth and sixth grades at the Randall site.
Roberts is shown
Although the entire district's 5th and 6th graders were all shuttled to
Randall in 1972, declining enrollment in the 1975-1976 school year brought
the 4th graders were taken by bus to the Randall Center and the district's
K-3 students all were bused to Jewell. Finally in 1980, the
Randall Elementary Center was closed, the schools in Stahope and Ellsworth
also were no longer used, so all South Hamilton students attended school
See lists of South Hamilton Graduates.