Saturday, March 22, 2014

The First School in Monrovia

Have you ever wondered why Monrovia has such a strange shape? According to John L. Wiley's  History of Monrovia, it all goes back to the establishment of Monrovia's first school district. William Monroe, Monrovia's founder, desired that his children should have a school to attend. However, according to the law, there needed to be fifteen children of school age in a district in order for a school to be formed and to be eligible for county aid. Monroe had four children, and his brother had three more. Of course, this wasn't enough. A couple of families were located who lived further south, however, near the San Gabriel River, and they had five children between them. Their location resulted in the extension of the city's boundaries south of Duarte Road. With just three children to go in order to meet the requirements, Lucky Baldwin, owner of the Santa Anita Rancho to the west, stepped in. He “loaned” a family with three children to the district, and they were housed in a tent while the school was organized. Miss Anna Dickey of Pasadena, formerly a governess to the Monroe family, became the first schoolteacher in the district.
 If you would like to read more about the early days of Monrovia, History of Monrovia is available for library use at the Monrovia Public Library.

Source: John L. Wiley, History of Monrovia (Pasadena: Press of Pasadena Star-News, 1927), p. 45-46.

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