Turn of the Century in Miami County Kansas
The Ursuline Sisters arrived from Louisville, Kentucky, in 1895 to set up a boarding school. In 1924, the nuns added a junior college and normal school that was closed in 1958 but the academy continued as a private girls school until 1971. By 2010, the Order moved to Kentucky and made plans to sell the remaining buildings and land.
Home to the Sisters of Ursuline established in 1894
1894 (December) Sister Maurice Albert and Sister Jerome Schaub left Kentucky and headed for Kansas
1895 (May) a 5 acre cornfield was purchased. People of Paola donated $725.00 to the Ursuline Sisters.
1895 (July) excavation for the Academy began at the cost of 12,000 dollars 1896 (March) the Academy was ready for occupancy
1886 (June) the Academy building was dedicated by Rt. Rev. Bishop Fink
1896 (September) school opened with 4 boarders and about 40 day scholars
– Two of the first students were Indian Boys who were left by their mother to be educated
– One of the first kindergarteners became Mother Cecilia Koehler, third superior of Paola
1898 (January) the State Legislature of Kansas as the “Ursuline Academy of Our Lady of Lourdes” chartered the school
1901 the first class to graduate with 4 years of academic courses
1902 the Academy became exclusively a boarding school for girls with day school accommodations for the Academic grades
1902 a small chaplain’s residence was erected and Rev. Father Hippalite Topet, became the first spiritual director. The building is now a home for a group of adults with developmental disabilities from Lake Mary.
1903 The Ursuline Sisters taught at St. Patrick’s Holy Trinity Schools in Paola until 1995.
1904 (3.5) acres were added to the original 5 and a second building was started. It cost 22,000 dollars to build
– This building is known today as the Mother House. This building contains the present chapel, dormitories, dining and recreation halls.
– The next decade was steady growth.
– The Academy was one of the leading educational institutions of Eastern Kansas and even though the tuition was fair the sisters were paid with goods, such as produce and chickens or services in lieu of fees.
1913 the road dividing the Ursuline grounds was vacated by Mayor L.S. Smith.
1916 the Auditorium and Music Conservatory was completed at a cost of $100,000. Wilder and Wright of Kansas City drew the design and F.M. Spencer & Sons of Topeka secured the contract. The auditorium seats more than 300 people.
1919 a second house was purchased for the chaplain
1922 the Academy became a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.
– Both buildings became outgrown and the grounds were extended to include (30) acres to the south and west
1924 a Jr. College was started- it offered associate degrees in a variety of fields and courses for the certification of teachers. Approximately 80% of the teachers in the rural and elementary schools of Miami County were trained at Ursuline College. Six superintendents received their college training at Ursuline.
1926 the first class to graduate from the Jr. College had only 4 students
1935 the largest class to graduate from the Jr. College had 21 students
1941 the Ursuline Camp was opened, offering hundreds of boys and girls the opportunity for outdoor fun, sports and recreation every summer. Sisters who were on break from teaching would-be counselors.
1947 Ursuline College adopted the new American College concept whereby a Jr. College was considered a 4-year college by including grades 11 and 12.
1957 Ursuline College closed
1965 Mother Charles McGrath, with the cooperation of other Paola citizens, spearheaded the effort that obtained a grant under the Older Americans Act of 1965 to start The Senior
Center, with Ursuline Academy as grantee.
1966 Five-acre tract of land valued at $25,000.00 was donated by Ursuline to the Assembly of God Church ministers to construct a nursing home, which is now Medicalodge.
1969 One of Ursuline greatest accomplishments was the founding of Lake Mary. It all began with Sister Mary Charles McGrath, superior of the Ursuline Sisters.
– The sisters contributed 34 acres of land and $50,000 to get the building started.
1971 the teaching operation ended with over 50,000 students being educated
1972 The lower level of the auditorium became the Happy Seniors Center where older adults enjoyed art, ceramics, games, films and parties.
– The PACA Food Pantry began in the Ursuline Motherhouse under the direction of Sister Eugene Reynolds.
1977 Sister Elizabeth Dye helped organize and became the first project director of the Foster Grandparents Program.
1978 Sister Charles McGrath and Sister Frances served on the Advisory Board of Poala United, whose aim was to develop a community education program.
1985 Ursuline sold the auditorium to the City of Paola for $1.00. It is now known as the Paola Community Center.
1986 The original Ursuline Academy building and its adjoining Brescia Hall directly to the west were torn down. The building served as the original home to the sisters and as classrooms for the academy itself.
– The cupola from the Brescia Hall finds a new home upon the Wilson Funeral Home lawn. It sits over a natural spring with a stone and concrete basin that collects water from the spring.
1998 Builders for Christ, a group of volunteers for the Pearl Street Baptist Church, stayed at the Mother House for a summer during construction of the Baptist Church.
2000 Friends of Ursuline Gardens was established to enhance, preserve, protect and restore the historic Ursuline Academy Campus Gardens utilizing local community volunteers.
James Patterson moved to Paola, KS in 1912 and established his winter quarters for his traveling Circus which continued until 1925. In 1925 Patterson purchased the 15 car Gentry Brothers Circus and on April 28, 1925, he was ready to perform as Gentry Bros. – James Patterson Show.
1894: Purchased his first merry-go-round
1902: Organized a carnival with “Pop” Brainerd
1905: James Patterson became sole proprietor of the Great Patterson Shows
1916: James Patterson purchased the Gollmar Brothers Circus and toured as the Gollmar Bros.-Jas. Patterson Circus for the 1917 season only
1918-1922: The Great Patterson Show was a carnival
1923: Purchased the Gentry Brothers Circus
1925: Gentry Bros.-Patterson Shows was foreclosed on September 18
1926-1936: James owned and operated a carnival ride called the “Hey Dey”
1937-1941: James leased the “Hey Dey” to North Beach Amusement Park in Texas
1948: James died May 26
At their most basic level, names are nothing but labels that human beings assign to objects and abstractions.
But on a deeper level, names are symbols with history and meaning. “Jefferson Highway,” in fact, at one time was a national symbol.
In the early part of the 20th century, with the automobile still in its booming infancy, titans of commerce and local governments across the country clamored to improve the muddy tracks they inherited from their horse-and-buggy ancestors. The train had been the only viable means of long-distance travel, but the potential of the car was palpable.
Consider: Fewer than 500,000 vehicles were registered in the U.S. in 1910. A decade later, it was 10 million, a 20-fold increase.
Highway associations were formed to build interstate routes connecting hundreds of towns. More than 250 such groups signed up directors, subscribers and members at fees ranging from $5 to $1,000 to build “rock roads” such as Lincoln Highway, Dixie Highway and Pikes Peak Ocean to Ocean Highway. The name of one, Old Spanish Trail between St. Augustine, Fla., and San Diego lives on today in the Slidell area and on the west bank of St. Charles Parish.
Another was Jefferson Highway, conceived as the grandest north-south route through the middle of the United States, connecting New Orleans with Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The name, for the third U.S. President and the architect of the Louisiana Purchase, and the terminal points were decided early on. But the exact route was a matter of great debate. Every little village in 10 states wanted to be part of it. Thus the New Orleans Association of Commerce hosted the first Jefferson Highway Association convention in November 1915. It expected 50 delegates.
Six times as many came. They included 62 of Kansas’ “oratorical big guns,” who set up headquarters at the DeSoto Hotel in New Orleans after arriving at Union Station in what The Times-Picayune described as “two Pullman sleepers representing the highest art of railroad building and ensuring comfort and the opportunity for a good time on the route.”
Travel pioneers such as these were about to put the Pullman company out of business. Amid cheers, songs of hometown pride, hissing and cat-calling, delegates hammered out a route for Jefferson Highway. “Never had New Orleans known the enthusiasm and pandemonium which reigned at the meeting,” The Picayune said.
Over the next 11 years, well before the federal government took over the job, the Jefferson Highway Association built or connected almost 2,200 miles of road. It adopted a nickname for the route, “From Palm to Pine,” and blazed it with signs: a vertical rectangle divided into three bars, blue at the top and bottom and the letters JH in the white middle.
On Feb. 4, 1926, a cavalcade of 132 people in 32 cars, most of them from Winnipeg, completed a 13-day trip to celebrate the completion of the highway. The visitors saluted a granite obelisk that the Daughter of the American Revolution had erected in 1917 to mark the southern terminus of the route. A picture of New Orleans acting Mayor Arthur O’Keefe greeting Winnipeg Mayor Ralph Webb was published the next day on the front page of this newspaper.
Already, however, the end was nearing for this extraordinary period of enthusiasm that built and named roads across the United States. Within a year of the Winnipeg caravan’s arrival in New Orleans, the federal government decided to start numbering highways all across the country. That deprived the named highways of much of their symbolism.
The obelisk still stands, at the intersection of St. Charles and Common streets in the Central Business District of New Orleans. But Jefferson Highway hereabouts became part of U.S. 90 and Louisiana 48, and it took on equally unromantic names elsewhere. The original name lives on in only a few spots along the 2,194-mile route, notably in parts of the Midwest, Baton Rouge and a faded stretch of highway hugging the Mississippi River in East Jefferson.
(Drew Broach of the Times Picayune newspaper of New Orleans)