Wymore Arbor State, July 1980
by Charles Trump (Class of 1950)
On April 27, 1917, Union Center District
161 was formed. It included the districts of Island Grove Center,
Lone Star, Wildcat and Island Grove, covering about 17 sections.
On May 17, 1917, the first school board was elected and a meeting
was held for discussion of a new school building.
On Sept. 26, 1917, a new stucco building, consisting of eight
rooms, plus hallways, was opened for first classes. At first
it held grades one through 10. The first graduating class was
in 1922, consisting of Blanche Emerson Loberg, Frank Blecha and
John. Elwood. In the 1930's kindergarten was added. The last
graduating class was in 1952; Bob Weins being the only senior.
Union Center then contracted with Wymore District 114. On July
1, 1957, Union Center was dissolved and made part of Wymore.
When school first opened, transportation was heavy, factory-built
horsedrawn hacks, teams driven by older students. Later tin hacks
built on spring wagon chassis, built by John Clopper, were used
and remained in operation until nearly the time the school closed
when the roads were bad. The first motor vehicle used as a school
bus was in 1926, a Model T Ford touring car driven by Bob Morris.
Buildings around the school consisted
of a teacherage and garage, a house and garage for the custodian,
and two outhouses.
In 1890 church services were conducted
in Union Hall, just west of where the school stands. In 1890
the Zion Evangelical Church was built, one mile west of Union
Center. A parsonage was built in 1907. At one time membership
at the church was over 100. Union Hall was moved and about 1922
a country store was built across the road west of the school.
The store did a thriving business, buying cream and eggs, and
selling a full line of groceries, gas and oil.
The largest enrollment of the school
was about 135; the smallest 40. Bob Morris is the only one living
in the community that started when the school was first opened,
graduating there in 1928
While the school was in operation, once
a month a community meeting was held at the school. Entertainment
consisted of a program either by school students or from some
group outside the district. Afterwards, refreshments were served.
When the school closed, there were no
more community clubs, the church and store closed shortly after
and were torn down, and many farm residences and buildings were
Charles Trump, a member of the reunion
committee, started with a list of about 740 students and 90 teachers.
The whereabouts of about 75 students and 22 teachers remained
unknown. Of about 127 graduates, 116 are still living. Of the
total students over 100 are deceased. Two hundred seventy are
living in Nebraska, 154 in Gage County. Sixty are in California,
37 in Kansas, 30 in Colorado, 22 in Oregon, one in Canada, and
one in the Canal Zone. Students have been located in 34 states.