The first school building in New Lisbon was a slab building, which stood on Bridge Street located on the Hess lot. The first teacher, Mr. Tyler, was as rough as the building itself. When a pupil named Charles Shafer acted up in class, Tyler broke the boy’s arm. The school board refused to renew Tyler’s contract for a second year and replaced him with Amanda Lawrence, who later became Mrs. H. Norton.
Principal W. S. Johnson was instrumental in organizing the high school and gaining state accreditation in 1877. The first high school graduating class had two members: Nellie Smith Fowler and Dedie Beebe.
New Lisbon grew larger and more room was needed two building were erected, on for the grammar school where our high school now stands which held the fifth to the eighth grades inclusive and the other a two story building across the street where we have our present tennis courts.
This held the first four grades on the lower floor with the high school on the second floor. Later a kindergarten was built on to this building, which at times house mere infants, as there was no established school age.
At first there were nine grades besides the kindergarten but this was later changed to eight to conform to other schools in the county.
These buildings after standing for many years were eventually condemned as unsanitary and over-crowded, so in the year 1900 a new brick school house was built on the site where the grammar school stood, the children moved into this school the first part of January 1901.
The old buildings were sold and moved away. These buildings being moved to the site where the M&I building now stand as and changed into a store which was the fire trap that nearly burned New Lisbon to the ground in 1903, the kindergarten was saved and set on a new foundation facing north and south instead of east and west as formerly, and was used until 1907 when it was abandoned. This was finally sold and moved near the depot where it eventually burned to the ground.
The school burned in 1907.
The school would be quickly rebuilt in 1908 with a beautiful new state-of-the-art facility.
In 1915 the Juneau County Normal was located at New Lisbon and Manual Arts and Music added to the high school course of study. This called for several additional rooms, also our gymnasium was very poor, so plans were made for an addition to the school building which was completed during the summer of 1916, with the County Normal school rooms on the upper floors and new gym on the first floor. The commercial department was added to the high school in 1917. In 1926, the athletic field directly behind the school was purchased by the city. The manual art and Domestic Science courses were discontinued in 1930 because of the depression.
Juneau County Teachers College
Juneau County followed the state’s lead recognizing the need to improve the quality of the teachers in its rural schools in the last quarter of the 1800s. High schools were originally established in order to supply teachers for country schools. Any graduate was eligible for the job and females who completed high school were expected to become teachers whether or not they were competent.
This building begun in 1908, house the High School, Elementary Grades, and County Normal. The latter began operation in 1917. A vocational school was organized and housed in this same building when Robert Walker was mayor of New Lisbon. This building served the educational needs of New Lisbon until 1951. A one-story brick building for grades K-3 was built west of the existing building that year. Four more rooms were added to that structure in 1955. There were three rooms on the east end and the other on the west.
Five years later, in 1960, the old building was found to be inadequate for the High School. In that year the electors chose to build a High School building south of and connected to the elementary building. This was ready for occupancy in October of 1961
As the years progressed and space was needed, the voters decided to build a new senior High School building. In 1970, this building was begun to the west of the elementary unit.
In 1972 it was ready for classes. At the time this construction was being done, ad addition was being added to the existing grade school. There were four rooms in the new educational facilities.
The old 1908 building was then used for Junior High classes and some of the grades. Five years later, in 1975 it was torn down and the area used as a playground. At a later date the land was transferred to the city for our beautiful swimming pool.
Another addition was begun in the spring of 1989. It connected the present elementary, junior high, and high school structures. The latest addition occurred in 2000 when a new elementary school was built, junior high remodeled, and additions to the high school as well as a brand new media center.
School Song History
Ever wonder where that came from? The high school band director presents the tune of “College Boy” to his students in 1927. He then asked them to come up with words to go along with the melody. A school wide contest was held. The judges were unable to decide the winner, so they took the first part of one song written by Gordon McNown and the last part of another song written by Dorothy Cole, Alice Christensen, Vera Grown, and Leota Plunmkett to combine into the traditional song we still sing proudly today.