A Neighborhood Landmark for Nearly 100 Years

1925 Addition
The 1925 addition to the school,
picured here, still had the original
windows in the building.

Based on information provided by
Ed Zimmer, Historic Preservation Planner,
City of Lincoln

Hayward School has architectural significance, in part, from its status as the oldest surviving schoolhouse in the Lincoln Public School District. The building was named for U.S. Senator Monroe L. Hayward, a lawyer, farmer and stockraiser who died in 1899. Hayward was used as school until 1968 and had other public uses until 1982. In 1985, the building was sold and converted to condominiums.

A Time Capsule of Details

Architecturally, the school embodies, in nearly unaltered form, three distinct styles of public school architecture built over a relatively short period of time. The ornate original building - located in the center of the block-long structure - was designed in 1904 and employs especially fine terra cotta decoration of unusual late Renaissance or Baroque derivation. The 1913 addition at the south end eschews applied ornament for fine brickwork and restrained Classical and Romanesque motifs. Architecturally, it very consciously responds to the massing of the original building, developing a new and balanced composition with the tall auditorium pavilion as the new center. The 1925-1926 addition at the north end is unresponsive to the existing building. The very long addition is notable for Georgian Revival detailing on the new north entrance.

A Unique Role: Educating Beet Field Children

In the 1900s, there were about 4,000 German Russians in Lincoln, half of whom lived in the North Bottoms neighborhood. Many of these immigrants - adults and children - derived a major portion of their income by working in the sugar beet fields of central and western Nebraska.

Hayward was the principal Lincoln school that served the needs of these immigrant children. According to an early Lincoln Public Schools' historian, "In November of each year the 'beet field children' as they are called, return to Lincoln for the winter months and to attend school .six new school rooms are opened for them and special teachers are employed for them. Over 300 are in attendance during the winter months. They return to the beet fields the first of May."

The educational progress of the children posed a substantial challenge, when the regular school term in 1907 was three months longer than their stay in Lincoln. In 1924, the Scottsbluff Star-Herald reported the school district in Scottsbluff organized a special summer school for "beet field children" to enable them to re-enter classes following harvest "without embarrassment to themselves and almost nervous prostration on the part of the teacher"

Return to the Spring 2000 Newsletter