The Bay City Times - Saturday, December 1, 1940.
Corbin Has Changed Little Since Enlargement in 1890
(EDITOR'S NOTE: This is twelfth in a series of stories relating to the history of Bay City schools, published eash Saturday in The Times, today deals with the Corbin school. Next week's history will tell the background of the new Farragut school.)
When the buzz saws of the Wheeler shipyard kept hundreds of men employed during the latter part of the local lumbering era here, the rooms of the Corbin school were overflowing with children of families who moved to this section of the city for employment. The school in those day was much too small for the enrollment, but when the Visitation school was opened, and the Wheeler industry was moved to Cleveland the attendance fell. However a few years later coal mines were opened on the outskirts of the city and five-room building was again filled with pupils. Lately, thought, the attendance is normal with about 125 students enrolled.
Long before the ground was broken for the present Corbin school, Capt. Benjamin Pierce, who lived at what is how Litchfield and Hart streets, gave to the city the site where the school now stands. A two-room bulding held the boys and girls for several years after the opening in January, 1884. The initial cost of the building was $2,150 and Miss Nora Thomas was the teacher.
Add More Rooms
In 1886 two more rooms were added and 300 children were in attendance with a faculty of four teachers. In the fall of that year the board of education gave a contract to Sylvester Bird to add another room at a cost of $1,435. Mrs. Clara Thomas was the first principal of the enlarged school.
During these early days the teachers tended the stoves used for the heating of the school, and an item in The Bay City Tribune, in December of 1885, says that the board of education of the second ward purchased 200 cords of green body wood at three cents a cord. The father-in-law of Mrs Frances L. Causley, 405 King street, was janitor and he piled a cord of wood in each room every moring.
In the old files of the school board of the ward is an item presented by a citizen who visited the new school, He said: "I was greatly benefited by my visit. In the primary room the children were learning to spell by the sound of the letters and the cheerful faces of the teachers added pleasantness to the rooms giving a homey feeling. In the advanced room I noted that the children held good standing position, held books properly and that there was no noice heard in the turning of a leaf."
Since 1890 the school building has changed little, although a fire July 3, 1907, in which a fireman, Fred Kiesel was killed, damaged the roof. Kiesel's death was the first fatality in the local fire department. He fell from a ladder, breaking his neck. Kiesel was captain of No. 8 company. The fire was started by children who were playing with fireworks a little ahead of Independence Day, and the alarm was turned in to the fire department at 10:30 p.m. The damages amounted to $2,500.
In a recent report made by educators it was found that only six items were listed as "fair" out of 21 factors for instructional efficiency. There is one listing of "good" and that is in height of the bulding. The "fair" factors are: classrooms, general condition, heating, natural lighting, equipment and safety. The investigating educators discovered that the school is in need of a larger playground, and that adequate facilies for recreation should be developed.
An important part of the activity at the Corbin school is the Corbin club, to which all parents belong automatically when their children enter the school. The group meets monthly to discuss problems of parents and teachers and to assist in the work of the school. Mrs. Clifford Williams is president.
Miss Edith Harper is the present principal of the school, and also teaches the kindergarten. Other teachers include Hilda Dehn, Dorothea Gollin, Josephine Kohler, and Bernice McDougald.