El Paso's school district at first included the entire village and about all of the north half of El Paso Township. When the fine three-
East Side School in 1896 (the McKinley School).
story, brick "east side" building was erected in 1869 the first recorded school "fight" ensued. There had been increasing rivalry between east and west side businessmen and the erection of the new school on Gibson's east side was more than founding father Wathen and his satellites could take. So the "west-siders" headed by James H. Wathen and David Grafft succeeded in dividing the district into two parts and a new school district was formed. This division of a small town into two rival school districts was a phenomenon so rare in school history that El Paso for many years was more or less the object of study in educational circles and was cited as the example of what a town should not do.
After the Wathenites succeeded in withdrawing from the original district they erected a wooden structure which served as the west side school until it was replaced in 1897 on the same location, by the brick building which is now used for the elementary grades under the name of the Jefferson Park School. The two schools existed in this state of rivalry, sometimes friendly, but often otherwise, with the two school boards, two corps of teachers, two curriculae, two sets of textbooks,
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