HISTORY OF EDUCATION IN WYOMING
|Foundation of the School System—Great School Revenues—The Beginning—First Legislative Enactments—The First Report—Conditions in 1877—First Statistics Available—Statehood—Text Books and Curriculum—Teachers' Institutes—The Steever Cadet System—High Schools—Kindergartens—Private and Secular Schools—Other Schools—The Present System—Census and Apportionment by Counties—School Statistics in 1916—University of Wyoming ... 428|
| Doctor Winthrop of Boston was called to Wyoming several years ago to assist the Legislature in formulating an educational bill. Among other things he said: "Wyoming can start at once an educational system that has taken Massachusetts and Wisconsin fifty years to formulate and perfect."|
Wyoming has been fully alive to its splendid advantages and opportunities in this respect. From its earliest settlement down to the present time its citizenship has always taken a keen interest in the establishment and liberal maintenance of its public school system, and today the state stands in the front rank of states for its high intelligence and low rate of illiteracy.
The state constitution requires an intelligence qualification for every voter, and in its legislative capacity the state has provided for compulsory education, for a supply of free textbooks, for physical examination of pupils, and it was the first state in the Union to adopt the Steever system of military training for high school students.
|GREAT SCHOOL REVENUES|
| By one of those romantic freaks of fortune which appear only in the new and wonderful West, Wyoming's public schools will soon have the largest financial endowment per capita of any state in the Union. The state school lands, from which an income is derived, amount to about three million five hundred thousand acres. The value of this land at $10 per acre (and it cannot be sold for a less price) would be $35,000,000. But a small portion is being sold, however, and the income which is being derived from such sales and from the agricultural and oil leases must be devoted exclusively to school purposes. Owing to the recent remarkable oil discoveries, the rentals from that source have been growing by leaps and bounds and a permanent school fund is thus being created, of which only the interest is used, all gross receipts being placed in the permanent fund. The state treasurer is authorized to invest this fund in stable securities which can earn about 5½ per cent interest. In the year 1917 about half a million dollars was thus received as interest and distributed to the public schools in each county in proportion to the number of pupils last reported.|
For the month of March, 1918, the receipts from rentals and oil leases amounted to about fifty thousand dollars–or $600,000 for one year. This is only the beginning. The fund in the state treasury is $1,500,000. The rapid development of the oil industry will increase this amount over and over until there will be in a few years many millions in the permanent school fund. The interest will not only make all school taxes unnecessary, but it will also give every boy and girl in Wyoming a high school and collegiate education free of expense.
The State University is similarly favored, as its lands have been found to contain many rich oil basins upon which producing wells are fast coming in. The revenue from the university lands, according to good authority, will amount to $12,000,000 within the next ten years and in a short time the University of Wyoming will be the most richly endowed state university in the United States.
| The educational history of Wyoming dates from the organization of the territory in 1869. At the time when the first census of the inhabitants was taken in 1860, Wyoming then being a part of Dakota, there were but three groups of permanent settlers. Two of these, each consisting of from one hundred to one hundred and fifty people, were located about Fort Bridger and Fort Laramie, and there were several ranches along the North Platte River, in what are now Platte and Goshen counties. The total population did not exceed four hundred, including the trappers and frontiersmen of divers vocations who frequented this new country. Within the next decade the population increased rapidly, owing to the building of the Union Pacific Railroad. Wyoming had a population of 9,118 in 1870. according to the United States census, consisting of 8,726 whites, 183 negroes, 143 Chinese and 66 Indians not on reservations.|
The first school building in Wyoming was dedicated to "free education" at Cheyenne on January 5, 1868, when the thermometer registered 23° below zero. Notwithstanding the weather, nearly all of the citizens of the town were present.
|FIRST LEGISLATIVE REGULATION|
| Provision for the regulation and maintenance of education in Wyoming was made in the first session of the territorial assembly and approved December 10, 1869. This act created the territorial auditor "ex officio" superintendent of public instruction and fixed his salary for this work at $500. His duties were defined as follows:|
"The duties of the superintendent of public instruction shall be as follows: He shall file all papers, reports and public dockets transmitted to him by the school officers of the several counties each year, separately, and hold the same in readiness to be exhibited to the governor, or to any committee of either House of the Legislative Assembly; and shall keep a fair record of all matters pertaining to the business of his office. He shall have general supervision of all the district schools of the territory, and shall see that the school system is as early' as practicable, put into uniform operation; and shall recommend to the several school districts a uniform series of textbooks to be used in the schools thereof. He shall prepare and have printed suitable forms for all reports required by this act; and shall transmit the same, with such instruction in reference to the course of studies as he may judge advisable, in the several officers entrusted with the management and care. He shall make all further rules and regulations that may be necessary to carry the law into full effect, according to its spirit and intent, which shall have the same force and eft"ect, as though contained therein. He shall cause so many copies of this act. with forms and regulations, and instructions herein contemplated thereunto annexed, to be from time to time printed and distributed among the several school districts of the territory, as he shall deem expedient. He shall make a report to the Legislative Assembly on the first day of each regular session thereof, exhibiting the condition of public schools, and such other matters relating to the aft'airs of his office as he may think proper to communicate. He shall make an equal distribution of the school funds among the several counties on the first Monday in December, according to the aggregate number of the days attendance of the scholars attending the common schools, in the several counties, as reported by the County Superintendents of the several coimties, who shall make reports of the same on or before the first Monday in November to the superintendent of public instruction."
His duties, as defined by the statutes, were almost identical with those of the present superintendent, except that the apportionment was made on aggregate attendance instead of on the census basis.
A further act of the assembly created the office of county superintendent of schools, though no provision was made for the manner of election. The county tax for the maintenance of schools was fixed at not more than two mills on the dollar and the county superintendents were required to report annuallv to the state superintendent. Should they fail to do so, they were to forfeit the sum of $100. It does not appear that this provision was ever enforced or even noticed, for year after year the state superintendent of public instruction, in his annual report, bemoaned the laxity of the county superintendents. The blame, no doubt, rests quite as much upon the district clerks as upon the county superintendents, for the former were by law required to supply annually a report of the affairs in their respective districts, containing practically the same information which district clerks are now required to include in their reports to the county superintendent. Failure to make this report was punishable by a fine of $23, but there is no record of such a penaltv ever being imposed.
The result was, naturally, an entirely inadequate record of the early schools, which has made difficult the compilation of a detailed history of this period.
The board of district directors were empowered to determine the site of the school houses, the expenditures for the erection of rent of the same, and the curriculum to be followed in the lower schools. In the matter of secondary and high school education the determination of the last-named feature was left to the county superintendent, acting in conjunction with the district board.
Provision was also made that, when there were fifteen or more colored children within a specified district, the board might, with the approval of the county superintendent, provide a separate school. Apparently, however, no such segregated schools have ever been established, negroes being admitted to the schools with whites.
The district treasurer was to keep two distinct funds, one called the "teachers' fund," comprising all monies paid for school purposes, save only local taxes collected in the district, which comprised the "school house" fund.
The Educational Act of 1869 remained in force for two years, then a few minor changes were made. The state auditor was relieved of his "ex officio" duties as state superintendent of public instruction; the office was abolished for a time, the county superintendents during this time reporting annually to the governor.
In the legislative session of 1873 the whole system of education was reviewed and altered. The acts are of singular importance, being the true foundation of subsequent legislation and of the system now in force. The act of 1869 was in most respects repealed and provisions relative to the duties of the various school officers replaced by more explicit regulations. The state librarian (an office created two years previously) was made "ex officio" state superintendent of public instruction. With statehood the state superintendency became a separate office.
|THE FIRST REPORT|
| The first report on public instruction was made in 1871 by Dr. J. H. Hayford, of Laramie, the territorial auditor for the preceding biennium. Doctor Hayford reported good schools in Albany and Laramie counties, fair schools in Uinta and Carbon counties, but in Sweetwater County neither superintendent nor schools. The report embodied two summaries for Carbon and Uinta counties, prepared by the respective county superintendents, R. W. Baxter and R. H. Carter. There were only five counties at that time. These summaries follow:|
At this time the population of Wyoming was scattered along the Union Pacific Railroad for a distance of 500 miles, with a school wherever enough children were congregated. The provision for support was liberal; it came entirely from taxation, the school lands not yet having come into market. The five counties had county superintendents. Laramie City and Cheyenne had graded schools of three departments each, to which high schools were later to be added. Schools in other districts, though small, were efficiently managed.
The report of the commissioner of education in 1872 supplements the above statistics by listing five private schools, with a total income of 85,500. Among these was the Wyoming Institute, a Baptist school of secondan,- grade, founded in 1870 by Rev. D. J. Pierce at Laramie. In 1872 it had four instructors, one man and three women.
The quotation which follows in the next paragraph is from a letter of Governor Hoyt. 1877, printed in the report of the commissioner of education for that year. This throws more light on the educational situation in Wyoming during early territorial days and in part makes up for the entire lack of statistical data in this period.
|CONDITIONS IN 1877|
| "Of the school system now in operation, as well as of the schools themselves, I am able to speak in terms of high commendation. The gradation is complete from the lowest primary to the end of high school, which last is able to fit its pupils for admission to the ordinary college of the comitry; so that when the college or university comes to be established it will rest upon the existing public schools of the territory. The schools are directed, and taught by persons well qualified for their responsibilities by study in academies, colleges, and in several instances, normal schools of the East, and in general are doing excellent work. Indeed, after careful inspection of nearly every school in the territory and attendance upon some of the examinations and public exercises at the end of the last school year, I am constrained to say that the graded schools give evidence of an efficiency that would do honor to the older cities of the East.|
"It is also worthy of note that the public at large feels a great pride in the public schools of the territory, and is ever ready with liberal means, as well as with active moral influence to promote their advancement. In fact, I have never known a community, whether in this country or in Europe, more zealously devoted to the cause of popular education than the people of this new territory.'"
Many authorities since Governor Hoyt so lauded the schools have stated that, undoubtedly, he had in mind the schools of Laramie and Cheyenne, also that his words were spoken rather oratorically. Conditions were excellent among the schools of the territory at that time, but were not entirely beyond criticism.
|FIRST STATISTICS AVAILABLE|
| Beginning with the year 1883, statistical information becomes available. The following figures are taken from the manuscript reports of the superintendents of public instruction, preserved in the state archives at Cheyenne.|
The total population of the territorv had increased in this ])eriod from 20,789 in 1880 to 60,705 in 1890. Thus the population had trebled while the school population had only a little more than doubled. This indicates, of course, the obvious fact that the bulk of the immigration, on which the territory chiefly relied for its increments, consisted of adults. It will be observed, however, that in the six years from 1883 until 1889 the number of school houses increased from 39 to 138. With the doubling of the school attendance in this period the cost of instruction per pupil, however, was kept reasonably low–$2.87 in 1883; $2.78 in 1899. A rather marked increase in the cost of instruction is shown in the year 1885, but this is probably accounted for by an increased equipment and by an improved quality of instruction procured. The last factor is indicated in a measure by the average monthly compensation of teachers. In 1883 it was, for the whole terrritory. $57.25; in 1885, $58.06; in 1889, $61.67.
The character of the school buildings in this period may be gathered from the following list, compiled from a variety of sources. The list is in no way complete, but is a fair indication of the conditions which prevailed a quarter of a century ago. Schools were conducted in the following: Log building with a dirt roof; upper room of a railroad section house; rented building; spare room of a ranch; vacant office of a mining company; blacksmith's shop; basement of the town hall: and a sheep wagon.
| On November 5, 1889, the people of the territory ratified the constitution framed by the state constitutional convention and on July 10. i8go, Wyoming was admitted to the Union. The constitution and the first session of the Legislature virtually accepted the system of education in vogue during territorial days and from this point may be said to date the modern history of education in Wyoming.|
The following table shows the growth of school house construction since statehood :
The following table showing the number of teachers, both male and female, and the enrollment for each decade since 1870 will be found instructive:
|TEXT-BOOKS AND CURRICULUM|
| In the early days of the territory there was little uniformity in the matter of text-books; but in 1873 the third Territorial Assembly placed the selection of text-books in the hands of the Territorial Teachers' Institute, "provided that the series of books so adopted shall not be changed oftener than once in three years." However, the institutes could not be given authority to insist on the uniform adoption of the texts they had selected. The assembly of 1888 ordered the territorial superintendent of public instruction to call a meeting of the county and city superintendents to adopt text-books for five years. Before the expiration of that time, however, a state constitution had been drawn up and adopted, which specifically declared that "neither the Legislature nor the superintendent of public instruction shall have power to prescribe text-books to be used in the public schools."|
This led to considerable confusion, until a ruling was finally made that the territorial enactment of 1888 was valid. As early as 1892 the state su])erintendent recommended free text-books, but it was not until 1901 that legislative action was taken on this point. In 1896, in one district of Laramie County, the school board tried the device of purchasing a supply of books and selling them to the pupils at cost, an arrangement which worked excellently. The adoption of free books in 1901 met with general approval. The Territorial Assembly of 1885 provided that physiology and hygiene, especially the effects of alcohol and narcotics, be taught in all schools above the second primary grade and in all educational institutions supported wholly or in part by the territory. To this in 1910 was added the humane treatment of animals.
| In the Educational Act of 1873 the county superintendent of schools was authorized "to examine persons, and if in his opinion such persons were qualified to teach in the public schools, to give a certificate, authorizing him or her to teach a public school in his county for one year. Whenever practicable, the examination of teachers shall be competitive, and the certificate shall be graded according to the qualifications of the applicant."|
A law of 1876 empowered the territorial superintendent of public instruction to grant honorary certificates of qualification to teachers of proper learning and ability and to regulate the grade of county certificates. These "honorary certificates" were granted primarily on the basis of continuous years of service. Forty were given between 1883 and 1887. At the same time the county superintendents were empowered to grant certificates for two-year periods. During the next ten years little change was made in the matter of certification. In 1897-98 the state superintendent of public instruction recommended that graduates of the university, especially those having taken normal training, receive certificates without further examination. This change was made soon after.
In 1899 the state board of examiners was created. Their duty was to jjrepare uniform examination questions and to serve as a court of appeal from the decisions of the county superintendents. During the first year, under the presidency of Prof. C. B. Ridgaway, of the university, sixteen sets of questions were prepared for the use of the county superintendents. The board also examined thirty-three applicants for certificates, recommended sixteen, and declined to recommend seventeen. In 1899 provision was made for issuing three grades of certificates and a professional or state certificate, the latter to be granted by the board of examiners. Examinations for the other three grades were still conducted by the county superintendents in subjects prescribed by law. In 1907 the board was empowered to examine all candidates for certificates in the state. Examinations were conducted at stated intervals and the recipients of certificates were allowed to teach in any county of the state. In 1909 subjects for examination in the three classes were more specifically fixed by law.
|The Educational Act of 1873 required the territorial superintendent of public instruction to conduct annually a teachers' institute, lasting not less than four nor more than ten days. Its chief duty was the selection of text-books. In 1883 an appropriation of $1,500 was made to pay the traveling expenses of teachers attending institutes. Four years later attendance was required by law. Provision was further made for the payment by the counties of expenses incidental to the holding of institutes, including the compensation of lecturers. The Legislature of 1913 authorized the holding of joint institutes by two or more counties. The outcome of this was the act of 1915, providing for state institutes. These were to be maintained in part by nominal fees required of all teachers in the state. At these meetings the specific needs and problems of the teachers and schools are discussed, generally in connection with a series of lectures.|
| Section 23 of Chapter 7, Title IV, of the Laws of Wyoming, passed at the first session of the Territorial Assembly, made provision as follows:|
"The county superintendent and district board of directors may determine whether a school of a higher grade shall be established in the district, the number of teachers to be employed, and the course of instruction to be pursued therein, and the board may erect for the purpose one or more permanent school-houses, and shall cause such classification of the pupils as they may deem necessary, but in selecting the site for such school house, or school houses, the permanent interest and future welfare of the people of the entire district shall be consulted."
An enactment of the State Legislature of 1905 provided for the creation, on vote of the county, of special high school districts and the location at the county seat of county high school buildings in the same. In 1915 the counties were empowered to lay a tax not exceeding two mills on the dollar for the payment of teachers' salaries and contingent expenses in such high schools and a total tax not exceeding ten mills on the dollar in case of the construction of a building, provided such high schools maintained a four year course qualifying for admission to the university.
The first high school established was at Cheyenne in 1875. This was followed by one at Buffalo in 1881; Newcastle, 1889; Rawlins soon after; Lander, 1890; and Sheridan in 1893. There are now fifty-one high schools, with four year courses of study.
|THE STEEVER CADET SYSTEM|
| In the year 1911 Lieut. E. Z. Steever, U. S. A., introduced into the Cheyenne High School a system of training known as the cadet system and which was created by him as a means of furthering military education and training in the public schools. Lieutenant Steever remained a year in Cheyenne, superintending the work and perfecting the system, which has now been adopted in many high schools, colleges and universities throughout the country. In 1913 Lieutenant Steever established the cadet system in other Wyoming towns.|
The value of the Steever idea, as introduced into the public schools, cannot be overestimated. That it is popular, is shown by the fact that since its introduction in the Cheyenne High School 60 per cent of the male students have enlisted for the course, which is non-compulsory. The state itself has become sufificiently interested to make an appropriation to assist in the purchase of uniforms, allowing about $6 for each cadet. The Steever system has attracted the attention of military authorities in the country and it is estimated that, with the adoption of the "Wyoming idea" in the schools of the nation, 320,000 young men would receive the necessary military knowledge each year to fit them for active military work in the service of their country. Also, not only has the system benefited the individual student physically, but has materially increased the average scholarship. About twice each year public tournaments are held at Cheyenne and other places, at which time the cadets exhibit the features of the training.
Lieutenant Steever has recently been promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel and is stationed at Camp Dix, Dallas, Texas, where he has been in command of the aviation camp.
|The beginnings of kindergarten instruction in Wyoming were of private nature. In 1886 ]Mrs. F, D, M. Bratten established the Magic City Kindergarten in Cheyenne, charging a tuition fee of $4 a month. At the end of the year she had ten pupils. Subsequently other private kindergartens were opened in various communities of the state. It was not until 1895, however, that provision was made for public kindergartens. In that year the Legislature empowered the trustees of any school district to establish free kindergartens for children between the ages of four and six.|
|PRIVATE AND SECULAR SCHOOLS|
| At first private schools exceeded in importance the public schools. The census of 1870 enumerated four public schools with four teachers, while it listed five day and boarding schools with eleven teachers. The public schools were attended by 175 pupils, however, the private schools by 130.|
With improvement in the standard of public education, the private schools became, for a period, of less significance. One of the few to survive for a time was the Wyoming Institute, a Baptist school at Laramie, mentioned before. This school was abandoned in 1873. During its last year it had twenty-one boys and eighteen girls as students, but was unable to survive.
At Laramie was another educational institution, which was started about 1870. This was the St. Mary's School, a Roman Catholic institution, which failed to make much progress until 1880. In 1881 it had four teachers and seventy-three pupils. The next year its enrollment had jumped to no pupils, fifty of whom were boys. The figures for 1883-84 give for St. Mary's School thirty-five boys and fifty girls. The next year St. Mary's gave place to a larger and better equipped Roman Catholic school established at Cheyenne by the Society of the Holy Child Jesus. During the first year the Convent, or Academy, of the Holy Child Jesus occupied the old church building at the corner of Twenty-first and O'Neill streets, but in 1886 the present building was begun. The school was moved to the new quarters in the month of January, 1887. This original building has been improved and enlarged at various times since 1886 and now affords commodious quarters to twenty-one nurses and 250 pupils. From ninety to one hundred pupils were enrolled during the first year of the academy's existence. The academy is in charge of Mother Mary Stanislaus, the mother superior, and Mother Mary Gonzaga.
Another private institution was the Wyoming Collegiate Institute at Big Horn, a Congregational school started in 1894-95 with two men and one woman teachers and an enrollment of thirty-four boys and twenty-two girls. The previous year, though, 1893, the Sheridan High School had been started and forthwith the Wyoming Collegiate Institute declined and was finally abandoned.
In 1905 was opened the Cheyenne Business College and in the same year the Big Horn College in Basin. The latter enterprise was financed by a number of prominent Big Horn citizens and the school included courses in commercial, academic and musical subjects.
In 1909 was founded Jireh College at Jireh, Niobrara County, under the auspices of the Christian Church. This institution offers courses in secondary subjects and some elementary instruction of college grade. Since 1903 the enrollment of the private schools of Wyoming has increased from 260 in that year, to 427 in 1916.
| The problem of Indian education was met soon after the organization of the territory and some attempt made to provide the elements of vocational education for the red man. In 1870 the Protestant Episcopal Church maintained an Indian school among the Shoshonis with ten pupils. A few years later the school had dwindled to six, and in 1874 no Indian school was maintained. In 1878 a day school was established and a boarding school contemplated. In 1880 the agent among the Shoshonis and Bannocks submitted the following report:|
More recently the task of educating the Indian has been undertaken more seriously both by the churches and the Federal Government.
One of the purposes of the Wyoming University Extension Association, established in 1891, was the organization of a State Teachers' Association. A step in this direction was taken by the pubUcation for a time of the "Wyoming School Journal," edited by Prof. Henry Merz of the university. Meetings of the State Teachers' Association were held in Laramie, 1891; Cheyenne, 1892; Rawlins, 1893; Rock Springs, 1894; Evanston, 1895; and Laramie, 1897. The association, however, was already upon the decline and within five years succumbed. The state superintendent of public instruction in 1902 reported Wyoming as the only state without a teachers' association. Two years later, 1904, a new State Teachers' Association was organized at a meeting of state educators in Casper. The association was formed in September and in December appeared the first number of the new "Wyoming School Journal," which has been issued every month except July and August during the years since 1904. The Wyoming State Teachers' Association has met annually since its reorganization.
|THE PRESENT SYSTEM|
| At the session of the Wyoming Legislature in 1917 an "Act to establish a State Department of Education" was passed which completely revolutionized the system of educational administration then existing.|
Under the terms of this act "the general supervision of public schools shall be entrusted to a State Department of Education, at the head of which shall be a State Board of Education. The commissioner of education shall be the executive officer of the board, with powers and duties to be defined by law."
One of the salient features of the act is that it practically eliminates the executive power of the superintendent of public instruction, leaving this official with none of his former duties to perform. Under the new law all county educational affairs are under the control of the county superintendent of schools, and the district schools are under the care of the district board of school trustees.
The state board of education is composed of seven members. It is required that at least three of the board members be persons actively engaged in educational work. The state superintendent of public instruction is known as an ex-officio member, but without the right to vote. The members are appointed by the governor of the state for terms of six years, an appointment being made every two years. No salary is paid the board members, but each is allowed necessary expenses while engaged in official work. Meetings are held semi-annually on the second Monday in May and November.
The commissioner of education, who must be an experienced educator, is appointed by the board and is the executive officer, although he has no vote. A salary of $3,000 per annum is paid to the commissioner and his duties consist in issuing certificates, construing laws, etc. Another position, that of chief of the certification division, pays a salary of $2,000 a year.
Among the many duties of the state board of education are the following: to prescribe policies of educational administration throughout the state; to regulate courses of study and standardization; to prescribe rules for certification; to provide for an annual school census: to make a complete biennial report to the governor and Legislature; to oversee elementary, high, vocational and special schools; to conduct all investigations; to advise with the university regarding normal study and to assume the duies of the state board of examiners.
The relation between the board and the university is explained by the following words from the act: "Nothing in this Act or any chapter thereof shall be construed to limit or contravene the functions and powers of the Board of Trustees of the University of Wyoming as hitherto established by law in conformity with the Constitution of the State of Wyoming and the laws of the United States."
|CENSUS AND APPORTIONMENT BY COUNTIES|
| The following table, compiled by Edith K. O. Clark, superintendent of public instruction, in her report of 1915-16, shows the school census and apportionments by counties:
There were 32,433 white pupils and 197 negro pupils recorded in 1916. There were 30,684 native born pupils and 1,148 who were foreign born. Average cost per pupil per month–$8.50. Average wage for male teachers–$85.81 per month; for female teachers, $61.91.
|UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING|
| The State University of Wyoming is located at the City of Laramie. One of the first steps taken toward the establishment of such an institution may be said to have been the act of Congress, approved February 18, 1862, entitled "An Act to grant lands to Dakota, Montana, Arizona, Idaho and Wyoming for university purposes." This act gave to Wyoming, then a territory, seventy-two sections, or 46,080 acres of land, to be selected from the government tracts then within the territory.|
In his report to the secretary of the interior, 1878, the governor of Wyoming mentioned that a need would soon be felt for a college in the territory. By legislative enactment in 1886, the governor was authorized to appoint a commission of one to make the selection of university land under the Congressional act. Finally, 45,291 acres were chosen and largely leased to ranchmen and stockmen for grazing purposes. The territory never sold any of these lands, owing to the fact that a constitutional provision placed a minimum price of $10 per acre upon it before it could be sold.
Higher education did not receive any special legislation until the ninth Territorial Legislature passed a bill, approved March 4, 1886, which authorized formal action toward the organization of the university. This act provided for an income for current expenses by an annual tax of one-quarter mill on all taxable property in the territory. The bill provided for the establishment of an institution under the name and style of "The University of Wyoming, to be located at or near Laramie," the same to "impart to young men and women, on equal terms, a liberal education and thorough knowledge of the different branches of literature, the arts and sciences, with their varied applications." The government of this institution was vested in a board of seven trustees, "three of whom shall at all times be residents of the City of Laramie." This number was increased to nine in 1891.
Hon. Stephen W. Downey was the father of the bill creating the university.
Francis E. Warren, governor of the territory, appointed a building commission to have charge of the general construction work. A tract of land was secured, consisting of twenty acres, procured jointly from the City of Laramie and the Union Pacific Railroad Company. By the summer of 1887 a portion of the building was completed, but the entire structure was not finished until 1890, costing over $85,000. This edifice was known as the Liberal Arts Building.
On September 6, 1887, however, the territorial university was opened. The university proper opened with a faculty of seven, including the president, ex-Governor Hoyt. The first department organized was the College of Liberal Arts, the acknowledged nucleus of all university departments. A preparatory department was immediately added, owing to the unavoidable ill-preparation on the part of matriculants from most areas of Wyoming, and preparations, furthermore, were made even at this early date for all the schools essential to a state university. The two departments organized immediately thereafter were: A School of Mines and a School of Agriculture, although the catalog of 1890-91 announced, in addition to the above, a department of Law and a School of Commerce. The School of Agriculture was reorganized in 1891 and the division of Mining the next year. The following significant words were used in the report of the commission to visit the university, December, 1887: "We regard it also as fortunate that the different departments of a great University as proposed, should be in one place, under one management and faculty, not broken up into parts and separated by long distances and perhaps diverse sentiment. In unity there is at once economy and strength. The 'Colorado Plan' illustrates the reverse."
At the time of seeking admission as a state, the constitutional convention had made provision for the university. The first State Legislature which convened in Cheyenne, November 12, 1890, also passed an act providing for the Wyoming Agricultural College, its location to be fixed by vote of the people; and also created and named a board of five trustees to control the institution. In the same session, however, the Legislature authorized the university to accept the Federal appropriations for the support of agricultural colleges until such time as the Agricultural College of Wyoming should be located and established. Thus an agricultural college was created at Laramie. In 1892 the question of the location of the Agricultural College of Wyoming was submitted to the people and by a plurality, Lander as selected. No legislative enactment in conformity with this vote ensued, however, and the college remained at Laramie. Finally, in 1905, the Legislature definitely fixed it at that place, repealing the act of 1891 and ignoring the popular vote of 1892. Thereupon the trustees of the Agricultural College of Wyoming brought suit against the state treasurer to prevent the execution of the act. The case was ultimately appealed to the Federal Supreme Court, which decided. May 13, 1907, that the popular vote of 1892 was purely advisory and that the agricultural college should remain at Laramie in conformity with the legislative act of 1905.
In 1891 the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station was established at Laramie and sub-stations were located at Lander, Saratoga, Sheridan, Sundance and Wheatland. The sub-stations were abolished, however, in 1897 in accordance with a ruling of the Federal Department of Agriculture.
The catalog of the university for 1891-92 announced provision for university extension whereby the whole state might share in the benefits of the institution and not alone those who were so fortunate as to attend it in residence. Steps in this direction had already been taken by President Hoyt, who organized the Wyoming Academy of Arts, Sciences, and Letters. "Meetings, literary and historical, were of frequent occurrence, participated in by members of the faculty and by many of the citizens of Wyoming * * * and papers of more than passing interest were presented by persons from dififerent parts of the state." Local extension "centers" were organized at Cheyenne with sixty-five members and at Laramie with forty-five members and the Wyoming University Extension Association formed. The following year another center was added at Rock Springs with fourteen members. The same year, also, a beginning of instruction by correspondence was made.
By 1893-94 the matter of preparation for the university was being more adequately handled by local high schools and a list of such accredited schools was compiled whose graduates might enter the university without further examination; The list, then, comprised Cheyenne, Evanston, Lander, Laramie, Rawlins, Rock Springs and Sheridan.
In 1896-97 the College of Agriculture was reorganized with a one-year course, a two-year course,.and a four-year course. This last led to a degree and was supplemented by a graduate department in agriculture.
The School of Military Science was added in 1892 and the School of Music in 1895.
The catalog of 1897-98 announced the readiness of the university to grant the degree of Master of Arts and the next year a preparatory and first year medical course were outlined as well as a two-year pre-legal course. The latter had been foreshadowed in the report of the trustees of the University in December, 1889. "While not yet prepared to open a full law school with regular courses of instruction looking to a degree, the university has made arrangements for lectures by a number of distinguished gentlemen whose courses, to be given at their convenience, will afiford to private students of the law in the territory an excellent opportunity to lay the foundations in a study of general principles for a full and systematic course at a somewhat later day." The continuance of these, however, did not seem justified and it was not until 1915-16 that preparations were made for their reestablishment and revision.
The campus of the university now contains forty acres, which is gradually being supplied with both shade and ornamental trees.
The Liberal Arts Building, the first to be erected, faces the west and is 150 feet by 50 feet in dimensions and is of three stories, with basement. The material used in the construction is native sandstone, obtained in the nearby mountains. There are twenty-eight rooms, steam-heated and lighted by electricity. The auditorium, seating 400 persons, is upon the second floor of the building.
The Mechanical Building, costing $12,000, was completed in the spring of 1893 for the College of Mechanical Engineering. Sandstone was also used in this stmcture of twelve rooms.
The Hall of Science was completed in 1902. The Gymnasium and Armory Building was erected in the summer of 1903, at a cost of $15,000. In the spring of 1907 the Legislature transferred the old penitentiary property to the university and appropriated $5,000 to repair and equip it. The Woman's Building was secured from the liberal appropriation made by the Legislature in 1907. The Normal School Building was erected by funds from the 1909 appropriation and cost $50,000. It was finished August 1, 1910. The Central Heating Plant, located near the center of the campus, cost $16,000, and was installed in 1904. Agricultural Hall was erected in 1914 for instructional and laboratory purposes. The building cost $102,000. The first unit of a second Woman's Dormitory, Hoyt Hall, was constructed in 1916, at a cost of $45,000.
The act of March, 1886, creating the university, had provided for its maintenance by a tax of one-fourth of a mill on all taxable property in the territory. The first state legislature in 1891 undertook to offset the support granted by the Agricultural College of the University under the act of 1862 and the so-called Morrill Act and Hatch Act–whose terms were now complied with–by reducing the state appropriations from one-fourth of a mill to one-eighth. This remained the source of state support until 1905. when the rate was raised by the Legislature to three-eighths of a mill and by the Legislature of 1909 to one-half of a mill (but limited to $33,000 annually). In 1911 the amount to be raised by the half-mill tax was limited to $85,000. The Legislature of 1913 fixed the tax at three-eighths of a mill without limitation. In 1915 an additional permanent building tax of one-eighth of a mill was voted. In addition to the income from the earlier federal acts in support of agricultural and mechanical education, already noted, the Agricultural College of the University and the Agricultural Experiment Station have received appropriations from the Adams Act of 1906, the Nelson Act of 1907 and the Smith-Lever Act of 1915. By an act of the Wyoming Legislature in 1915 the university is to receive one-fourth of the income of 200.000 acres of federal land granted to the state for "charitable, educational, penal, and reformatory institutions."
The different presidents of the University of Wyoming have been:
Dr. J. W. Hoyt–May 11, 1887, until December 31, 1890: deceased.
Dr. A. A. Johnson–March 27, 1891, until June 30, 1896; Denver, Colo.
Dr. E. P. Graves–July 1, 1896, until June 30, 1898; Philadelphia.
Dr. E. E. Smiley–July 1, 1898, until August 31, 1903; deceased.
Dr. C. W. Lewis–September 7, 1903, until June, 1904; deceased.
Dr. F. M. Tisdel–July 22. 1904. until March 28, 1908; Columbia, Mo.
Dr. C. O. Merica–May 8, 1908, until July 31, 1912; Kendallville, Ind.
Dr. C. A. Duniway–August 1, 1912, until September 1, 1917; Colorado Springs. Colo.
Dr. Aven Nelson (acting)—September 1, 1917, until June 30, 1918; Laramie, Wyo.
The total enrollment in the departments of the University, exclusive of short courses and correspondence study students, has increased by decades as follows: in 1890 there were 82 enrolled; in 1900 there were 187; in 1910 there were 315 and in 1917 there were 618.
The people of Wyoming may well be proud of this record of the University's material prosperity and its educational achievements, which have given it such a high rank among the state universities of our country. No state in the Union has been more liberal in its endowments or shown a broader and more progressive spirit in promoting all the agencies for a free, common school and higher education for all classes of our people.
During the past year a night school system of free instruction of adult aliens is being inaugurated in the principal cities and towns of the state by the official boards of public instruction, acting in cooperation with the national government. In this way every citizen of our great state may be qualified to become a legal voter, as our state constitution has a provision which requires that every voter must be able to read the constitution in English.