Le Roy Minnesota is a community that has seen its ups and downs. First located on Lake Louise through which the Upper Iowa river flows in what is now referred to as "Old Town," it began to grow and prosper. Henry Edmonds was the first to open a store in the original village. He is also attributed with opening his home to the first religious services.
Later, after the arrival of the railroads the McGregor & Western railway company laid out a new town site in the midst of one of the finest farms in the state. The town picked up and moved. Education was important to the original settlers. The original school building was a house belonging to Charles McNeil and it operated in 1870 as School District No. 79. Later the 79 district closed and became consolidated with the Le Roy School district and a new school building was erected in the new town.
The new town grew, structures such as schools, hotels, bakeries and all the businesses that make a town come to life began to appear. The railroad brought prosperity and eternal hope.
Le Roy Cemetery Association
A meeting was called on March 13, 1863, to consider the organization of a cemetery association. A committee under the leadership of A.J. Palmer, Rev.T.P.Ropes and William Gilson eventually established the association. Land was purchased and cleared. Following adoption of by-laws and election of officers, the land was surveyed and plots laid out.
The cemetery was readied by June of 1866. A new road was laid out to the cemetery on the west edge of "Old Town." The group was dedicated to making a beautiful final resting place for its loved ones.
The first trustees for the association were: Charles Smith, William Graham, J.D. Cowels, S.P. Bacons, T.P. Ropes, W.A. Gilson, J.M. Wycoff, Z.B. Daily and Daniel Caswell.
The important position of secretary has been served by J.M. Wycoff from 1863-1923, 60-year term; Charles Palmer, for one year; F.M. Meyer, 8 years from 1924 to 1932; Charles Daily, 33 years from 1932 to 1965; Merle Lamon, 9 years from 1965 to 1974; and Beatrice Volkart, from 1974 until 1991.
During the past 120 years the association has annexed additional lands to meet the needs of the community. It is adjoined by the LeRoy Lutheran and the St. Patrick Catholic Cemeteries. In 1969, a mausoleum was constructed costing $2,500.
The City of LeRoy now cares for the cemetery. If you are looking for ancestors or have any questions about the cemetery, please write to the City Clerk or email at email@example.com for further information.
Le Roy Schools
The first school to serve the citizens of LeRoy was held in the home of Miss Melissa Allen in 1856 in District 4. In 1857,Daniel Caswell opened a school in his home in "Old Town."
A grout or stone building was erected that fall at the present site of the Lutheran Cemetery. It was used for public meetings as well.
When the community moved to the new town site, so did the school. A two-story brick building was built at a cost of $5,000 in 1868. One hundred and fifty students attended the school from grade one and up. Dunbar Leach headed the staff as principal. A definite course of study was established in 1869. To meet the ever increasing enrollment, the school added extra rooms. The first addition was in 1883, the second in 1892.
The first class graduated in 1892. Members of the class were William Allen, Anna Kasson, Maude McKnight, Henry Bishop and May Avery. School board members included C.A. Roy, George Palmer, R. Hall, W.M. Walker, F.J. Young and Mrs. G.M. Alsdorf.
The school was serving all twelve grades and a larger school was needed with a modern approach. A two-story brick building was built at the present site of the high school gymnasium.
Sports became a part of the curriculum in 1903 with the formation of a girls' basketball team and the first field Meet. Baseball came in 1905 and football in 1909. An addition was completed in 1912.
The school built an athletic field to the east of the building in cooperation with the city. Lights were added in 1937. A $47,000 gymnasium-auditorium, and two classrooms were constructed in 1939.
In the winter of 1942, a hot lunch program was begun and a lunchroom and kitchen were added in 1947.
As the need for education beyond the eighth grade became more apparent, four classrooms, a science laboratory and a home economics laboratory were added to the west of the gymnasium.
The largest increase and consolidation plan took place in 1956. Eighteen districts including the Ostrander Village school combined with LeRoy.
This consolidation brought the school population to 281 elementary and 214 high school students. An expansion of the school was necessary and a $525,000 bond issue was authorized.
The construction produced a three-classroom elementary school on a five-acre site at Ostrander. Also included in the building was a library, offices, sick room, kitchen and a 40 by 60 foot multipurpose room.
In LeRoy, a nine classroom elementary addition was built directly behind the old school. The addition included many auxiliary rooms. A new and larger gymnasium was added on the site of the old school after it was raised.
A supplementary bond issued in 1958 supplied the funds for two elementary classrooms and other facilities. Remodeling created a classroom, agriculture room and industrial arts area.
The LeRoy-Ostrander schools have carried on a tradition of scoring high in music and drama.
Although the school had to temporarily close the Ostrander Elementary School because of declining enrollment, future plans were to reopen it in the 1984 or 1985 school year. Voters passed a 6 mil levy in 1981 to insure future excellence in education.
In 1990 a four lane olympic indoor swimming pool was built featuring the largest whirlpool in southern Minnesota.
A new addition and renovation was completed at the LeRoy-Ostrander School in 1997 and 1998. This included a Media Center with updated technology, Commons Area, Music Addition, Agricultural/Industrial Arts, Gym restoration, Kitchen and Administrative Offices. The total building has been made handicapped accessible.
The School also offers many recreational and educational opportunities through its Community Education program.
In 1901, a group of ladies interested in expanding the educational opportunities available and feeling a need for additional cultural influences, organized the Book Club. The group, numbering 13, met on a regular basis to purchase and pass along books. Each was to purchase two books a year and these were to be passed along every two weeks. At the end of the year, they could be given to others outside the club.
Soon the supply of books and the number of members surpassed the space available in the members' homes. In 1908, the group under the leadership of Mrs. Hart, Mrs. Porter and Mrs. Sprung; formed the Library Association. They then began to raise funds for a permanent building.
The first library was in a building on Main Street, later the location of John's Tire Shop. Members served as librarians and the community was invited to share the books available.
J.D. Palmer donated lots in northern LeRoy Village for a library site. Plans were drawn up and in 1914, the city voted to assist the library project. A mass meeting raised $5,000. With volunteer help, the building was erected in 1915. The ladies held teas to pay off the remaining $1,000 debt and presented the building to the city on January 13, 1916.
The city began a levy for support of the library in 1921. The Library Association disbanded in 1931. The library was open 7 days a week. The first librarian to serve was Clara Silsbee. Miss Anna Price served as librarian from 1924 to 1967. Jan Soltau served as librarian from 1967 until 2005. Present librarian is Rhonda Barnes.
A fire in November of 1965 gutted the building and destroyed over 5,000 books. The LeRoy Library Association again was organized to restore the library. Through efforts of many in the community, the library reopened in the fall of 1966. It had 505 books on hand from the original library and 600 on loan from the state.
The LeRoy library joined the county library system in 1967. The library is governed by the LeRoy Library Board under the direction of the LeRoy City Council. http://leroy.lib.mn.us