Allen Elementary School opened in 1952.
Allen was named after Henry J. Allen who served as governor of Kansas and United States Senator.
Allen was born September 12, 1868, in Pittsfield, Pennsylvania. The Allen’s moved to Clay County, Kansas in the 1870’s.
Allen attended Baker and Washburn Universities studying journalism but left before graduating. Over the next few years, he managed the Salina Republican. He also owned several papers including the Manhattan Nationalist, the Ottawa Herald, and the Salina Republican (later the Salina Journal). Allen would eventually purchase the Wichita Beacon.
On October 19, 1891, Allen married Elsie J. Nuzman Allen. They had four children.
He was head of communication for the American Red Cross during World War I. While serving in France he was nominated by the Republican party for governor.
Allen was elected the 21st governor of Kansas and served two terms. During his time in office, Allen called for the removal of the Ku Klux Klan in Kansas. In 1925, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled the Klan was a “foreign corporation” and could be legally ousted, making Kansas the first state to toss out the KKK.
Allen also created the Kansas Court of Industrial Relations to push collective bargaining but prohibit strikes. It caused a large strike of coal miners in Pittsburg. You can read more about it in this Road Trip story.
Interesting side note: Journalist William Allen White wrote an editorial in protest and Governor Allen had him arrested.
Allen did not seek reelection to a third term and left office on January 8, 1923.
In 1929 Allen was appointed to fill a vacancy in the U.S. senate, where he served from 1929-1930.
The Allen’s commissioned the design and construction of the only Frank Lloyd Wright house in Kansas. It was the last house Wright designed in his Prairie style. The Allen’s lived there from 1918 until 1947. The house still stands and is now home to a museum.
Henry died on January 17, 1950, and Elsie passed away on December 29, 1951, at the age of 82. They are both interred at Maple Grove Cemetery.
According to, “A History of Wichita Public School Buildings,” “in the winter of 1953, Allen was the largest school in the city.”
Booth and Griffith Schools were built to ease the overcrowding.
Hearing impaired special education students were housed at Allen from 1959 through 1990. In 1990, the hearing-impaired program was moved to Caldwell Elementary School.
A 2000 bond issue brought about the replacement of the old Allen building. The new school was built on the same site and opened in 2003. More classrooms were added in 2013 along with a standalone cafeteria.
Check out Wichita’s other schools.
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