THE EARLY DAYS: A SHORT HISTORY

I started reading A Medical Gentlemen, a book that highlights the life of Dr. James Waring, a rather famous name in the history of this school. Thanks to his grandson, Ted White, we have a copy of Mary Cable’s To Cure, To Help, To Comfort: The Life of  Dr. Waring in the archives.

I begin with a quote from Dr. Waring in a letter he wrote to his wife Ruth in 1927, “If Graland school is a success, but what we ought to send them there this winter.”

This is an introduction, I believe, to Paton’s book. I found these pages in the archives -- as I have mentioned many times, discoveries bring joy to this lonesome job.

“The little girls were, in fact, were only four and three when the new country day school opened with twenty-three boys and twenty-eight girls. Ruth and Anne were not yet of school age when their mother and Abby Staunton (Mrs. Morrison) Shafroth helped found the school. Virginia Shafroth Newton, a daughter of the Shafroths, recalls that there was first a kindergarten on East Eighth Avenue in Denver about 1925. Ruth Porter Waring and Abby Staunton Shafroth talked to the two women who ran the school, Grace Laird and Virginia Braswell; then, they contacted Georgia Nelson at the Shady Hill School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and persuaded her to come to Denver to help start Graland, operating out of a small house at 1012 Pennsylvania until a school could be built. Virginia Newton states that James Waring and Morrison ‘were somewhat skeptical that their wives could start a school but changed their minds when they returned from a visit to The Denver Post with a $10,000 check.’ Among others who helped in the fundraising were Alice (Mrs.Leroy) McWhinney, Mrs. Henry Toll, and Mrs. Fred Lanagan.

“Ruth (Mrs. Paul) Gorham has been associated with the school since 1930, mainly as a teacher, and today serves with the school’s Development staff, maintaining relationships with alumni. She. . .  tells how Grace Laird and Virginia Braswell started with a preschool on Colfax Avenue between Cook and Madison Streets in 1924 before the move in 1925 to the Green House at 773 Franklin Street, providing the first grade of the new school. She recalls that James Waring wanted the school located east and south of the city on high ground, with plenty of sunshine. Before the land was acquired in 1927, the founders wrote,’The ideal location would be a ten-acre tract situated southeast of the city limits. This would be high land, sloping to the southwest, thus, assuring a maximum of sunlight and affording an unobstructed view of the mountain ranges, and being accessible to the city. Here, also the air of free from smoke and dust.’ James Waring’s beliefs on the benefits of sunshine were shared by the administration of Graland Country Day School. For many years, after lunch and in good weather, the children rested on portable cots on the spacious flat roof adjacent to the gymnasium.

“Ruth Gorham and Henry Toll, Jr. recall that the Warings walked over to see Mrs. Verner Z. Reed, who lived nearby, and returned with the deed (or at least assurance . . (for) the land on which the school eventually was located. Ruth Porter Waring, who was among the fifteen persons named on the July 23, 1927, Certificate of Incorporation issued by the state was the primary donor of funds required to build the new school campus. Jacques Benedict, the architect for the Waring home at 910 Gaylord Street and Ruth’s mountain cabin in Evergreen, was the architect for Graland. When ground was broken at First and Birch Streets in 1927, daughter Anne, age three, dug the first shovelful of dirt (Thirty-three years later Anne’s son, Ted White, dug the first shovelful of dirt for Graland’s Humphreys Building). All the land around the school was prairie; Clermont and East Ellsworth Avenue comprised the other sides of the block. In recognition of their efforts, Ruth Waring and Abby Shafroth were later elected as the two-lifetime trustees of Graland.

“Virginia Newton gives an idea of how undeveloped the area was in the 1930’s. Once a week she and her sister Ellen rode horses to school from their farm, north of what is now Belleview Avenue and east of University. After school, they would ride back home with the Hottentot Riding Club. When they studied knighthood, a Graland tradition, they used their horses as part of the pageantry.

“Anne tells of what Graland instilled: intellectual curiosity, freedom of expression, independence, and love of books. Cooperation, rather than competition, was emphasized. Another happy memory is of Georgia Nelson, Headmistress, who read to the children, after lunch and also taught when there was a need. Georgia Nelson was an inspiration to all. Not only had Ruth Waring and Abby Shafroth chosen the right person to run the school, but, with the assistance of other parents, they also had been successful in fundraising to start the school.”
 

 
 
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Graland Country Day School

55 CLERMONT STREET    DENVER, CO 80220    303.399.0390   
Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.