Compiled October 2007 by
Charles W. Popovich

SHS has been in five different buildings to date, located as follows:

SHS Organized (1892); Located on top floor of an 1891 two-story brick school building in 100 block of East Loucks; First Graduation May 17, 1894 for three students.

Nielsen Heights School (1896); built at the site of the present J. J. Early building as a two-story, four room grade school; later the high school was transferred to that second Sheridan High School building.

Hill School (1906 and 1908); built east of the four room building in two parts as a ten room two and a half story brick building that became the third SHS building; location given as Lewis at Bellevue.

New three-story brick building built with 44 classrooms, laboratories, large auditorium and modern cafeteria, but no gymnasium, at site of present Junior High; dedicated March 12, 1926; along with additions and improvements this was Sheridan High School until 1987; present gym addition opened in 1950.

Present SHS at 1056 Long Drive was built on a forty acre site to serve grades ten through twelve. It had 232,418 square feet designed for 1200 students with 444 seat auditorium, and 1800 seat main gym and all other necessities for a good high school.

Cost was $15,614,039; funding by a local Bond Issue of about $3.3 million; a $5.2 million Grant plus $6.6 million Advance Entitlements from the Wyoming State Farm Loan Board.

Since 1987 there have been three major additions to SHS; AG shop, Fitness Center, and Freshman Wing to make SHS a 9-12 high school since 2004-05.

In 2001 the School Board named the “Scott Fitness Center” and the “Homer Scott Field” honoring him for his efforts and philanthropy for helping make those two facilities a reality.

Total number of SHS graduates based on Alumni lists (1894 through 2006) is “about 18,800.”

The total number of principals in 97 years since position of SHS principal listed in 1910-11 through 2006 is sixteen. Dirlene Wheeler, SHS principal since 2000-01 is the first lady principal.

The total number of SHS football teams that were State Champions (co-champions twice) beginning with 1921 is twenty.

Feature Story

Last Updated: Friday, January 02, 2004


Digging up the past: 112 Years

Of Sheridan High Schools

Time capsule leads to history project as construction crews excavate for a new school

By Lori Newman

Staff reporter

This year's eighth- and ninth-graders are the last group of students that will ever attend the 78-year-old Sheridan Junior High School.

The building, which was Sheridan High School for its first 61 years, is slated for demolition next summer. It will be replaced by a new school for grades 6-8.

To ensure the landmark building on the hill is not forgotten, SJHS teacher Tyson Emborg's social studies students are researching and recording its history.

They're poring over old issues of The Sheridan Press, very old SHS yearbooks, and The Ocksheperida, the high school's newspaper which has been published continuously since 1907.

It's all part of a "Project Citizen" activity, Emborg said, in which students take on a project aimed at some sort of public benefit or policy change.

Project Citizen is a national program created by the nonprofit Center for Civic Education, based in Calabasas, Calif., Emborg said. It gets students to examine local problems and develop strategies to address those problems. It introduces students to — and trains them in — the methods used in a democratic political process. 

Emborg said each of his classes is participating in Project Citizen this year. The history of Sheridan's old Hill School is just one of these group efforts.

It started with one of Emborg's social studies classes, which had chosen to prepare a time capsule to be opened by Sheridan residents in 2024. Thinking about who would open its time capsule got the class wondering if the SHS Class of 1926 had thought to place a time capsule somewhere on the grounds of their new school, as they entered it for the first time on Jan. 26, 1926.

Emborg's other classes are working on additional Project Citizen activities, including: a new city skateboarding ordinance; changes for Sheridan's curfew policy; driver education classes; and whether Veterans Day should be a school holiday.

The Hill School group has discovered that the site of the current SJHS has been home to one school or another for well over a century.

First there was the four-room, two-story Nielsen Heights School, built in 1896 as a grade school, in block 10 of the new Nielsen Heights Addition.

The land had been donated by local rancher and developer — and later Sheriff and Police Chief — A.J. (Andrew Joseph) Nielsen, according to Sheridan resident Charles Popovich's history of the county's 47 early school districts, titled "Sheridan County Schools" (2000).

The larger, 10-room Hill School was added onto the Nielsen Heights School in two sections: the east half in 1908 and the western half in 1910, according to a report by SHS Principal J.J. Marshall in the school's 1926 yearbook, "The Blue and Gold."

Hill School was used as a special education building for many years before being torn down in 1976 to make way for the J.J. Early Building, with its swimming pool, 750-seat auditorium and classroom complex.

Excavation crews working behind SJHS recently came across sections of the old Hill School foundation.

Other Sheridan schools that have come and gone in the past century include:

• Custer School, a two-room brick school at Custer and First streets; 1907-1957.

• Linden School, 430 W. Whitney St.; 1917-1987, demolished in 1990.

• Coffeen School, a three-story brick building on the southwest side of the 400 block of Coffeen Avenue, opened in 1910 and closed in 1947. It was demolished in 1970. (WebEd note: Coffeen was closed in 1967. It stood on the wedge-shaped area bounded by Coffeen Avenue and Illinois St.)

• Taylor School at 1020 N. Main St. served as a school between 1910 and 1987, when it was sold as commercial property.

Central Middle School, at 25 S. Custer St., was built in 1920 and will be decommissioned by fall 2005, when grades 6-8 move into a school that will be built directly behind Sheridan Junior High School.

CMS was known as Central School before 1987, when the latest version of Sheridan High School opened for grades 10-12, and Sheridan County School District 2 became a four-tiered school system, with grades 1-5 at the city's five elementary schools, grades 6 and 7 at CMS, and grades 8 and 9 at the old high school which had become the junior high.

Since none of his students was born when the new SHS was opened in 1987, Emborg said, none remembers a time before SHS was a three-year school and freshmen were relegated to the junior high along with the eighth-graders.

But thanks to their research, they'll probably never forget how it all came about.

SHS, 1890s-style

Sheridan's first high school was organized for the fall of 1892 in a two-story brick building in the 100 block of East Loucks Street.

Herbert E. Zullig reported in the 1926 Sheridan High School yearbook, "The Blue and Gold," that "after a hasty review in eighth grade work, completed about Dec. 15th, 1892, (students) commenced on their three year course."

Of the approximately 350 students attending Sheridan schools that year, very few signed up as high school freshmen, Zullig wrote. Only three went on to graduate May 16, 1894: Zullig, Della Collier and Mae Farley.

Twelve years later, the graduating class boasted 20 students.

Zullig reported that the first SHS curriculum included algebra, plane geometry, physics, geology, botany, physical geography, history, Latin, rhetoric, literature and bookkeeping — all taught by professor B. F. Ogden of Wapello, Iowa.


In 1926 —

SHS teachers were well-educated,

mostly women

By Lori Newman

Staff reporter

The teachers who moved into the new Sheridan High School on Jan. 26, 1926, were "highly qualified" by any standards of the day.

Most were women — 21 out of 27 — most were not from the area, and only one had attended the University of Wyoming, which was then primarily an agricultural college. UW's "normal school" for teacher training had opened in 1910, however.

These educators earned their degrees at colleges and universities in New York City and Chicago, in Iowa, California, Nebraska, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri and elsewhere.

They all came together to form the faculty at the first Sheridan High School under the guidance of Principal J.J. Marshall, who earned his bachelor's degree at Michigan's Albion College and his master's degree at the University of Michigan.

J.J. Early was superintendent of schools. He earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Indiana and did graduate work at the University of Chicago, Columbia University, and the University of Wyoming.

According to the 1926 SHS yearbook, "The Blue and Gold," Sheridan High School teachers — listed with their subjects and degrees — included:

• Faye Hanks — English and Latin — A.B., Nebraska Wesleyan University;

• Alice Louise Lindsley — librarian — A.B., Macalester College (St. Paul, Minn.), graduate work at University of Wisconsin.

• Augusta Eisenmann — normal (teacher) training — Ph.B. (Bachelor of Philosophy), Universities of Chicago, Washington, and Nebraska.

• Bernard Wright — ancient history and civics — A.B., University of West Virginia.

• George Benson — commercial trades — University of North Dakota.

• Beryl Brownlee — mathematics — A.B., Macalester College.

• Ruth Powers — Spanish — A.B., Fairmount College (Wichita, Kan.), graduate work at University of California.

• Minnie McAdams — A.B., University of Nebraska, graduate work at Columbia University, New York.

• Maurine Hollo — French, English and Latin — A.B., University of Wyoming.

• Rebecca Megown — English and history — State Teachers College, Kirksville, Mo., graduate work at Universities of Colorado and California.

• Phoebe Whiting — Spanish — B.S., University of Nebraska.

• Ida Hull — Latin — A.B., Oberlin (Ohio) College.

• Merritt Major — general science — A.B., Central College (Fayette, Mo.).

• Frances Van Boskirk — English and public speaking — A.B., University of Iowa.

• Gladys Yeager — home economics — B.S., Purdue University (Ind.)

• Carl Howard — vocational agriculture — B.S., University of Illinois.

• Elsie Norelius — commercial — A.B., Grinnell (Iowa) College; graduate work at Columbia University.

• Carl L. Crawford — chemistry and physics — B.S., Kansas Wesleyan University.

• Janet Prendergast — Girls' P.E. director — Columbia University.

• Ona Toland — demonstration school — Ohio Wesleyan University.

• Wilbur Wright — P. E. director — Davis Elkins College (W.Va.)

• Mabel Anderson — history and economics — A.B., Universities of Kansas, Colorado and Chicago.

• Edna Stolt — psychologist — A.B., Colorado State Teachers College and University of Chicago.

• Carl Griffen — dramatic instruction — Pomona College (Claremont, Calif.)

• Marie Parsons — Spanish — A.B., Grinnell College (Iowa)

• Louise Brehmer — music — B.M., Tarkio College (Mo.)

• Emma Grace Bahls — English — A.B., Cornell College (N.Y.)

• Edward Daigle — manual arts — Grand Rapids School of Furniture Designing, and Hackley Manual Training Normal (Muskegon, Mich.)

• Flora Rees — English and math — A.B., Des Moines University.

• Margaret Abbott — English — Carleton College (Northfield, Minn.)

• Florence Clark — advanced civics — A.B., Drake University (Des Moines), graduate work at University of Iowa.

• F. Yolande Beall — social science and math — A.G., Northwest-ern University (Evanston, Ill.).

• Emma Wyatt — commercial — A.B., Carleton College, Collegiate Business Institute, and graduate work at University of Chicago.

• J. S. Joyce — band and orchestra — Vander Cook School of Music (Chicago) and Frederick Neil Innes College of Music (Denver).

• Ruth Crone — art — B.S., Southwest State Teachers College (Springfield, Mo.) and Snow-Froehlich School of Industrial Art (Chicago).