Washington Square was the location for public education in Fort Calhoun from 1865 to 1972. The first school building was constructed in 1865 for about one thousand dollars. Black locust trees from the nearby Fort Atkinson site (1819-27) were transplanted on the grounds in 1868. Until 1892 the school provided only a ninth grade education. Tenth grade was added in 1893, eleventh grade in 1904, and twelfth grade in 1920. The first tenth grade class of three students graduated in 1893.
As the community grew, additional buildings were constructed, including a one-room structure in 1890. A new two-story school designed by Omaha architect John Latenser was completed in 1899-1900, with a wing added in 1907. Another small building joined the complex in 1927, and an auditorium/gymnasium was built in 1954. The campus occupied the entire block of Washington Square.
After construction of a new elementary school (1962) and high school (1972) at other locations, the buildings on Washington Square were sold or torn down except for the gymnasium, which the school district continued to use in 2011.
Fort Calhoun Enhancement Committee
The City of Fort Calhoun
Nebraska State Historical Society, 2011
11th and Monroe Street, Fort Calhoun