Douglas County KS Schools
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From Phillip Metsker:
This is Colyer School built in 1879 on the corner of my family farm. My
great-grandfather was on the first school board. My grandfather, dad, and
also myself attended school here and now my wife and I own it. This picture
was taken right after the school was finished. The school was to cost $1000
to build, it was $1100 because the bell tower and bell was added. One of the
school board members was upset that it cost $100 more than it was supposed
to, so he brought his horse and a rope and pulled the bell and bell tower
off the new schoolhouse.
Colyer School District No. 42 Southwest Douglas County, Kansas
It is believed (from a recent interview with Phil Metsker owner of the
Colyer School) that the first building to be used as a school for this
district was located on the southwest corner of the intersection of N. 600
Road and E. 800 Road. This building was wood frame construction. It sat just
west across the intersection from the 1885 Progressive Church of the
The Metsker families were some of the earliest settlers in Douglas County.
Phil’s great, great, grandfather homesteaded the land and built a log cabin
here in 1858. This cabin was destroyed by fire in the 1860’s and a new home
was constructed in 1869.It was Phil’s second great uncle that donated the
land for the construction of Apple Pie School District No. 27.
The sum of $1000 was approved for the construction of the second and last
building to be used as a school. This expenditure was exceeded by one
hundred dollars due to the addition of a bell and tower. This additional
$100 expense created quite a stir in the community. Some felt it should be
paid for by the three school board members. To settle the disagreement,
Frank Lutz one of the board members, removed the bell and tower, and
repaired the roof. This original bell remains the property of Phil Metsker.
Both Phil and his father attended Colyer School. Phil’s father attended
Colyer through eighth grade and Phil through three grades, until its
The original schoolyard included a well and two hitching posts on the
southeast corner. Originally the building only had one door, in the front of
the building. It was discovered by the health department that the plans for
a fire escape were not acceptable. Those plans were that the older students
would open a window, where the teacher would place a wooden bench/stool.
Designated students would then jump out the window! For some reason the
county health department did not like this plan. The second door at the
southwest corner of the building was then added, as an emergency escape
The original schoolyard also included two out houses west of the school, a
softball field and playground equipment. The swings were relocated to Marion
Springs School. Phil mentioned the highly competitive softball games that
took place on that field.
The first term of school held here was that of 1897-98, and Kate C. Clark
taught 35 students. The school board consisted of James Ulrich, D. L. Burton
and A. E. Metsker. Pupils for that year included: Goldie Burrton; Maude,
Ernest, Ray and Mamie Clark; Fred, Jesse, May and Chester Ford; Melanie and
John Gormont; Eva, Oscar and Mattie Lutz; Clay Murphy; Lula North; Leda and
Charlie Oehrle; John Reed; Roy, Minnie George, Alice, and Ethie Shuler;
Jesse, Maude and Merle Studebaker; Lizzie, Willie, John and Earl Thompson;
Maud Ulrich; Annie, Birdie, Howard and Grover Van Kunkle.
Sonora Metsker taught the 1898-99 term, with C. M. Laptad teaching the
The first decade of the new century had the following teachers: Luella
Barton, Artis Metsker, Sonora Metsker, Grace Creel, Pearl Metsker, Lola
Flory, T. E. Vincent, and D. L. Burton. Members of the Board were: A. E.
Metsker, A. G. Shaw, and D. L. Burton.
The next ten years were taught by: Lanora Preston, Laura watts, Ethel
Kindred, and C. Fay Gorbutt, Board Members were: D. L. Burton, A. E. Metsker
and B. H. Powell.
Teaching the 1920’s were: Elizabeth Sturdy, Mildred Longanecker, Telitha
Newton, Bessie Brown, and Mary Allen teaching 14 students for the session
ending in 1930. Members of the Board were Frank Lutz, Otto Hack and Frank
The decade of the 1930’s were taught by; Dorothy Cummings, Inez Herlan,
Bessie Surles, Beatrice Clark, Dorothy Nuffer, Marzella Dwyer and Irene
Rusking. Board members were Floyd Heffner, Olin Heffner and Otto Hack.
The 1940’s were taught by: Goldie Carpenter and Arlene Flory. The school was
then closed for five years with student being sent to nearby Lone Star (due
to small enrollment). With an enrollment of 9 students, the school was
re-opened in the autumn of 1949, with Nancy Wilcox teaching. The Board
Members were John Metsker, Frank Lutz and Orlyn Vaughn.
Teachers for the 1950’s were: Betha Gibler, Estella Tiejens and Betty
Hoover. Lloyd Hoffman, Frank Lutz, Hugh Boyce and Orlyn Vaughn were the
The 1960’s proved to be the end for Colyer School. Teachers were Betty
Hoover and Belle Welter. With an enrollment of 10 students, the 1961-62
session was the last for Colyer School District No. 42.Making the decision
to disorganize were Board Members Hugh Boyce, Marily Miller and Orlyn
Vaughn. The district was disorganized and consolidated with Marion Springs
District No. 101. Because the new Marion Springs building was not yet
completed, the students were sent to the rural schools of Exceline and
Central, until construction was finished.
In spring of 1963, John P. Metsker bought the building at auction. It still
remains in the Metsker family.
I would like to express my deep appreciation to Phil and Debbie
Douglass-Metsker, for allowing me (Raymond Stone) in their home and
sharing their Metsker family history, as well as their history with Colyer
School no. 42.
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