Hamilton School District

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It was mandated in 1959 by the state and the county that there be a high school district in what became the Hamilton School District and it took three years of wrangling, lots of meetings and petitions to finally accomplish the opening of Hamilton High School in September of 1963.

The very first meeting was in May 1959 at the Sussex Village Hall (the 1936-built Sussex Community Hall). Originally the name for this school district was “Joint School District No. 10” which became “Union High School” and then finally Hamilton School District and Hamilton High School.

The district included Sussex, Lannon, Butler, parts of Pewaukee and the eastern half of the Town of Lisbon, plus the southern part of Menomonee Falls and a little bit of Brookfield. The territory was a gerrymandered set of leftovers that on the map looked like an R laying down with a period some distance from the bottom of the R. This period was Butler which was actually separated from the rest of the proposed Hamilton School District.

Butler, in the mix because of its valuation, fought tooth and nail to not be included. Butler at times, tried to be included with Menomonee Falls High, Brookfield Central and East, and most outrageously to be annexed by Wauwatosa so it could be included with those schools.

But the state, county and electors of the district finally prevailed and Hamilton High was accepted and built The period of 2009-2012 will be the 50th anniversary of the school and the district.

Oddly, I knew the very first Hamilton School District President, Francis Beaudry, who served from 1960-63. I had been employed as the Wisconsin State Fair poultry building and chicken husbandry leader from 1946-52. That is when I noted Beaudry as a midway snake oil promoter who would spellbind people with his baritone voice presentation for the vitamin extracts that his group would sell.

I marveled at his ability to hold country boobs with his sales pitch in an almost gospel evangelist-style fashion. I was then at the early meetings of the emerging Union High School (Hamilton) birth when Beaudry again emerged, and this time the crowd accepted him as a spokesman and school board director/leader. Knowing his earlier life as a carny, I did not vote for him, or against him but just sat mute marveling at how things change.

In addition, Robert Brisk of Sussex was the first elected clerk, Roger Robinson treasurer, and Sussex’s Don Gill, Lisbon’s Fred Linstedt Sr., Butler’s Peter Monfre, and Dan Schnabel completed the first seven-person school board.

The next big event was the selection of a site. After some wrangling, four sites were chosen; one near Butler, two other sites and a site on the Pusch 80-acre farm on Town Line Road between Silver Spring Drive and Highway 74 in Lisbon.

In March 1960, the final vote was 471 for the Pusch farm site, 91 for Butler and only three for the two other sites combined. The cost was $40,654.73, $40,000 for the site and $654.73 for lawyer, real estate fees and other payments; for all practical purposes, it was $500 an acre.

Immediately there was a start after the March 1960 site selection meetings to get things rolling on the $2.1 million school. In January 1962, Lowell Paffenroth, principal of Marcy School, was hired as the new Hamilton principal. Gordon Heier replaced Paffenroth at Marcy and was later the first longtime Templeton Middle School principal.

In February 1962, school construction was topped out. In March 1962, base salaries for Hamilton, including teachers, were set at $4,800. Watler Wagener was hired as athletic director and football coach, and Horace Moran as basketball coach. Also coming on board was teacher Jack Crook and Norman Friess as superintendent. Hamilton was accepted into the now revamped Braveland Conference with full membership slated to begin in 1963 to 1964.

In July 1962, the proposed budget was $657,239 for the first school year and in September of that same year, Hamilton opened for its first classes of freshmen and sophomores – about 400 students. Hamilton graduated its first class of seniors in June 1965 and its first class of freshmen through seniors in 1966.

Note” The following is a correction to the above article:

Hamilton High school and Francis BeaudryThursday, March 5, 2015 4:37 PM


Good day, Mr. Keller, I happened to stumble upon your web article about the birth of Hamilton High School and the two short cameo paragraphs about Francis Beaudry and your remembering him in regards to the Wisconsin State Fair operations.  The article link is below: http://www.slahs.org/history/school/hamilton/hamilton_school_district.htm I think you may be confusing Francis Beaudry with his brother Robert Beaudry?  Both of them were about the same 6 ft height and barrel-chested.  In fact they both look much alike.  Robert is an attorney as well so your mention of a spellbinding baritone voice makes perfect sense when I remember Robert. While growing up in Francis’s family in Menomonee Falls (I am his son), we often heard of the carnie booths set up by our Uncle Robert but I never heard any stories that my father Francis participated in the State Fair booths.  In my recollection the booths were  games of chance and skill.  I personally never heard anyone talk about selling vitamin supplements but I could easily be wrong on that topic as I was only 14-16 yrs old when I learned about the State Fair booths and I think there were different kinds over the years.  Also the time period you mention (1946-52) is before my time.  I was born in 1950.   As I recall Robert’s family managed the State Fair booths and his eleven children worked them during State Fair to make summer cash.  My two younger brothers (Joe and Scott) confirmed they did in fact work the booths on a few occasions.  My brother Scott agrees you have Francis and Robert confused regarding the events at the Wisconsin State Fair. The information about Hamilton and Francis being the School District President for three years is accurate in my families memory.  Francis was a registered mechanical engineer and did posses the skills necessary to manage the building of a new high school facility which I would guess is the reason he was chosen for president at the time in the school’s development. I’d be curious to know if you have any additional information on this subject so I might update my own personal family history.  Please feel free to correspond with any thoughts you may have. Mark Beaudry Currently in Phoenix AZ