Ruins of Horace Mann Elementary School

Last week I took advantage of parts of the fencing around the burned out Horace Mann School at 39th & Euclid/Garfield having been removed, so I went trespassing for photos. It turned out I was the only one alive on-site at the time. It was closed many years ago, and caught fire several months ago. Good to have some shots of it because I’m sure it’ll be demo’d eventually.

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17 replies
  1. Chuck Gatson
    Chuck Gatson says:

    Wow!!! These pictures are a spectacular illustration of an owner neglecting a property and bringing additional blight to a community of disinvestment. The property, by the way, is owned by the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council.

  2. Linda
    Linda says:

    In the sixties, I attended Horace Mann K-7th grade. I’m glad photographed Horace Mann while visiting KC many years ago. This is indeed a catastrophy.

    • Esther
      Esther says:

      Linda – I did too, 1956 for Kindergarden, then moved to Leawood – we received the first polio vaccines, in the hallway – do you remember that?

  3. cynthia
    cynthia says:

    How sad! I loved Horace Mann. My sisters and I walked to school in the fifties and enjoyed the complete gymnasium inside the school, the art and music classes, the auditorium, the huge playground. Little did we know that schools with all of the amenities would become rare in the Cities over the next few decades. Our house and neighborhood were torn down for the freeway, the school boarded up, but the memories of paper drives, Girl Scout Cookie sales, summer nights of fireflies and hide and seek live on. Our city block had 28 children and their families on it, living and growing up for a few magical years.

    • Carole
      Carole says:

      It sounds like we went to Horace Man around the same time, I started in 1948 and went utill 1955 when the Baptist church bought the houses on our block out from under us. We moved to Utah. I have wonderful memories of growing up there, I think I miss the fireflies the most. But the paper drives and cookie sales and “mother may I” our house ended up being the access road to the freeway. We were on Michigan Ave. The skinny white house with the porch swing and a great alley in back to play in. Good and missed times.

  4. Lee
    Lee says:

    Ever wonder what is in a photo? Cynthia’s comments brought back a flood of shared memories at Horace Mann, 1953 to 57. But the photo of the front of the School sent a chill through me. That is the last view I have of my school. I attended Horace Mann from kindergarten through 3rd grade. I recall the names of all my teachers, Ms Crenshaw; Kindergarden Ms Lawrence; first grade, Ms. Berry second grad and Ms Short 3 grade. Ms Lawrence was very large but very kind, Ms Crenshaw and Ms Short were white haired old maids that had obvious favorites, Ms Berry didn’t want the little black girl in front of me to touch her, I told her not to worry because it would not rub off. She slapped me. Most of her words taught me to read, to add and subtract but I don’t remember them. I thought then that it was not a good time to be different or to be a girl. Not a good time to have an odd last name, especially if you were an immigrant or Jewish. Boys got first choice, front of the line. A child from a broken home was sure to be a trouble maker but it was worse to be the Child who had polio. I heard them and saw them and now my mind recalls them. Maybe it is because I had such a thoughtful family and Ethel, a truly kind house keeper, that at 5 or 6 or 7 I recognized such for what it was. I recall my friend Trudy and how she taught me to ride her bike. Suddenly I was not allowed to cross the alley behind my Brooklyn home to play with Trudy. Ethel couldn’t tell me why, she just cried. Mama told me a class mate was stolen away as she walked home. KIDNAPPED..mama said. Left in the cold wet night.. Ethel said. Left tied to a fence with her shoe strings…….her name was Ann.

    For me, your photo of the front entrance of Horace Mann is felt more than seen. It is the view forever etched because Ann was there just off to the left, weaving around neat piles of news print on the day of a paper drive. She had long banana curls held back by one very pink ribbon. She came back to school; after being KIDNAPPED.

    We moved and I never went back to Horace Mann. Was Ann able to grow up? Did she have a happy life? I thought a lot about her because it was not a good time to be different.

    In my years at Bancroft and Paseo High, I never saw her again.

    • Natha
      Natha says:

      i too attended Horace Mann from 1956-1962 (1st-6th grade). I remember the newspaper drives, the principal, Mrs Hollister. I also recall the little girl that was kidnapped, walking home from lunch. After that, children were no longer allowed to go home for lunch. Most of all I recall being bussed in 5th and 6th grade because of “overcrowding”. Little did we know at the time, boundaries were being revised to keep the black children in certain schools. Remember the tornado in 1957? I still remember the tornado drills and wondered if my parents would know what to do if we had a tornado since they didn’t go to school! Still have fond memories and thankful for being chosen to attend the safety camp at Rotary Camp. i was ready to come home after 2 days.

  5. Jean Irvin Winchester
    Jean Irvin Winchester says:

    Just found this website. I also went to Horace Mann School from K – 5th grade (1952 – 1957). Lived at 3720 Garfield, which no longer exists. I remember some of these teachers that Lee mentioned. I also remember the girl being kidnapped even though I didn’t know her. I am now 66 and all of that seems so long ago but can still remember somethings like they were yesterday. Hate seeing what happened to the school but on the other hand appreciate that someone took the time to record the pictures.

  6. kay
    kay says:

    i sure hated to see that beatiful school building get torn down. i went there and have found memories ofit .one thing i do not remember is that i hit my head on one of the doors and they tied my hair instead of stitches. i remember going to the basement to clen erasers. and in the morning climbing up the main stairs to help mr. cobb ring the school bell with he kept the rope tied to the railing. and the summer schol activites, like dodge ball in the gym. it sure was a grand old school. wished it was still there. makes me very sad,that it is gone. i think those grand old buildings need to be saved for future generations to see and use. does anyone know
    where i can get the floor plans for that old school. i am going to try to find someone to build one.

  7. pam leek
    pam leek says:

    I just found this website too, and very glad someone. Loved Horace Mann too, my sisters and i lived at the garfield side on 38th street. Love playing on the morning playground. The bell would ring and we all had to line up walking up these long stairs pass the office. And the kindergarten class. With the double doors. Lining up for lunch and milk money was 2 cent. But last sitting on the wall out front very happy times for me.

  8. Jack McCullough
    Jack McCullough says:

    Loved Horace Mann. Attended 1948-1957. On to Westport HS. Would love to hear from fellow HM classmates! Have pre-demo photos and a brick or two.

    • Judy Tabor Smith
      Judy Tabor Smith says:

      I remember Mrs. Old had her for 6th grade. Was a great teacher. I went there 1951 to 1957. Lived on 39th and Garfield.

    • Judy Tabor Smith
      Judy Tabor Smith says:

      Hi Jack. This is Judy Tabor from Horace Mann. Had you in all my grade classes. From 3rd to 6th. Then went on to Paseo. Had a very bad crush on you for years. LOL Do you remember Jerry Burger? I believe you where good friend with him.


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