Improvements in the course began under J. R. Hays, and Prof. Payne brought it to a complete course, with eight grades below high school, and four in the latter, with the usual high-school studies. The first class graduated was that of 1877, and it included Minnie Alderman, Florence Dana, Rose Murphy, Lina Hambleton, Helen Harper, W. O. Payne, Newton Simmons, Will Hague and Peter Joor. The course has been developed some by successive principals and superintendents. The schools have won a reputation for good work, and sent out bright representatives in several lines. There are 420 pupils now, about sixty-two being in the high school. It is unfortunate that this, as well as all other high schools, should, year by year, show a smaller proportion of male graduates.
The Ames public schools also have seven rooms and eight teachers, besides the principal, who has not been made superintendent, as at Nevada, however. Her architectural brick structure, too, looming up on the west edge of the town, between Story and Iowa Streets, is probably the finest one in the place. It is of brick, somewhat irregular in form, two stories, basement and seven rooms with halls and general rooms heated by steam. It was finished about 1882, at a cost of probably $16,000 or $17,000. An old building on the south side of the track also is used for a primary department, for in 1889 Ames enumerated 389 of school age, and had an enrollment of 343, some of whom, living on the south side, were given a special primary room in the old building. The graduates of 1889, five in number, had the advantage of a complete course, that was adopted in 1883, with ten grades below, and three in the high-school, with usual studies found in a standard school of this order.
This has grown since about 1867, when the first old building near the timber, on the south side, was ready for Richard May to teach the first Ames school. Charles Chrisman was an early teacher. In a short time the present south side building-a two-story frame of two rooms, was erected on the corner of Kellogg and Grant Streets, at a cost of probably $1,000. But these were Ames' years of boom, and by about 1875 a new building was necessary. To meet this need, a one-story frame of four rooms was built, on the corner of Kellogg and Grant Streets, on the north side. This cost about $1,400, and at once became the principal building. These were used until the present building was built, as before mentioned, and the old north side property sold, while that on the south was retained.
The principals began in the new building in 1875. Profs. Mahan and Ashton taught in 1876 and 1877, and were followed by G. A. Garard in 1878-79. W. F. Chevalier had a long service, from 1880 to 1889, when the present principal, W. F. Morgan, assumed charge. Prof. Garard was the first to give the school anything of a grade, and to begin giving diplomas. He had many excellent qualities as a teacher and gentleman, but it was Principal W. F. Chevalier who placed the school more firmly on its feet in his long service, and under whom the present course of study was adopted. This course is now under process of revision.
Among other gentleman of the board and others who have been active in school affairs, space will permit the mention of but a few: H. F. Kingsbury, William West, I. L. Smith, D. A. Bigelow, L. Q. Hoggatt, G. Tilden, Dr. A. Richmond, B. Reed, M. Hemstreet, Isaac Black, G. A. Underwood and others.
The Story City schools afford four rooms, and three teachers besides the principal, while in 1889 the enrollment was sixty-two in the