The Lindenwood Neighborhood has benefited from the presence of two public and two private grade schools
– Longfellow Public School – 1891
– Epiphany Catholic School – 1912
– Lindenwood Public School – Portable classrooms, 1913 and current School Building, 1929
– Timothy Lutheran – 1943
Longfellow School closed in 1980, Lindenwood School closed in 1983, and Epiphany School closed in 2010, but Timothy Lutheran continues to serve children in the neighborhood.
What were those schools like in the good old days?
Here is a snapshot of Lindenwood.
Three portable steel classrooms opened on the site of the current Lindenwood School in 1913 with only the basic conveniences. The “little houses” in the rear offered a chilly and somewhat unsatisfactory solution to “Mother Nature’s Call.” An outside pipe with a faucet provided running water, if it were not frozen.
Mrs. Cartright, the matron, was the first person to care for the custodial duties around the portables. Hers was a hard life since she had to carry coal in buckets from behind the portables, around to the front, and into each of the buildings.
She fired the individual furnaces, took out the ashes, and cleared away the snow from the walks around the portables.
The original portables housed only three grades: first, second and third. Pupils in the higher grades attended Longfellow. As attendance grew, more portables were added until there were eight buildings extending along McCausland, from Lindenwood to Mardel.
In 1919, after the first three portables had been found inadequate for the number of students, and before the Board of Education could build more portables, it was decided that the Board would rent an available store building on the southeast corner of Mardel and McCausland, across the street from the portables.
The school in the store building had some improvements over the portables, since it did have inside running water and an indoor bathroom.
There were disadvantages, however, for whenever coal was delivered into the basement, the coal dust rose up between the cracks in the flooring; The coal dust was so thick that everyone had to go outside until it had sufficiently cleared away.
The current school building opened September 3, 1929 with an average daily attendance by 1931 of 386. The Depression years of the thirties witnessed the government’s efforts to put people to work, with the WPA Program for employment.
Lindenwood was selected as one of the schools used for training WPA workers. In 1941, the WPA workers resurfaced the schoolyard, built retaining walls for the school, and installed the flagstone terraces as they are today.
The school closed as an elementary school at the end of the 1982-1983 school year. It continued to be used first as an Adult Vocational Education Center, and later as a Professional Development Center until final closure in August 2003. The building was placed for sale in October, 2003, offered at $500,000 and sold September 10, 2004 to the Murphy family for a sale price of $557,000.
Lindenwood School history and photo compliments of the St. Louis Public Schools Records Center and Archives. A big thanks is extended to neighborhood resident, Margie Giblin for completing the research.