Section Header Image


history of longfellow banner

Ward SchoolHastings was founded in 1872 in northeast Adams County at the intersection of the Burlington Missouri Railroad and the St Joseph and Denver City Railroad.  On June 18, 1872, District 18, now Hastings Public School District, was formed.  In the spring of 1873, the first classes were held in a 14’ x 16’ rented room.  Construction began on the first schoolhouse in 1873.  This two-story frame structure cost $5,000 and was able to hold 350 students.  76 males and 73 females, ages 5-20, were enrolled in this school during the 1875-76 school year.  By 1880 a new school was needed.  The first elementary school in Hastings, First Ward, was built at Lincoln Avenue and A Street.  In 1882, the first high school was built between 7th and 9th Streets fronting Denver Avenue.  It was a frame structure built for $12,000.  The High School was destroyed by fire in 1886.  A new brick two-story building was constructed in 1887 at the same site.  The cost of this structure was $22,998.  At this time, it became the North Ward School (later named Longfellow) as it housed elementary grades on the first floor and high school on the second.  The principal’s office was located on the second floor of the tower.  Other elementary schools were built around Hastings to accommodate the growing population.  By 1890, 1,000 students were enrolled in the school system.  West Ward was built in 1886 at 6th Street and Saunders Avenue, South Ward at Denver Avenue and H Street in 1888 and East Ward in 1891 at California Avenue and 3rd Street.

longfellow bustIn 1905 a new high school was built at 5th Street between Hastings and Lincoln Avenues.  The high school students moved from North Ward to the new high school.  This transition left North Ward with 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grades on the second floor and grades 1 through 4 on the first.  It was in 1905 that a Kindergarten class was established at North Ward.  A Kindergarten cottage was constructed adjacent to the main building.  In 1912, the Ward schools were named.  These names were voted on by the students.  First Ward became Lincoln, West Ward became Morton, South Ward became Hawthorne, East Ward became Alcott and North Ward became Longfellow, named for poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  In 1913, Mothers of Longfellow purchased a bust of Longfellow for $25.00.  This bust is still in the school today.  In 1917, a new Jr. High was built on 5th Street between Hastings and Lincoln Avenues.  At this time, 7th and 8th grades were moved from Longfellow Elementary to the Jr. High.  9th-grade students were moved from the High School to the Jr. High to join the 7th and 8th graders.  This left grades K-6 at Longfellow Elementary.  In 1923, a second grade cottage was built next to Longfellow’s existing Kindergarten cottage at a cost of $13,318.96.  The Longfellow PTA (Parent Teacher Association) was organized in 1925 with Mrs. James Crowley serving as the first president.  Art and Music became a higher priority, and the first school band and orchestra was formed under the leadership of conductor C. E. Sharpe.

Construction of a new Longfellow Elementary School, adjacent to the 1887 structure, began on September 7, 1926, for a cost of $194,588.  It was designed by local architect Kenneth Gedney, who also designed Montgomery Wards and the Elks Building in downtown Hastings.  In May of 1927, students moved from the 1887 Longfellow school into the 1927 Longfellow school, the 1887 structure was razed during the summer.  Throughout Hastings new elementary schools were built, replacing the earlier structures.  Morton Elementary built a new school in 1931, Alcott in 1935, Hawthorne in 1954 and Lincoln in 1980.  Watson Elementary was built in 1968; it was not an original Ward School.  In 1955, a new High School was built, with the 1905 structure razed in 1980.  In 2007, Hastings Middle School was built, leaving the former 1917 Jr. High building vacant.longfellow construction

A Science/Kindergarten addition was made to Longfellow Elementary in 1953.  It consisted of four rooms; the two on the first floor were used for Kindergarten and 2nd-grade classes.  In the 1970s, both were converted to Kindergarten use.  Also in 1953, the hot lunch program began at Longfellow.  Lunches were served in the gym until a cafeteria was added in 1971.  When the building was constructed in 1926, the main entry for students was on the 9th Street facade, on which the classical portico is located.  In 1969, this entry was closed to convert the lobby space into offices.  In 1978, due to the energy crisis, the large windows on the school were replaced with smaller ones.  The cost of the project was $50,289.00, made possible through an energy grant obtained by the Hastings Public Schools.  In 1987, the S.T.O.P. (Students Together Offer Prevention) program was implemented; this is a predecessor to the current DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program.  In 2007 the 6th-grade class moved from Longfellow to join the 7th and 8th grades at the new Middle School.  A preschool program was added, occupying space made available with the 6th-grade move.

current Longfellow

Today, Longfellow Elementary utilizes its nationally recognized Character Education Program as part of its curriculum and environment, supporting its role in “Assuring the Essential, Expanding the Possible” for every student.