Lew Wallace High School History Wiki (not -pedia)

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Lew Wallace High School
415 West 45th Avenue
Gary Indiana 46408

The word wiki is used to designate a collaborative website; a place where knowledge, lore and thoughts of a group can be collected, collated and shared by its members. We have begun the Lew Wallace High School history project because we sense that a huge and meaningful chapter of Gary, Indiana’s and our history will be lost with the formal closing of our alma mater.

Contents

History

A brand new city in 1906, Gary IN hired William Wirt as its first School Superintendent in 1907. Wirt established a working relationship with St Louis architect William B Ittner, and after creating several schools in the northern parts of Gary, this duo turned their attention to Glen Park, which had been annexed to the city in 1909.

In 1921, Wirt selected a 25 acre site to develop a school for the Glen Park area, and the first classes were held at what was then called “The 45th Avenue School” in fall of 1923. Glen Park was a rapidly growing area of Gary at that time, and by 1924, 8 portable buildings were added to house a total of more than 700 students.

In 1926, the West Building was added and housed a gym and an auditorium, and in 1927, the name was changed to Lew Wallace School and included complete high school classes. Verna Hoke, the first female principal in the Gary school system was hired and began her long tenure.

Further expansion occurred from 1931-1933, and the 1931 cornerstone (near the old main doors) remains visible. Another expansion was undertaken in the early fifties, and yet another in the early 70s. No significant changes were made in the structure after the 70s expansion, and Lew Wallace graduated her last class in Spring of 2014.

Original 45th Avenue School

Building plans; blueprints

Architect

William Wirt

Meaning of a public school to a neighborhood
Work/study/play impact on school development and architecture
Art collection

First Teachers and Administrators

Enrollment patterns

Largest and smallest graduating classes

Decline in enrollment

School closure

Building expansions

Growth of Glen Park

1930s

The History of the Lew Wallace School

In 1932, Dorothy Seefeldt wrote a brief history of Lew Wallace to that date, and it was published in the 1932 yearbook as follows:

The location of the Lew Wallace School was selected by William A. Wirt, Superintendent of the Gary Public Schools, and the Board of Education in 1921. The original site contained twenty-five acres but it has been reduced to about twenty acres as a result of putting in sewers, sidewalks, and streets. The first building, located at the east end of the lot, was erected in 1922 and known as the Forty-fifth Avenue School. Miss Stella Z. Miles was principal. Since 1924 eight portables have been added and in 1926 the west building was erected for the use of the primary grades. The last and main unit is now under construction and is expected to be finished by the end of the 1932-'33 school term.

The growth of the school has been astonishingly rapid. In 1923, during Miss Miles' principalship the total enrollment was 502. When Miss Ina Martin succeeded Miss Miles in 1925, the enrollment was 776. Miss Verna Hoke followed Miss Martin in 1927 at which time the number had increased to 1,337. The present enrollment is 1,931, more than four times as great as the original number.

This growth was accompanied by a similar growth in the teaching force. The first faculty, during the school year 1923-24, consisted of ten members: The Misses Rose Veenker, Margaret Gale, Agatha Clemens, Pearl Giroux, Mary Furnes, Grace McAllister, Agnes Beedon and the Mesdames Florence Haskell, Alice C. Connors, and Mildred Kelley. At the present time Miss Verna Hoke, principal, assisted by Floyd Asher supervises the work of fifty-four faculty members. In addition there is an office force of five members and a permanent medical office pre-sided over by Mrs. Dorothy Clayton.

The name of the school was chosen by a popular vote of the pupils during the time Miss Ina Martin was principal. Lew Wallace was a great statesman, writer, and general during the Civil War. It is the purpose of the school to foster the standards of scholarship, loyalty, valor, honor, and sportsmanship which this great man upheld during his life.

The cost of the original land site was $25,000 and the additional costs for streets, sidewalks, sewers, and surfacing was $38,000. The total in-vestment including the new building under construction is more than $1,000,000.

The present curriculum is not as complete as the one followed by other Gary high schools, but it will be upon the formal opening of the new building which is now being occupied by several classes, but which will not be fully equipped until the fall semester of 1932-'33. The completion of this building will be co-incident with the graduation of the first class to complete four years of high school training. The Lew Wallace School has been granted permission to appropriately use the crest of the Wallace family. The crest bears the coat of arms of the Wallace family and dates back to the eleventh century. Our school is honored by being the only school or organization in the United States privileged to use this crest. For this reason it is the desire of the students and faculty to display and use it on only such occasions as we know the Wallace family would be proud to have it used. The crest, to us, is something to be respected and venerated.

- Dorothy Seefeldt, '32

Cornerstone Ceremonies

1950s

Memories of "the Portables"

1970s

Images of the Renovation

Administrators and Administrative Staff

Principals

Stella Z. Miles 1923 - 1925

Ina Martin 1925 - 1927

Verna Hoke 1927 - 1949

Christ Christoff 1969 - ?

Associate/Vice Principals

Administrative Assistants (office staff)

Counseling Staff

Students

Demographics

Income

Ethnicity/shifts

Education

Continued to college/graduated from college

Student Life

Class Pictures

1932

Teachers

Length of tenure, pics, bios, etc

Academics

Standardized test scores

Strength of various disciplines (science, arts, language arts, etc)

Areas of study concentration (majors? Minors?)

Library

Library Images

Student Activities

Student Council

Girls’ Club

Foreign Language Clubs

"Sprench" (Spanish-French) Club

Chess Club

Hi-Y (black students)

Musical Groups (choirs, bands, orchestras)

Musical productions

Dramatic Troupes

Productions

Yearbook/Philosopher

Print/Pica club

WGVE 88.7 FM

A Brief Description and History

Since 1954, WGVE 88.7 FM has served the Northwest Indiana community as a reliable and valuable public radio source. The station was originally located in Lew Wallace High School and operated at less than 50 watts. The primary purpose of the station during this era was to enhance the local school curriculum by airing instructional programs. The station was also used to make local announcements concerning the school district.

As the Age of Information began to appear on the horizons, the facility was moved to the Gary Area Career Center in 1969, where a broadcast-training program for area high school students was added. Currently a mixture of school and community news, educational programming, public service announcements and music characterize the WGVE broadcast days.

Doors Wide Open

Programming is designed to offer a valuable informational platform for the community. Local programming like “Doors Wide Open” host a wide array of guest from the Gary Community School Corporation, the City of Gary and other valuable partners in education and human services. Frequent guest include Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and various department heads of the City of Gary; Dr. Cheryl Pruitt, the Superintendent of the Gary Community School Corporation, department directors, school principals and teachers the president of the local teachers union and other guest.

Prep Sports Network

“Prep Sports Network” programming offers exciting play-by-play action of area high school basketball and football games. Featured games include all high schools in Gary, Northwest Indiana and teams from around the state.

Live Broadcasts of School Board and Gary Common Council Meetings

Live broadcast of the Gary School Board meetings will air at 6 PM every second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. Live meetings of the Gary Common Council will air every first and third Tuesdays of the month at 6 PM.

A Variety of Programs

Other programming focuses on parenting, child development, health, aging and international affairs, which includes Public Radio International productions. This program allows District personnel and community activist to visit and talk live about activities and events related to their organization. WGVE also offers a wide genre of music from Jazz, Blues and Hip-Hop.

Television Productions

In the late 70’s, a multi-camera television studio was added to WGVE. This facility serves as a laboratory for students to gain experience in the production of visual materials suitable for cable broadcast. WGVE students produce “District Connections”, a television talk show that is designed to keep local cable access viewers in the know about the Gary Community School Corporation.”District Connections” also features the accomplishments and activities of area schools. The program can be viewed on WJPN Channel 21 in Gary, Indiana and on various channels through U-Verse.

WGVE 88.7 FM Radio Station Facts

First Broadcast: January 1954

Antenna Height: 125-foot self-supporting tower

Studio and Tower Location: The Gary Area Career Center

Four studio facility: Two master control-rooms and two production studios

Effective Radiated Power: 2.1 Kilowatts

Sports Teams

Tech/Voc School

Famous and Infamous Alums

  • Stacy Adams, former football coach at Valparaiso University.
  • Vic Bubas, former basketball coach at Duke University.
  • John Bushemi, war photographer.
  • Tellis Frank, NBA forward.
  • Milo Komenich, NBA basketball player.
  • Hank Stram, AFL/NFL Head Coach and Super Bowl Champion.

The aftermath

Selling the building? ‘the rock’

The auction

Vandalism, scrapping

Missing artwork

Alumni Activity

Class of 1932 Reunion

2014 Building Tour

More items to include

photos, videos from students

anecdotes from students

any available yearbook material

teacher reflections

teacher rosters

inside knowledge of building (closed areas, basements, shooting gallery,etc)

External Links