Re: Old schools
Date: November 05, 2013 06:47PM
Nordsider and Tom12ga,
I am a newbee to this website and stumbled upon it purely by accident;
I searched the Internet for pics\ infos on my first school in the U.S. (I.N.Arnold
elementary School) and lo & behold, I found your picture of the burning school!
First off, I thought I'd give you a little of my history: We were immigrants from Hanover Germany living in the U.S. since April of '56. I was only 5 years old when I started Kindergarten under a Miss Uhr in the "basement" of Arnold school and yes,I DO remember our principal was a Mr. Farrell. We lived at 639 W. Armitage on the 2nd floor and our cousins lived on the 3rd floor of the same building.This was directly across from the then Waller H.S. (Now Lincoln Park H.S.) I hardly spoke any english at this time and had a hard time of it at school as a result. I vaguely remember going with my cousins in Arnolds assembly hall to see a puppet show of Pinocchio just before our 1958 Christmas vacation. One night after 1959 new year (just before we were to return to school) at around 8:00 p.m. I was upstairs playing with my cousins and Heidi, my oldest cousin looks out the kitchen and shrieks " O mein Gott, die Schule brennt!"( Oh my God, the schools burning!)
We all ran to the window and could see huge flames leaping from the back and the roof of the building. Being only 5 years old It made a deep and psychologically disturbing impression on me ... Our family was very religious and they all held a prayer meeting at this time but I managed to sneak downstairs to our residence just to watch the fire... I was just mesmerized by it all and later when my parents came down, gave me a tongue lashing and told me to go to bed, I couldn't sleep all night and watched the fire into the morning hours when the Chicago Fire Dept. finally had the fire under control, although most of I.N. Arnold school was a smoking shell.
Well, as a result, we were off for another 2 to 3 weeks until the authorities figured out where to put all of us! Eventually I was re-united with my kindergarten class (Miss Uhr) at a "Boysclub" or YMCA building not far away, only for about a week. Thereupon I was transferred to Walter E. Newberry School where they had a really mean principal named Miss Peterson who used to scream,slap and otherwise abuse us kids! I was supposed to be returned to Kindergarten, but she told my Aunt (who took care of us) that I was "too tall"(!) for kindergarten and was put in the 1st grade where I received 3 "U"s on my report card in the springtime...Duhh...'wonder why? Incidently, Mr. Farrell was now also sharing "principalship" with this Miss Peterson at Newberry.
Anyway, I used to walk home from Newberry school and I'd always try to sneak into the doors of the burned out Arnold school out of curiosity but was always caught by a black crossing guard policelady who brought me home to mother by my ears and got a licking from mom every time!
We moved to the 2600 N. Burling St. Block in April of '59 and I attended Louisa May Alcott School on N. Orchard St. until 4th grade when my family moved to the suburbs in 1963.
From time to time in my later years I was always curious ABOUT that Arnold School fire.. HOW did it happen and WHO or WHAT started it?: I would go on line searching news archives and any kind of leads...but always drew a blank until
today Nov. 5th,2013 when I came upon this website and your pictures and articles!
Would you or anyone reading this have any more information\pictures regarding
this event? Please forgive my "longwindedness"in this message...I'm just very curious.
Sincerly, Arno Riewe
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/06/2013 02:15PM by ARNO1.