HistoryRICH IN TRADITION...In 1855, Victor Fredenhagen, farmer, dabbler in local politics, and later a member of the Illinois General Assembly, donated a half-acre on the resent site of 59th and Cass Avenue to be used for the construction of a schoolhouse.
Early information is sparse, but records indicate that on September 15, 1877, the Directors (school board members)
were confronted with the necessity of replacing the 1855 building. The limit set for construction was $1,000 with the stipulation that borrowings not exceed $500. By 1878 the new school was open. The sturdy one-room, frame structure was completed at a total cost of $664.03, all furnishings included. The building lasted into the 1950's.
Teaching in a one-room country school was not easy. Ruth Vial Martin was nineteen when she was hired in 1917. "The first year I had eight pupils, was my own janitor, and scrubbed the floor and carried wood. I took the 7:29 train and sometimes would catch a ride the rest of the way to school with a farmer who had taken his milk to the railroad platform to be delivered to Chicago. When the frost was coming out of the ground, I had to wear my boots for weeks to get through where the cattle walked. I received $45 per month for eight months."
In 1925 the newly formed P.T.A. decided that the school should be named after "Grandma" Maercker because of all the volunteer work she had done. Anna Oldfield Maercker was born in England in 1842 and lived most of her life on a farm several hundred yards south of the school. Both her husband, Charles, and her son, George, served as directors for many years.
A two-room brick addition complete with the first indoor plumbing was built behind the frame structure in 1929. The Depression soon followed with WPA workers (cooks and physical education helpers), hot lunches served in the basement, and teachers paid with tax warrants.
After World War II the District's population grew rapidly. Holmes School was built in 1961 and Westview Hills Middle School opened in 1974. In 2003, the new Maercker School was completed to serve the District's third, fourth, and fifth grade students.