The Bay City Times - Saturday, October 19, 1940
Built When City Was ‘Boom’ Town
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The sixth in a series of school histories published each Saturday by The Bay City Times, is used today, and tells of the background of the Kolb school. Next week’s story will relate the early days of the Lincoln school.)
As Bay City grew from a former village to one of the most prosperous of Michigan cities, the Kolb school building was added to other educational institutions here. It was built 52 years ago, four years after the destruction by fire of a frame building erected on the site in 1884. This first building, although far from efficient from the standpoint of modern education, was hailed at the time especially because of its Queen Anne style of architecture.
The daughter of the contractor for the first Kolb school, Miss Emma Gene Pfeifer is a teacher in the present building, and has been there for a number of years. Her father was E. J. Pfeifer. The school was named for George Kolb, Sr., from whom the land was purchased.
The east wing of the present school was built in 1888, during the period when Bay City was known as a “boom” town. At this time the population increased in leaps, as the lumbering industry continued to be a major factor in its growth. In fact, the prosperity of the city depended upon logs, and if they were plentiful, business was bright and active, and if scarce, there was a lull. Fishing was a leading industry, too, and now almost extinct sturgeon were plentiful in the adjacent Saginaw Bay. Woodenware factories also were numerous at this time.
Only four rooms composed the present Kolb school at the time of its erection, but two years later four more rooms were added, providing the structure of today, which is still in fairly good condition. It has a gymnasium in the basement, and includes a hospitality room, and kitchen and equipment, added in the last two years. Judged on 21 factors determining instruction efficiency, the building is considered “good” as far as its location and playground are concerned. On eight features, landscape, construction, height for efficient administration, general condition, heating, water supply, and equipment, it is judged “fair.” The school has a site of 22.1 acres, and has a capacity of 200 pupils.
The first public school P.T.-A. organization in the city was formed at Kolb school, Oct. 26, 1922, by Miss Victoria E. Morse, principal, who held the post prior to Miss Ethel Staudacher, who came in 1933. Other principals were Miss Edith Davis; George Bryan, former music supervisor in Rochester, N. Y., and now living at 907 North Jackson street; Harry J. Defoe, local industrialist, who for awhile was principal of the Park school, and who is remembered for installing the first telephone at Kolb for 50 cents, the cost of the materials, as he did the work himself; Clyde F. Bollinger, now a professor at the University of Oklahoma, located at Norman; W. G. Burton, 1269 Midland road, later principal of Eastern Junior High school; A. J. Armstrong, 300 Raymond street, who also was a junior high school principal, later serving at T.L. Handy. First principal of the frame building was Miss Margaret Gannon, whose staff included Mrs. George Lusk, 600 West Vermont street, Miss Jennie Forger, and Miss Nellie Duke.
Parents were active in school affairs at Kolb, even before establishment of the P.T.-A., and often held meetings in the evening in the building. They carried lanterns along the dark streets of the city to the event, and oil lanterns were also used for a considerable time in the school for party illumination.
Included on the present staff at Kolb are Miss Helen Balwinski, Mrs. Maud B. Behrisch, Mrs. Mildred J. Fox, Miss Pfeifer, Miss Margaret Tague, and Miss Alice E. Townsend.