See Mr. Towns, I WAS AWAKE in your 4th hour American History class in ’64 …
PS. I am sure Mr. Towns would had given me a B- or at least a C+ on this paper, BUT...
I felt that at least ONCE in my Life I deserved an A+
My Grateful THANKS to Linda Perrin '64 for sharing her copy of the
1955 Beecher Board of Education's newsletter that was sent to the parents of the Beecher District.
Also, my Thanks to Mr. Lewis for putting up with my stubby fingers in his third hour typing class. 40 words per minute with five mistakes was my BEST ! ! ! and still is....
( Do you still have your "Christmas Tree" plinked out on the old MANUAL Royal typewriters ? ? ?)
Since this page was last updated: January 10, 2016
In the Beginning...
A Brief History of Beecher School District
Beecher School District is located in Mount Morris Township, Genesee County, in the Great State of Michigan.
Mt. Morris Township, while being one of the earliest townships to receive settlers, was one of the latest to be separately organized. From 1833 to 1836 its territory was a part of Grand Blanc Township. It was under the jurisdiction of Flint Township from 1836 to 1838, when it was divided between Flushing Township and Genesee Township until 1855. Mt. Morris Township was formed from the east section of Flushing Twp. and the west section of Genesee Twp. by act of the State Legislature, approved on February 12, 1855. When the state legislature established Mt. Morris Township they decreed that the first Township meeting would be held on the first Monday in April. Thus, the first Mt. Morris Township election was held on April 2, 1855, in an abandoned log house in the southeast corner of the Township. There were 74 votes cast at this election and the Township was organized with elected officials. Mount Morris Township derives its name from Mount Morris, Livingston Township, New York State, and the early home of many of the first settlers. Genesee Township received its name from its early pioneers also. They came from “Genesee County” in western New York State.
The first ripples of the oncoming tide of immigration reached the lands of Mount Morris Township in May, 1833. In that month "Uncle Ben" Pearson, of Avon, Livingston county, New York, purchased lands from the US Government on sections 25 and 36 (just West of Saginaw St. and Pierson Rd. SEE Section Maps Below). In August 1833 Mr. Pearson built the first house in Mount Morris Township, just south of Pierson Rd. on the NE corner of Section 36 of Mount Morris Township and on Oct 1 was living in it. Shortly afterwards there arrived, at Todd's tavern on the banks of the Flint river at the Grand Traverse, which was Mr. Pearson's headquarters, four men--Lewis Buckingham, John Pratt, Isaac N. Robinson and Richard Marvin, from Mount Morris, Livingston county, New York--who were also in search of lands. Happy in the prospect of securing neighbors, Mr. Pearson guided them to the neighborhood of his claims, about four miles north of Flint on the Saginaw Turnpike, where all except Marvin entered lands and later settled. This was the beginning of the "Coldwater Settlement”.
The “Coldwater Settlement” received its name due to the fact that all of the early settlers were people of exemplary habits and irreproachable character. They were all “Total Abstainers”, thus the “Coldwater” name. This gave them good health which enabled them to resist better the common diseases. Good health caused good appetites thus their less healthy neighbors called the area “Hungry Hill”.
The first school held in the “Coldwater Settlement” was taught in the house of Lewis Buckingham who had settled on
Section 30 of Genesee Township (south of Carpenter Rd.— roughly between Saginaw St. and Dort). It was taught by Miss Sarah Curtis as early as the winter of 1835-36. There were some eight or ten pupils that attend that winter. Her salary was one dollar a week.
At this settlement also was formed the earliest religious association of the township, in 1834. Among the prominent Mount Morris members were John Pratt and Charles N. Beecher. The society was Presbyterian, but anyone was counted a member who helped to pay the preacher. A church was built here as early as 1836, where services were held for twenty years. The first pastor was Elder Cobb.
About 1836 or 1837 the children of the settlement went to a log schoolhouse (similar to the log cabin pictured at the left) situated on section 31 in Genesee Township, in which the first teacher was Miss Harriet Hoyes. Soon afterwards another log school house was built on the Moses Camp farm, on section 19 in Genesee Twp, in which it is claimed Newton Robinson taught the first school between Carpenter, Coldwater and Dort Highway.
The settlement made by Frederick Walker in October 1836, on section 12, Mt. Morris Twp., was the future site of the village of Mount Morris. Mr. Walker was an Englishman, who had lived for some time in Dutchess County, New York. When the post office was established he became the first postmaster, the office being kept at his house. In the beginning there was little to indicate this as the place for a village, but its destiny was decided when in 1857 it was designated a station on the Flint & Pere Marquette railroad.
The first school structure built in Mount Morris Township was not built until about 1848. It was erected on the south-west corner of Saginaw Road and Coldwater Road. The structure was a one room wooden building painted white. In it D.G. Wilder was perhaps the first teacher. This building was converted into the Beecher School Library in 1936 when the new Beecher High School was completed on the northwest corner of Saginaw Road and Coldwater Road. The original building was destroyed by the 1953 Tornado. In 1954 the Beecher Memorial Library was built on the site at a cost of$29,628.
Edwin Cornwell, Grandfather of E.L. Cornwell, from whom the Beecher School Board purchased the school property, arrived in the Township in Oct 1836 from Connecticut. He settled in the central part of section 14, Mt. Morris Twp. (about half a mile west of the Saginaw Turnpike). He, his wife and 2 children cut a road thru the wilderness from the Saginaw Turnpike to the place where he built his residence. Mr. Cornwell killed 19 wolves during his first winter here. His nearest neighbor was Jacob Dehn, who settled on section 18 in 1835, the present Travis Farm
The Beecher School District in 1955 consisted of one High School with grades
seventh to twelfth and six elementary schools grades kindergarten to sixth. Buick added 4 rooms and a gymnasium in 1955.
As of 1956 They were:
Beecher High School #1 7-12 44 roomsbuilt 1936cost $508,000
George St. Elementary K-6 12 rooms built 1949 cost $176,223
Buick Elem & Jr. High K-8 13 rooms built 1949+55 cost $150,600
Buell Elementary K-7 23 rooms built 1955 cost $376,755
Kurtz Elementary K-6 8 rooms built 1955 cost $132,094
Klein St. Elementary K-6 4 rooms built 1955 cost $94,379
Summit Jr. High was not constructed until after 1956
The school district once operated these buildings in the Fifties and Sixties:
•Beecher High School #1 - The original multi-building campus was located
at the NW intersection of Coldwater and Saginaw Roads.
It is the current site of administrative offices for the district
•Beecher Memorial Library constructed on site of Original School house.
•Beecher Middle School (Summit Jr. High) still holding classes.
•Northgate Elementary School - is currently occupied by district offices.
•Buell Elementary School - The building was shuttered in 2002, vandals set it on fire in 2005 and the total building was demolished in January 2009
•Buick Elementary School - has been razed and I-475 now traverses where the school use to be.
•Kurtz Elementary School - has been razed.
•Messer Early Childhood Center (formerly Messer Elementary School)
most of the building has been razed, with the exception of a portion of the structure to the south, which is currently unoccupied.
•George St. Elementary School - has been razed.
•Klien St Elementary – Unknown status as of now
•Downey Elementary, for you “Upperclass Mates”, was closed and torndown
in the Fifties.
& Jr High
Summit Jr. High
15 Acre Site
The two story brick school house (which we all cherish in our memories) was original built in 1936 on property purchased from Area Pioneer Edwin Cornwell’s Grandson E.L. Cornwell. It contained 44 class rooms for grades seven to twelve and cost $508,000. Beecher District had an enrollment of 1,163 pupils in 1955 in grades K-12.
The High School was severely damaged in the June 8, 1953 Beecher F5 Tornado. Students started the
’53-‘54 fall semester by attending classes in busses and trailers parked on the school property until the repairs were completed. In the Fifties the Industrial arts building was added to the campus. In 1959 the new field house and swimming pool was opened. In the early Sixties the music building was added just south of the Industrial Arts building. Add your you personal stories of your experiences during that SCARY and terriable night at our '53 Tornado Page.
In 2003 the Board of Education voted to close the Old Beecher Schoolhouse we loved with the graduation of the 20O4 senior class and move the senior classes to the Dolan School on Neff Rd for all future senior classes. The old Schoolhouse is still standing and is being used for Administrative offices. In the process of moving ALL of the class pictures of Beecher Graduates that hung in our halls were removed and have never been seen since.
Also, most of the trophies that were in the showcases are gone. Where or Where We Know not Where….they say…..
Buell Elem., Buick Elem. & Jr. High, George St., and Kurtz Schools have been torn down. Northgate is being used to maintenance and Summit Jr. High is still holding classes.
We can never go back to those “GOOD TIMES AT GOOD OLE BEECHER HIGH” but by golly we will never forget the good times we had, the classmates we shared our lives with and those Great Teachers that gave us the strong foundations for us to build on for the rest of our lives.
GO ON BEECHER GO ! ! !
Bucky D. Buccaneer
4th Hour American History
Mr. R. Towns
Map Source: Title: Standard atlas of Genesee County, Michigan : including a plat book of the villages, cities and townships of the county ... patrons directory, reference business directory and departments devoted to general information. Author: Geo. A. Ogle & Co. Publication Info: Chicago : Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1907.
Also at the meeting it was agreed that the sums of .75c would be paid to maintain blackboards, and 18 3/4c to be paid for a new broom. There were exactly 25 families living in the “Coldwater” Settlement in 1852.
Charles N. Beecher came from New York and settled upon Section 24 (Northgate-Downey area) Mt. Morris Twp. in the fall of 1835. He later became a resident of the City of Flint. Our original corner School was named after him.
Edward A. Beecher was engaged to teach at Beecher School at a special meeting held on Nov.16, 1852. His salary was $23 per month plus “board and lodge”. This special meeting was preceded by a period when the County Board of Inspectors had to call all Mt. Morris Twp. school offices vacant and had to re-elect an entire new school board.
Sixty pupils were enrolled in that winter term of 1852 which lasted 70 days. No one had perfect attendance. Average attendance for the term was 44 2/3 days. Only 16 of the 70 pupils were under 10 years of age. There were 5 boys 18 years of age and 1 boy of 20.