Named for an American president, either Benjamin or William Henry Harrison - the records are unclear, Harrison School opened on October 13, 1930, with 164 students from grades Kindergarten through four. The fifth and sixth grade students were located in other school buildings. Five teachers plus the principal, Miss Johannah Chapman, composed the teaching staff. Few houses were located north of Hamilton Street and cows often grazed under the classroom windows. Mules, horses, and chickens also appeared from time to time.
Overcrowding led to the need for an addition which was started in 1949, but the new addition still did not include enough room for fifth and sixth graders, so another addition, containing the gymnasium, stage, kitchen, and two classrooms was built immediately upon completion of the first addition. Construction of the two additions was completed in 1953. The playground leveling was finished by 1955.
A very active P.T.A. has been a continuous source of support, both financially and educationally, since the first year of Harrison's existence. The first by-laws of the organization provided that a Harrison father should be president, there should be four meetings a year from eight to ten, and that everyone should have gone home by ten o'clock after having had refreshments and a little gossip with his neighbors. In 1945, the by-laws were changed to allow a woman to hold the office of president. Modernization of the by-laws have also included a change in the specified times and frequency of meetings as well as the dropping of the mention of refreshments and gossip!!
Historical Timeline (1930-1972)
1930: Harrison was completed on the edge of a walnut grove on what was then the western most part of Omaha.
1931: the first year PTA was started. The first principal was Miss Johannah Chapman. Teachers were Mildred Eddy, Lillian Anderson, Elizabeth Rainey, Bertha Petersen, and Elizabeth Wilson.
1933-34: PTA was inactive
1934-35: PTA started working towards an addition to the school
1935-35: Houses began to appreas on the north side of Western Avenue as far down as 56th Street.
1936-37: the principal is Miss Cassie F. Roys. Teachers are Eloise Hillis, Helen Nason, Anne Caldwell, Dorothy Dinneen, and Marie McCarthy.
1939: the school was so overcrowded that the first graders had to go half days. Parental protest brought classes back to full days. A screen was used to divide a room.
1940-41: The meadow to the north of the school was filling up with houses in a new addition called Country Club Heights.
1941-42: Safety Patrol was established.
1942-43: An all school drive was conducted to help the war effort. Collected broom handles, paper, tin cans, jar lids, and wool. Also sold war bonds.
1943-44: The PTA drew up a petition to have a sidewalk on 53rd street, and they got it.
1945-46: A motion was passed to make it lawful for a woman to hold the office of PTA president.
1949-50: Construction began on the new addition
1950-52: the addition included Omaha's first satalite cafeteria under the direction of Mrs. A. Gabrielson. 1951-52: a polio block canvass was held and Cub Pack 365 was established and sponsored by the PTA. New principal: Mrs. Mayme Carpenter.
1954-55: the new addition was dedicated on Sunday, Sept. 26th, at 2:00 P.M.
1955-56: New principal: Miss Ethel Grace Hart
1956-57: Monroe Junior and Benson High were so crowded that we kept our seventh graders at Harrison.
1958-59: a class of 6th graders came to us from Western Hills while their addition was being constructed. a new piano was purchased for the 2nd floor
1960-61: parents joined Monroe Junior High in trying to secure red and green signal lights at 52nd and Bedford, a year-round swimming pool at Rachel Gallagher Park, and also for the widening of 52nd Street.
1961-62: sixth grade students from Crestridge School were brought to Harrison. The PTA purchased red drapes for the stage.
1963-64: we adopted the 5th and 6th grades of Laura Dodge School. Total enrollment: 585!!
1965-66: summer school offerings included Reading, Spanish, French, Economics and Art.
1966-67: the entire school was painted, and the office was refurbished.
1968-69: improvements made to the teacher's lounge
1970-71: PTA purchased new Techni-tilt screens, two basketball backboards.
1971-72: Two portables were placed on the east side of the school.
2005-07: Spent two years at Harrison North (old Druid Hill) while Harrison was remodeled
2007-08: Students return to a remodeled school.