The Norman School—a Kansas City landmark, a Valentine treasure
by Pam Hoelzel
The Norman School, a small wood frame building at Jefferson between 35th and 36th Streets, opened its doors to first and second grade students in 1901. While students attended classes in the frame buildings, the west wing of the current stone building, including the north arm, was under construction. The new west wing opened in 1906 and the east wing was completed in 1914. The school was named after Joseph Lafayette Norman, the District superintendent at the time the school was built. It was designed by Charles A. Smith, architect for the KC School District. The period of significance for this property is 1906 through 1961.
The school is significant as an example of a Progressive Era public school building. With wide hallways, large windows which admitted abundant light and ventilation; this elementary school was designed with safety and cleanliness in mind.
The distinguishing architectural aspects include the use of native Kansas City limestone, the all stone façade, blocky massing, and crenellated parapets, characteristic of French Norman Revival Style.