COMO YOU KNOW: Benton Elementary School

Friday, March 8, 2013 | 11:02 a.m. CST; updated 7:25 p.m. CDT, Friday, May 9, 2014

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Benton Elementary School, named after the artist Thomas Hart Benton, is one of Columbia’s 21 public elementary schools.


Start time: 8:50 a.m.

Dismissal time: 3:45 p.m.

Principal: Troy S. Hogg

Secretary: Toni Allen

Phone: (573) 214-3610

Fax: (573) 214-3611

Address: 1410 Hinkson Ave.; Columbia.

Full text

The original Benton School was built at Hodge and Ripley streets and had four rooms when it opened in 1896. William B. Littner of St. Louis designed the building. He also designed Grant Elementary School in 1910 and Hickman High School in 1925.

The original Littner building was used until a new Benton School was completed in 1927 at Hinkson and Ripley. It contained 12 rooms plus a gym. This same building is in use today. The kindergarten room was added in 1957 and the office and library/media center was added in 1988.

Mission Statement

“The mission of Benton Elementary School is to inspire life-long learners by empowering students with the tools to build a successful educational foundation. While fostering relationships and valuing diversity, we will nurture the mind, body, character and imagination of each child.

Benton’s 3 Bees Motto:

  • Today I will be safe.
  • I will be respectful.
  • I will be a learner.

Interesting facts from the school’s website:

The following teachers were assigned to the new building: I.R. Tuttle, principal; Miss Sallie Flood, grade 1; Miss Annie Hodge, grades 2 and 3; Miss Nettie Goodding, grades 4 and 5. The salary for the principal and for Miss Flood was $60, with the other teachers receiving $50 each. Mr. J.D. McQuitty was hired to be the janitor for $25 per month.

In 1949, Mrs. Daniel Hall, PTA president, started the Benton School tradition of Chili Suppers.

In December 1958, 150 parents voted unanimously at a PTA meeting to endorse a plan for ungraded primary units. Levels of advancement in kindergarten, first, second and third grades would be based on achievement rather than grade. Children would be grouped with other children doing the same level work and of the same capabilities.

October 1959: The primary unit plan instituted the previous year at Benton is to be used by other Columbia Schools.

May 1964: Miss Grace Wilhite retired after 43 years of teaching third grade at Benton School. During that time, about 1,300 students had been taught in her classes. A special program on her behalf was held May 21.

In September 1982, the “Benton Spirit” was started to inform families of PTA and school activities on a monthly basis.

May 1983: Edwin Westbrook was honored for 27 years of service to the Columbia Public Schools. Westbrook served as a custodian for 17 years at Benton, the same school he attended as a youth.

Links and sources

Updated: March 8, 2013

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