The town of Hubbard was laid out in 1880 by the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railroad. The town was named Hubbard in honor of Judge A. W. Hubbard, the first President of the Covington, Columbus and Blackhill Railroad.
The people of Hubbard being family oriented felt they should provide education for their children. The first school was built ½ mile northeast of Hubbard (the Paul High – now the Joe and Cherie Conley – home) in 1882.
Family names having children in school were: Beacom, Rooney, Duggan, Hartnett, Heffernan, Lahey, Lahery, Cullen, Graham and Heeney. Frank Heeney was the School Board Director and Mary Howard was the first teacher. There were 44 children attending school. By 1900 the census showed an increase in pupils as 82 children were listed.
For the school year of October 9, 1899 to June 1, 1900 the following pupils were enrolled:
Teachers were: Josephine Kennelly and Katie Ford. School Board members were: Frank Heeney, Herman Renze and Daniel Hartnett.
As families grew, the people saw need for advanced education. Frank Heeney and Herman Renze promoted the first high school which became a reality in 1906. Hugh Donahue was the principal. There were 10 grades. Mary Heeney and Mabel McGee graduated in 1907. At that time one could finish at the tenth grade, take a short course and teach school.
In February of 1922 the school burned to the ground. The Sioux City Journal write-up was as follows: “Hubbard High School burns to the ground. 100 children marched from the structure unaware of the fact that it was anything other than a Fire Drill.” This was not true, as the children were trying to save books by throwing them down the fire escape. In the midst of all the panic, Mrs. Decker was trying to get back up the stairs to save her alarm clock while the men were carrying the piano down the steps.
A two week vacation was called, supplies were secured, and school was resumed in different locations in town. The High School, seventh and eighth grades were located in the Woodman of the Hall Building. Other classes were held in a church which stood where the McKivergan house stands and in Martin Beacom’s house. Mrs. William (Farrel) Walsh and Mrs. Decker were high school teachers and Margaret Mitchell, Benetta Heeney and Mabel Rooney were teachers in the lower grades.
Plans for a new school began immediately. By the fall of 1922 classes were held in the new school. E.O. Danielson and Claire Kavanaugh were high school teachers, while Margaret Mitchell, Benetta Heeney and Mabel Rooney taught the grades. John Green, John Harty and Dan Hartnett Sr. were on the school board.
In May 1923 the first class graduated from the 11th grade. Burkett Evans, Alice Larsen (Renz), James Howard, Ella Rasmussen (Jepson) and Mary C. Hartnett (Bartels) were members of the class. In 1924 the twelfth grade was added.
In the early 1940’s the Government was offering financial aid to area schools. Hubbard school board members took advantage of the offer and erected a classroom, which was later changed to the kitchen for the hot lunch programs and added a much needed gym. $16,000 was the cost. The government paid $9,000 and the Hubbard School District paid the rest. School board members were Martin Skoog, John Harty and Freddie Bartels.
The Class of 1943 was the first class to use the gym for graduation. They were John P. Heeney, Lavone Rockwell, Richard Chapman, Ray Richards, Thomas Macklen and Joseph Beacom. Teachers were Forrest Rockwell and Miss Dahl.
In the late 1950’s the State Department of Education was requiring more Science in Hubbard. People felt they couldn’t afford the expense of adding all the equipment that would be needed. They looked into merging with a larger school. In 1960 Hubbard patrons still voted to keep their high school, but in 1961 they merged with Emerson. The name was changed to Emerson-Hubbard Community Schools. Kindergarten through sixth grades were taught in Hubbard.
With merging of the schools cam busing – the first bus driver was Frank (Bud) Francisco. Emerson closed the grade school in 1989. The town of Hubbard bought the building.
The flag pole that was installed at the school in 1918 was moved around 1991 to an area on Main Street beside the fire hall. The flag pole was dedicated to the people of Hubbard and their families.
Hubbard can be proud of their graduates of the Hubbard High School. They have chosen all walks of life: Clergy, Sisters, doctors, nurses, lawyers, engineers, agronomists, teachers, storekeepers, farmers and parents. We are proud of them all no matter what life they have chosen.
Freddie Bartels has served the longest term of any board member. He served as President of the board for 22 years. It was his job to present the diplomas at graduation. For 22 years he gave the same little speech – “It is an Honor and Pleasure as a member of the Board of Education, to present the diplomas to the Class of ____”
–Information from the archives of John “Jack” Heeney dated June 27, 1991–