When Walt was living here, in Marceline, he attended Park School, on the west side of town. Walt was in the first class that attended after it was newly constructed in 1908. Walt's father, Elias, had chose to hold Walt home from school an extra year, so that he and his little sister Ruth could attend together, when Ruth was old enough.
Park School was brand new when Walt attended, and had been built to accommodate the growing population of Marceline in the early 1900's. During that time, the railroad and coal mining industries were booming here. Marceline had two major coal mines, one on each end of town, North and South, and several smaller mines scattered about. Walt remembered the coal mines from his youth, and how he had thought of them as mountains back then.
The first built elementary school, Central School, stood on the east side of town, in the location of our current High School on the 300th block of Santa Fe Avenue (several streets were named after the railroad during the construction of our town). It made sense to have two grade schools, one on each side of town, so that children would not have to cross the railroad tracks to get to and from school.
With the invention of the diesel train engines, coal was no longer needed to power the steam locomotives, so the coal mines shut down, mining families moved away, and Marceline no longer needed two separate grade schools.
On the corner of the High School front lawn, in a landscaping display, you can see the old bell from the original bell tower of Central School. Most locals think it is a tribute to our annual Bell Game, a varsity football rivalry that dates back to the early 1900's, if you want to know more about the Bell Game, just ask any local, they would be happy to tell you about it!
With the building of our brand new elementary school, dedicated by Walt Disney in 1960, the old Park school closed down and all elementary students were routed to the new school. The old Park School was leveled and a grocery store now stands in the original footprint. On a trip back to Marceline in 1955, Walt revisited the old park school and locate his childhood desk. You know how he found it? By his initials, of course! That he had carved into the desk as a child. You too, can look for his initials on his school desk, which is on display the Walt Disney Boyhood Museum.