One of the earliest posts on this blog was “Small Schools” an exploration of of five school buildings built from 1891 through 1901, namely Menasha's Forth Ward School, Punhoqua School in Oshkosh, Dartford School in Green Lake, the Edgar Grade School, Edgar, Wisconsin and Winneconne's West Side School. All the buildings were of a more diminutive scale, based on a similar floor plan and exterior features. About a year ago I came across an old postcard of the Fifth Ward and Waupaca County Teacher's Training School in New London, Wisconsin and there was something very familiar about the building. The fenestration, arched entrance and bell cast hipped roof looked much like the 1900 grade school in Edgar Wisconsin. I did as much online research as I could but found no information about the building. In my frustration I turned to the director of the New London Public Museum, Christine Cross. I sent her images of both the schools in Edgar and the 5th Ward School, asking her and her husband, archivist at the Oshkosh Public Museum, to compare the two. Their conclusion was, given arraignment of the window, arched entry and roof shape that the buildings were by the same architect. Ms. Cross went even further by locating an article in the New London Republican of 7/24/1907 crediting William Waters with the design and specifications for the new school building.
The school was known as the Fifth Ward School or North Division School and was later renamed McKinley School. It also served as the Waupaca County Teacher Training School. As with the other schools of this pattern, there was central pavilion with an arched entrance flanked by windows. Above the front door was a set of double windows with two windows on either side, all the window had jack arch lintels. At the top of the wall, above the roof line was a dormer with a single arched window with an elongated keystone. Wings on either side of the the central pavilion had nine windows, three on the basement level, three on the first floor and three on the second floor, along the sides were four window on each level. At the back of the school was another wing, giving the structure a “T” shape. There were windows on basement and upper floors as well as side doors protected by porches with shed roofs. The school was built of a cream colored brick and had a bell cast hip roof. Chimneys on the back side flanked a bell tower that sat at the center of the roof ridge.