Date in History: 1888 to 1926
Fort Atkinson’s second public high school opened in December of 1888 after a fire completely consumed the first one in April of that same year. Built on the same site on South High Street as the first one, this more elegant building had a girl’s entrance on the left and the boy’s entrance on the right.
In the late 19th century only a minority of the grammar school children would continue on to high school, and of the group that continued on, the majority were girls. Boys were often required to start working on the farm or learn a trade, while young girls had the time to continue their education.
During the first 50 years of public high school in Fort Atkinson, only 8 high school graduating classes had more boys than girls. And during the first 15 years at the school, girls made up 61% of its graduates and boys only 39%.
This historic document aired on the radio as an Historic Minute on 09/18/2006.