The First Hundred Years

Davis, Holladay and Drachman 1900 - 1910 - Part 1

On April 12, 1901, the three School Board members of Tucson School District 1 met at the clerk’s office at Safford School. The time was 4 p.m.

The trustees had gathered to consider the drawings of architect H. S. Trost for two new school buildings and plans from architects Forbes and Nevins for a third. It was a momentous meeting, since the trustees were considering the most ambitious building program ever envisioned by any previous Board.

“I move,” said one member who also served as clerk of the Board, “that we accept these plans and I further move that the new schools be named ’Davis,’ ‘Holladay,’ and ‘Drachman.’”

The motion was passed immediately and unanimously by the Board members--William C. Davis, Leonidas (Lon) Holladay and Samuel H. Drachman. Drachman had made the motion and Davis seconded it. Davis, elected the month before to replace Thomas F. Wilson, had been on the Board but a few days.

The action was not taken without some resentment, portrayed by one J. Osborn, who at a meeting April 17 of qualified electors of the district, made a motion that a committee of three be appointed to rename the schools. His motion died for lack of a second.

As the decade 1900-1910 opened, only the Safford and Congress Street Schools were in operation. The Main Street School, in a rented building in the Barno Libre, had been closed and the Old Adobe School east of the Southern Pacific tracks was under lease to a family. The Adobe School also was in serious need of repairs.

Although enrollment figures were not reported by the Board, the two schools were overcrowded to the extent that many eligible students in the district were unable to attend.

On February 9, 1900, a meeting of qualified electors of the school district, well aware of the growing population of Tucson and the school district, was called to consider the sale of Block 195, belonging to the school district, and another piece of school property situated vaguely “south of the S.P. Railroad tracks.” All proceeds were to go “to the building of a new school house or houses.”

The voters approved because the land, particularly Block 195 containing the Congress Street School, was situated “down town” and had become desirable business property and a less-desirable location for a school.

Ten months later, on Christmas Eve, 1900, the Congress Street School and site were sold to the highest bidder, L. H. Manning, who paid $25,725. The following March, the land south of the tracks was sold to Judge William H. Barns for $6,100. The Board now had enough money in its school building fund to proceed with the school plans.

At the April 12, 1901, meeting the Board decided that one school would be located in the southwest part of the city, one would be placed in the northwest and one on the east side. The Drachman School was to be built in the southwest at Convent and 1 8th Street; the Davis School would be located in the northwest at St. Mary’s Road and Granada; and the Holladay School was to be in the east, at First Avenue and Seventh Street--the present site of Tucson High School.

The Drachman site was purchased for $1,000, the Davis site for a like amount and the Holladay land was purchased for $950.

No time was lost in getting down to business of constructing the Board member namesakes. On April 30, 1901, H. O. Sullivan was awarded the bid for the Drachman School of $7,479. Doe and Woodward, on July 26 that year, were awarded the contract for Davis School at $8,621.92 and on August 12, the same firm received the contract for the Holladay School at $7,890.50.

Samuel H. Drachman was a member of the present well-known family of Drachmans that first settled in Tucson in the early 1860’s. Phillip Drachman, the father of Harry Arizona Drachman, first male Anglo child born in Tucson, was an original petitioner for the establishment of Tucson School District 1.

Sam Drachman was born in Petrikov, Russian Poland, on November 3, 1837. He remained there until he was 18 years of age, shipped to America and resided in the East and South. He served with the Confederate Army during the Civil War.

Drachman had read Ross Browne’s book on Arizona and was “as I might say, electrified.” He sailed to San Francisco and made it to Los Angeles by stage, thence to Yuma and finally through Apache territory to Tucson, arriving September 16, 1867. In Tucson, he established a cigar and tobacco shop on West Congress Street.

Interested in public affairs, Drachman was a member of the Seventh Territorial Legislature and served as a councilman for the City of Tucson.

According to the book, Arizona--The Youngest State, Drachman contributed much to education. It said, “Public education in Tucson owes Mr. Drachman a great debt, for during the nine years of his service as school trustee, he achieved great and lasting results doing work which still stands as a memorial to him.”

On December 17, 1875. Drachman was married in San Bernardino. California. to Jennie Migel, a native of Russia. They had three children, a son Herbert, and two daughters. Lucille and Myrtle. Myrtle, in the early 1900’s, was a school teacher in Tucson Public Schools.

Drachman died in Tucson on December 26, 1911. On December 27, the Arizona Daily Star editorialized:

“He had been for many years one of the foremost and one of the most public-spirited characters in Tucson.”

Drachman School originally had four rooms. Four more were added in 1908 and four were constructed in 1914. In 1927, two more rooms were built and in 1936 two classrooms and a nurse’s office were constructed.

In 1948, the building was 80 percent destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt in 1950 with 17 classrooms, a community room, administration offices and a nurse’s room. M. M. Sundt was the contractor for the rebuilding at a total cost of $213,199.15. Principal of Drachman School is now Carl E. Lopez.

Holladay School originally had four rooms. In 1908, four more were added and a single room was constructed in 1918.

The building was demolished in 1923 to make way for the new Tucson High School.

Leonidas (Lon) Holladay’s grandfather was born in England. He brought his family to Tennessee to establish a plantation. There, T. D. Holladay, father of Lon, was born. In the 1850’s T. D. moved his family from his father’s home to Austin, Texas, and in 1871 established a ranch near San Bernardino, California.

Lon was born in Overton County, Tennessee, on April 10, 1854. He was an only son. At the age of 15 he entered upon a railroad career starting out as a fireman. He became an engineer in 1874. That year, he went to California and went to work for the Southern Pacific Railroad. As an engineer in 1880, he was transferred to Benson, Arizona, and then to Tucson. He married Mary Susan Wright in California and then established a residence at 237 S. 4th Avenue in Tucson. There were five children--three boys, Garland, Maurice and Lester, and two girls, Elsie and Grace.

Twice during his career as an engineer, Holladay was hurt in accidents, but recovered. He was interested in politics in Tucson, was a Democrat and served on the Board of Railroad Commissioners. He also served as “Chief” of Division No. 28, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers.

William C. Davis was another early Tucson pioneer. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1842 and came west by way of Santa Fe, arriving in Tucson in 1869, the year that A. P. K. Safford assumed his duties as governor of the Territory of Arizona.

Upon arrival in Tucson, Davis established a hardware store (an education in the East had prepared him for a business career) which was a successful enterprise for a number of years. He was instrumental in establishing the First National Bank of Tucson, serving as its vice president until it merged with the Consolidated Bank. He was connected with Consolidated until his death.

He became interested in the mining industry and had heavy investments in local mines.

Davis served as a Pima County Supervisor and in the Territorial Legislature. He became interested in the public school system and at intervals from 1872 until 1902 he served on the School Board of Tucson District 1.

Davis married the former Mrs. M. E. Tenney in 1879, an active worker in the establishment of a public library in Tucson. The Davis family lived in a two-story brick house, located at 80 West Congress Street, described as one of the city’s more magnificent residences of the early 1880’s. The Arizona Citizen reported that “in the way of novelty, the house would have a cellar.”

In 1900 the Davis family moved to a new home at 215 N. Stone Avenue, which until recent years was the location of the Parker-Kerr mortuary. At age 60, Davis died in San Jose, California, in 1902.

Davis School was originally constructed with five rooms. In 1908, six classrooms were added at a cost of $9,400; four classrooms were constructed in 1927 at a cost of $34,725; two classrooms were added in 1936 costing $18,756; and in 1954 two classrooms were converted into the cafeteria and auditorium. This, and other repairs, cost $32,913. Present principal of Davis School is Sam Polito.

The Davis-Holladay-Drachman construction trilogy was followed in the decade by the building of the original Mansfeld School (named after Board member Jacob S. Mansfeld--sometimes spelled ‘Mansfield” in early records and later adopted as “Mansfield” by the Tucson family) and a new high school building which is now known as Roskruge Elementary and Junior High. This was named after George J. Roskruge.

On January 28, 1903, the School Board, composed of trustees Drachman, Davis and Roskruge, called a special meeting of the district’s qualified electors “for consultation in regard to issuing of bonds to build a school house.” Insufficient room for the district’s scholars was cited as the motivating reason.

At the meeting of the electors, February 6, 1903, they approved, unanimously, a proposal to issue $15,000 in bonds at four per cent interest to mature in 20 years. The proposal in a public vote by qualified electors was approved the next month 55 to 11 with 2 ballots rejected.

The school was to be erected to the south of Safford School (or Plaza School) on the east edge of Military Plaza at 14th Street and 5th Avenue.

For some reason not explained, the bonds were not sold until February, 1904, which sale prompted a call for competitive plans and specifications with the cost of the new school to run from $10,000 to a limit of $12,000. On March 2,1904, the plans of architects Trost, Rush and Hamilton were accepted by the Board and on March 24, contractor E. G. Woodard submitted the low bid of $11,952.

That summer, the Board was diligent in its watch over the construction of the new school. It was discovered on July 22 that the plans provided for no rear door and thus there was no rear escape route in case of fire. The Board ordered one cut in the wall at an additional cost of $198.

The Board voted to name the eight-room school after Jacob S. Mansfeld that summer and on October 3, 1904, dedication services were held. Board minutes noted: “The dedication service for the Mansfield (sic) School was properly carried out by appropriate addresses, music by orchestra and patriotic songs by the pupils and teachers.”

Mansfeld was a member of the School Board from 1888 to 1891.

According to Ida Myrtle Duffy in her 1941 thesis, Pioneer Characters For Whom Some Tucson Public Schools Have Been Named, “The perpetuation of the memory of Jacob S. Mansfeld in one of Tucson’s public schools is an honor which is justly deserved by one of Tucson’s most respected citizens of pioneer days.”

Jacob S. Mansfeld came to Tucson in 1870. He was born in Passwalk, northern Germany, where he attended schools until he was 14 years of age. He was inducted into the Prussian army and served his compulsory military training.

In August, 1856, he shipped to America, arriving in San Francisco where he became a junior partner in a bookstore. A short time later, he went to Virginia City, Nevada, and established a small business, soon to be destroyed by fire.

Mansfeld journeyed about the west until his arrival in Tucson.

Short of funds, Mansfeld nevertheless was able to pursue his hobby of literature. He opened a small news depot at Congress Street and Main Avenue, developed a stationery store and established Tucson’s first circulating library.

Besides service on the School Board, he was also a member of the Pima County Board of Supervisors in 1885 and 1886. He was chosen as Centennial Commissioner in 1876 to represent the Territory of Arizona in Philadelphia. He served on the committee which drafted the first charter for the City of Tucson and was the originator of the idea that a University located in Tucson would be of more benefit than to continue the fight to return the Capitol to Tucson from Prescott. Legislators from Pima County agreed and the Mansfeld concept prevailed. He was made one of the first Regents of the Territorial University.

Mansfeld was married on May 19,1878, to Eva Goldsmith in New York City. They had four children, Samuel J. and Monte Mansfield and two daughters, Phyllis and Hannah.

At the age of 62, Mansfeld was stricken with pneumonia and died February 19, 1894, in Tucson.

Eight more classrooms were added to Mansfeld School in 1921 at a cost of $61,050.

The Mansfeld name was transferred to a new junior high school which was built in 1929 and the old building became known as Safford Elementary School.

In 1949 rewiring and remodeling of the building was done for $24,591.

In 1906, the University of Arizona began phasing out its preparatory course, which had substituted for a high school and had resulted in the elimination of high school classes in School District 1.

A high school was then re-established within the school district. The following is an account of the resumption of high school classes in Tucson, taken from an unpublished thesis by J. W. Clarson, The Development of the High School Movement in Arizona:

“The Little Adobe High School”

“The third period of its history began with its rebirth in 1906. In the fall of that year, 45 students assembled for study in a little two-room house entirely off the car line and outside the city limits.” (This is the Little Adobe School House mentioned previously as being located at 10th Street and Park Avenue on land that is now occupied by the School District’s Education Center). The following description is quoted from the high school paper ‘High School Life’ issued in December, 1906:

“The present high school is a building of two rooms, one adobe and one frame, situated about seven blocks south of the University. There are forty-five pupils, taught by two teachers, Mrs. Rogers and her assistant, Miss Anna Thompson.”

“This ‘Little Adobe Schoolhouse,’ as the high school was called in those days, with its one large room and lean-to which had to serve as laboratories, recitation rooms and halls, furnished very cramped quarters at best. But on rainy days, which fortunately were not numerous, even one of those rooms had to be abandoned. On such days the students facetiously referred to this part of the building as the ‘Natatorium’. The two rooms of the building were affectionately known as South Hall, the adobe room, and North Hall, the lean-to. In the first year of the high school there was only one grade, the others still being accommodated at the University."

(While the School Board minutes do not state that the Old Adobe School was used for the resumption of high school classes, we do know from the minutes of the School Board that Anne Rogers and Anna D. Thompson were employed to teach in the school district for the year 1906-07. We also know that E. C. Stewart, of Stockton, California, was paid $600 for seats and desks in the summer of l906. This was a large amount, according to ordinary replacement bills, and it may be concluded that the seats and desks went to furnish the Old Adobe School, which had been rented out as a family dwelling in the interim between its use as a classroom for lower grades and its use for the high school classes.)

The elementary schools continued to bulge with children, and once again the School Board thought of building. On October 9, 1906, the voters approved of a bond issue (the dollar amount of which is not recorded) by a vote of 346 to 87. Apparently, the Board was not able to sell these bonds at an advantageous price, because they were never issued. Additional rooms, however, were “provided,” according to School Board minutes--probably in rented space. Stoves were purchased late in October, 1906, for these rooms.

On March 5, 1907, the Board passed a resolution calling for the issuance of $50,000 in building bonds to mature in 20 years at four per cent interest. On April 6, 1907, the voters in School District 1 approved the bonds 226 to 3, realizing that if children were to be educated, buildings must be erected.

The bonds were specifically designated for a high school building--the first high school to be constructed by the district--and on the following June 4, contractor D. A. Evans was awarded the contract with a low bid of $37,422. The building was erected on land between 2nd and 3rd Avenues and 4th and 5th Streets. It is still standing and in use--after having been added to--as Roskruge Junior High and Elementary School. Roy Place was the original architect.

At the end of the 1906-07 school year, the Board foresaw that more construction was needed on the elementary grade level, as some classes in the schools were on half-day sessions. So on June 21, 1907, the Board resolved to call for another $50,000 bond issue election with bonds to mature in 20 years at five per cent interest. On July 13, the qualified voters approved the issue 153 to 1.

The money was used for school repairs and to add, the following spring, four rooms each to the Drachman, Davis and Holladay Schools. B. E. Chute built the Holladay and Davis additions at $9,400 for each building and A. C. Roswell was contractor for the Drachman addition at a bid of $8,900. The remainder of the bond money went for furnishings and equipment and into the school building fund.

The high school and elementary school additions were completed in the fall of 1908.

The year 1906 might be called the “Year of the Scandal” for School District 1 because what happened that spring had never occurred before within the staid and dignified teaching ranks--or at least such conduct had never before been reported.

On March 21, the Board, composed of Sam Drachman, Lon Holladay and George . Roskruge, read a “painful” letter from Supt. F. M. Walker. It said:

“It becomes a painful duty to me to report to you that five of the teachers of the Public School have been guilty of conduct which seems very unbecoming to teachers to say the least.

“The charge is that the five teachers referred to went to Sabino Canyon on last Saturday and took with them beer, wine and cigarettes and drank and smoked the same. Two of the teachers have acknowledged that the report is true. I ask that you make an investigation of these things and deal with the said teachers in such way as in your judgment seems best for the welfare of the school.”

The Board decided to keep the affair secret and to conduct an investigation under wraps. Secrecy was impossible, however, as there were witnesses and witnesses do talk.

The Board minutes do not designate more than one of the culprits as a woman, but since Walker was the only male school employee, outside of the janitors, it must be assumed that the other four also were feminine--making matters much worse in that day, of course.

Each of the Board members interviewed the ladies and on March 26,1906, submitted reports to one another at a private meeting.

Drachman reported that in addition to talking to the teachers, he had interviewed a female teacher of the University who had witnessed the affair. Drachman said that the University teacher observed several ladies having lunch in the canyon and their conduct was “not becoming.” Drachman noted that the press had made “accusations” but he did not believe that anything was done to justify dismissal. “The facts establish no intention to do wrong and no act can be of a very heinous nature where the will does not follow the deed,” he said. He recommended dismissal of the charges against the teachers.

Holladay was of the same mind. He said that the matter had been “considerably magnified” and recommended nothing more than a severe reprimand. Roskruge did not agree. He said that the charges were “clearly proven” and that it was the duty of the Board to see that none “but competent and trustworthy teachers are employed, to whom the children committed to their care can look up to for guidance both mentally and morally.” He was of the opinion that one of the teachers was innocent but said, “I am of the opinion that the four teachers who acknowledged unbecoming conduct at the public picnic grounds on Saturday, the 17th o March, 1906, should be either asked to resign or be suspended for the balance of the school term.”

Drachman and Holladay then voted for dismissal of the charges and Roskruge voted to sustain the charges.

Perhaps in a huff, Roskruge did not attend any further meetings of that Board and resigned on March 31.

The decade 1900-1910 opened quiet enough with a number of new educational ideas.

F. A. Cooley, who had been appoint superintendent in June, 1898, continued serve in the office until May 22, 1901.

On September 3, 1900, the first mention of physical education was made in the Board minutes, when members voted to permit use of the lower hall of Safford School for “Physical Culture” each Saturday.

In the spring of 1901, the Board hired its first clerk, at $10 per month, to take minutes of the meeting. The minutes, however, were still inscribed in Sam Drachman’s elegant hand.

Cooley was not rehired as superintendent in the spring of 1901--reason not stated. The new principal was F. M. Walker and Charles (also referred to as “Carlos”) H. Tully was made his assistant. Walker was paid $150 per month and Tully received $90. Lizzie Borton was the highest-paid teacher at $85 per month while other teachers received $75 and $70.

That fall, a Mr. Levy taught German for the first time in the school system. Interested students paid a small tuition for the course.

Miss Borton was elevated to assistant superintendent in May, 1902, with Walker being retained another year as superintendent. As a woman, she could not hope to draw Tully’s former salary and apparently was content with $80 per month instead of $90. Today, of course, men and women teachers of similar experience and education, receive equal salaries.

Among the 21 regular teachers in 1902 was Ida Flood, whose memories of the Old Adobe School are quoted earlier in this volume. There were one music and one drawing teacher that year and three substitute teachers. In those days, substitute teachers were numbered--;with the “number 1 “ substitute receiving preferential treatment when a substitute was needed.

The following fall, September 15, 1902, Walker became ill and could not assume his duties as superintendent following summer vacation. Lizzie Borton was named acting superintendent during Walker’s illness and, there being no sick leave and no pay while absent from work, she received his salary for about a month and a half until he returned.

Also on September 15, 1902, the School Board decided to place telephones in the schools. These were furnished by the Sunset Telephone and Telegraph Co. at a total cost of $12 per month.

In this year, the school district was divided by school lines--that is, those residing in a certain area attended a certain school and were not allowed to enroll in a school outside that area.

Walker, on June 10, 1903, was again hired as superintendent on a one-year contract. Lizzie Borton became his assistant. There were 24 teachers hired from 186 applicants--46 of whom were Tucson residents. The remainder came from 40 various locations throughout the United States and in Manila and Puerto Rico. Four teachers were hired on a stand-by basis to assume their duties when Mansfeld School would be completed.

School personnel for the year 1904 saw no change in the superintendent nor his assistant. Among the 27 teachers was Miss Myrtle Drachman, daughter of Board Member Sam Drachman. Walker, at his request, was given a raise in pay to $175 a month.

In the spring of 1904, commencement exercises were again held in the Tucson Opera House, with rental at $20. Parents were charged 20 cents admission and children, those not graduating, paid 10 cents if they wanted to attend.

In the spring of 1905, Superintendent Walker appeared before the Board and asked permission to put at least one classroom on double sessions. He reported that in this class, 80 students were seated in a classroom built for 40. Average daily attendance that spring in the five schools--Drachman, Davis, Holladay, Mansfeld and Safford--was 1,612.

The School Board continued to bring about changes in the school system. In the spring of 1905, the first health officer was appointed, Dr. A. W. Alcoth. Teachers were required to obtain health certificates from Dr. Alcoth and to pay the doctor’s fee of $2 out of their pockets.

Walker and Miss Borton were hired as superintendent and assistant superintendent for the school year 1905-06 with Walker’s pay boosted to $200 per month on a 1 2-month basis. Miss Borton remained on an $80 per school month salary and all 8th grade teachers received $80. The lower grades were paid $75 and $70 per month, depending on length of service with the school district.

John Hewson received $70 as “chief janitor” while part-time janitors were used at the five schools, being paid $25 and $30 per month.

With the resignation of Roskruge following the Sabino Canyon affair, T. J. Vail was appointed to the vacancy by the County Superintendent. Although no connection is recorded in history between Walker’s attempt to dismiss the five “Sabino Canyon” teachers and the feelings of Board members Drachman and Holladay in their behalf, Walker was not rehired for the 1906-07 school year.

At the May 25, 1906, Board meeting to select the superintendent, Board member Vail nominated Walker but Drachman nominated William M. Ruthrauf, seconded by Holladay. Walker was out.

Ruthrauf, who was to undergo some unhappiness in his tenure, did prevail on the Board to allow the superintendent to have more discretion in school management. The Board adopted a new policy that all matters pertaining to the assignment of teachers and to the general management of school matters were to be the responsibility of the Superintendent. The implication was left, however, that all actions should be taken with the advice and consent of the Board.

First Hundred Years, By James F. Cooper, Edited by John H. Fahr, Tucson, Arizona, 1967