John K. Purdy

Date in History: 1866-1872

Ever gone to a Christmas Concert at Purdy School in Fort Atkinson and wonder who the heck Purdy was? Well John K. Purdy was the principal of the very first public high school built on South High Street in Fort Atkinson back in 1866. Up until that time, Mr. Purdy ran a private high school academy where students who wanted an education beyond grammar school could study music for $8 a semester, the “higher studies” for $6 a semester, or the “common branches of English,” which were a bargain at just $4.

When the first public high school was built just north of his academy on South High Street, where Emery Junior High was until just a few years ago, Purdy happily took over the post of first principal. After his untimely death in 1872 Purdy was succeeded by John Emery.

This historic document aired on the radio as an Historic Minute on 10/13/2003.

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