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The Lantern

The Student News Site of CFHS

The Lantern

The Student News Site of CFHS

The Lantern

An era of change: 1900-1950

Cannon Falls Schools experienced some big changes over the fifty year period of 1900 to 1950.
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Cannon Falls Historical Society

*Editor’s Note: This article is the second installment of the history of Cannon Falls Schools project. All materials are attributed to, and have permission from, the Cannon Falls Historical Society.

The 1900s seem so long ago, but they brought many interesting changes to the Cannon Falls school system. The way that Cannon Falls schools have changed over the years is fascinating, but not only have the school buildings changed, so has the way the school operates. Although it might seem pointless to learn about how our schools evolved, it made the history books. It’s only a small hop, skip and a 100-year jump away. 

The first big change in the 1900s was in 1912. A $12,000 addition was made to the 1883 building that is now the community center. Both of these buildings were huge stone structures. The new addition measured 86 by 84 feet and was two stories tall with a raised basement. It was about 10 feet to the east of the 1893 building and was connected through a passageway. The very first gym of the Cannon Falls district was located on the second floor of this building but it later became a library.

Also located in that same building was the Normal Training Program. The Normal Training Program was an organization taught by the school teachers that trained potential teachers how to become proper educators. The Minnesota State Legislature of 1902 made the decision to pay the expenses of the high schools that offered teacher training departments in their school. The Department made the decision on August 11, 1911,  although there were already 54 high schools in Minnesota that had the Normal Training Program.

The very first program started in 1911 and consisted of twenty-nine women and three men. As time passed there was a need for standard instructions for these teachers. Some of the teachers only had attended high school, while others had a college degree. 

Normal Schools hosted the program. Many schools in the 1900s offered the “Normal School” program. Normal Schools often were held in high schools, but some were in their very own building. A lot of colleges today were once Normal Schools in the 1900s. The program was closed in 1946 due to small enrollment.

 In 1931, another change was made to the community center building; the north half of the gym community center as well as three classrooms and a kitchen were added for the price of $43,000. At this time, this was the only performance stage in Cannon Falls. 

 School lunches were a big topic in the 1940s as well. Before 1946, students often walked home to eat lunch in the 60-minute period they had. Two sisters even took their lunch and went to the back room of Brynestads grocery store every day. Schools didn’t have a hot lunch program until 1946 when they thought of an alternative plan for lunch. Florence Olsen was hired to cook a pot of chili or soup; a cup full cost three cents. Velma Vernstom was the cook’s helper.

The 1900s brought many changes and improvements to Cannon Falls schools. In the years to come the school system will still be making great changes to the learning environment.

About the Contributor
Lizzie Tipton
Lizzie Tipton, Torch Writer
Hi, My name is Lizzie Tipton, I am 12 years old and I play Volleyball and Dance. I like reading and shopping. My favorite book is cyclone. One funny fact about me is I like apples and ranch.