Burning Franklin School
Tribune photo published May 20, 1953
FIRE SCHOOL'S SCHOOL FIRE FIRES SCHOOL AGAIN - This is part of the crowd which came to watch fire tests in the old Franklin school conducted Monday and Tuesday at 4 p.m. Most of the crowd was made up of firemen attending the annual fire school at Iowa State college. The Ames fire department was called back to the scene about 11:15 p.m. Tuesday when a fire flared up again in the old building. Flames were burning in the first floor of the building when the fire department arrived. The flames were extinquished quickly.
This photo faces north northeast from behind Willson School (now serving as Heartland Senior Services Center). When viewing the enlarged image, one can see Ames Lumber Company on Lincoln Way as well as the top of the Collegian Theater on Main Street.
The arrow indicates the viewpoint of the featured photo at the top of this page. This 1949 aerial view of Lincoln Way also shows Franklin School (1), Ames Lumber Company (2), the Collegian Theater (3), the Ames High School football stadium (4) and Fieldhouse (5), as well as the Iowa Highway Commission headquarters (6), St. Cecilia Catholic Church (7), and the Chicago & North Western Depot (8).
|Ames Daily Tribune, December 9, 1952|
|OLD FRANKLIN SCHOOL MAY
BECOME TESTING GROUND FOR 500 FIREMEN - The old Franklin school will become
a testing ground for 500 firemen next May if plans being made by the Ames
board of education and Iowa State college materialize. Indications
are that the plans will go through, since both sides are anxious to either
get rid of or obtain the house.
The college may get the house for $50 or less and the promise to clear it away after the fire demonstration next May. The school board is happy to have someone purchase the house, since its disposal could become a problem. Original plans were to sell the house at auction.
Mark Brosier of the Iowa State college, head of the college's fire school, appeared before the Ames school board at its regular monthly meeting Monday evening and presented his plan to have the college purchase the building. No definite price was agreed upon, however, since Brosier said he would need clearance through various college officials. A purchase price of $50 was mentioned at the meeting. Brosier told the board that if the building were purchased, it would be used for demonstration purposes for the 500 firemen who will attend the college's annual fire school May 18, 19, and 20 of next year.
He said that the fire in the building would be used to demonstrate fog nozzles in fire fighting. Both he and Fire Chief Sam Long, who also attended, emphasized that the building would not be burned to the ground. A flash fire would be started in one of the rooms and immediately extinguished by use of fog nozzles, he said. A water curtain consisting of a number of sprays would be set up between the old and new buildings to protect the new school, they said.
The Ames fire department would also have its equipment standing by in preparation for an emergency, the Chief added.
The old Franklin school, one of Ames' oldest homes, is more than 65 years old and has been used as a school building for 25 years. School officials said that should the negotiations with the college fail to materialize, the building would be sold at auction. A stoker in the building and other valuable objects would be removed from the building if it is sold to Iowa State college.
The new Franklin school is nearly ready for occupancy. The school board expressed the hope that the Franklin school children may be able to move into the new building by the second semester. Only major item yet to be completed are ceilings in two rooms and a closet.
Although the building will be ready to move into early next year, there will still be unfinished work which will be completed within the next two years. Because the school was started while the board had insufficient funds to cover the entire cost, parts of the school will be unfinished until such time that funds are available. Only one of the school's two classrooms will be completely finished when the school children move in.
|From the 1970 Ames Community School Centennial Booklet:|
|Prior to the construction of the present Ruth B. Willson School, the Ames Community Schools operated Franklin Opportunity School on the same site now used for Willson. Franklin School started operations in 1932 and continued serving children for the next twenty years. This school was housed in a two-story frame house redesigned to accommodate about fifteen pupils. The school, located just to the north of the Willson building, was razed during the summer prior to the opening of the Ruth B. Willson School. [In fact, Franklin School wasn't destroyed until after the construction of Willson School.] Willson School has been in continuous operation since 1952. It has provided an educational environment for academically handicapped pupils in an ungraded structure utilizing the continuous progress concept.|
|View other Tribune photos related to Willson School.|
This photo shows a photographer (bottom right) filming the firemen. See image below.
This view is from inside Willson School.
|Terry Adams relates a 1947 remembrance of Franklin School:|
|Ruth Willson, the teacher at Franklin School, was my neighbor on Ridgewood. Pamela, my younger sister, had polio, so Linda and I were quarantined and couldn't go out in public. Knowing that we wanted to watch the high school football games, Ruth would take us with her to Franklin School where she allowed us to view the games from the second story windows. This was a great place to watch because the stadium was right behind Franklin. Ruth was a wonderful lady.|