Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Griffith Elementary School opened its doors in October 1958. It was built on the corner of the old Clapp Golf Course. The property was donated to the Board of Education by the Wichita Park Department.
The school’s namesake, Lt. Colonel Bruce Griffith was born on October 28, 1867, in Pavia Township, Pennsylvania.
While studying for seminary he attended Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. During that time, he played on the football team, serving as captain from 1891-1892. He also served as the head coach with a record of 6-7.
He moved from New York to Wichita in 1893, where he served as a minister of Brown Memorial Reform Church.
He left the ministry in 1910 and sold insurance for Aetna.
Griffith was commissioned in the Kansas National Guard during World War I. He achieved the rank of Lieutenant colonel with the 130th Field Artillery Regiment at Fort Sill.
In 1930, President Herbert Hoover appointed him to Postmaster of Wichita. He served in that position for four years.
He was elected to the Wichita Board of Education and served for 20 years.
He married Lola Faris Griffith and had two children.
Griffith died on February 13, 1956, at Winters U.S. Veterans Hospital, in Topeka at the age of 88 years. His beloved wife, Lola died in 1960. They are both interred at Highland Cemetery.
The school building was remodeled or expanded in 1970, 1987, 1989 and 2003.
Interesting to know that Griffith was originally built to help eliminate overcrowding at South Hillside and Allen. In 1989, South Hillside closed and its students were moved to Griffith.
I loved that the welcome mat at the school still pays homage to South Hillside. The South Hillside Building is now home to Calvary Chapel of Wichita.
Did you go to Griffith? Add a fond memory or talk about your favorite teacher or one of the school’s traditions in the comments.
Check out Wichita’s other schools.