Moline Public Schools
The first school house in Moline was built in 1843 on the north west corner of Sixteenth Street and Fourth Avenue, where the Burling-ton freight house now stands. “The people of the new town,” says an old settler, “felt the need of a school, and of some place in which to hold religious meetings.” Accordingly the owners of the town site donated two lots; a subscription was circulated and a brick school house built, which was for several years used also as a place of worship by different denominations. The first teacher, who also served as city clerk and justice of the peace, was Joseph Jackman, a native of Massachusetts, where he had been a school mate of Honorable Charles Atkinson. The school was subsequently taught by S. P. Hodges, who afterwards became county clerk. The present school system dates from April, 1873, when, under the city charter, and in accordance with the revised school laws, the following board of education was elected: C.. A. Wheelock, president; H. H. Grover, secretary; William H. Edwards, Ezra Smith, C. C. Nathan and Jonathan Huntoon. During the following year the board purchased sites for two new school houses; for the West Ward school, six lots of John Deere, for the East Ward school a part of H. R. Edwards block, paying respectively $3,000 and $1,500 in bonds. The Central school which also contained the High school, was erected on the old site, the contract calling for an outlay of $25,000. From these beginnings has grown the present excellent system, which according to the last school report is housed in ten large buildings, with all modern improvements, employing one hundred and twelve teachers, including special teachers and superintendent; and expended for instruction and supervision alone, exclusive of care and maintenance of buildings and grounds for the season of 1907, $68,186.74. The course of study begins with the kinder-garden; carries the child through eight grades into the High school, from which, after four years, he may pass on to any of the leading universities or colleges, or find himself equipped with a good education for the business of life. Throughout the course there is instruction by special teachers in music, drawing, physical culture and the “higher grades,” and in the High school is offered industrial work, in the shape of cooking and sewing for the girls, and manual training for the boys, looking possibly to the establishment before many years of a model trade school; an advantage much to be desired in such a manufacturing center as Moline. The enrollment of all the schools for 1907 was 3,836 pupils.
Source: Historic Rock Island County, pub. Kramer & Company, Rock Island, Illinois, 1908