The School House (1892)
Leclaire’s kindergarten program began in the fall of 1892 in the Leclaire Club House at 722 Holyoake Road. In 1895, the Club House was moved to 743 Hale Avenue so that a new education building could be constructed on Holyoake. The 1895 Leclaire School House is now home to the Edwardsville Children’s Museum. (The former Club House building is no longer in existence.)
There were many experiments in education in Leclaire’s early years, but the kindergarten was the only one that lasted beyond a few years. From 1896-1898 there was a Leclaire Academy and for some of those years a Leclaire College offered classes for older students and adults free of charge, but these did not last long. After this time, the building’s daytime educational endeavors were dedicated to the kindergarten. While the building was called the Leclaire School House prior to this, it now became known as the Leclaire Kindergarten.
When Leclaire was annexed by Edwardsville in 1934, the School House was sold to the Edwardsville School District. The building was then divided into four permanent classrooms, one for Miss Shaw’s private kindergarten, and the other rooms for grades 1-3. The building closed as a school house in 1963. Mildred continued to teach her private kindergarten students until 1943 when she married Edwin Briggs and, like the Leclaire teachers before her, left teaching to become a house wife.