History of School Name
Erskine Elementary School has the honor of being the namesake of Dr. Arthur Wright Erskine, 1885-1952. He was an internationally known x-ray specialist, considered a leader in cancer research, and wrote many scientific papers and books.
Erskine Elementary School opened its doors to students on November 14, 1955. Built at 600 36th Street SE, Erskine originally hosted 435 young learners. Erskine Elementary School is one of the few schools in Cedar Rapids not named after a president. The Gazette held a contest to name the school and Dr. Arthur W. Erskine was chosen in recognition of his contributions to cancer research and X-ray technology.
Dr. Erskine's experiments led to the international adoption of the r unit which is used to measure x-rays. His early experimental work on ionization measurements of x-ray and the long anode-skin-distance in x-ray therapy were carried out at the sacrifice of his health. He lost all of the fingers on his right hand except for his thumb and little finger. He had more than 30 operations and skin grafts to repair the trophic injuries that resulted from undue x-ray exposure. Dr. Erskine wrote many scientific papers and books. Two of these were Practical X-Ray Treatment and The Cancer Manual. He worked without the benefit of the facilities and equipment of a large institution and without any financial backing. He had a little shop in his office where there were tools, a soldering iron, etc.
Dr. Erskine was remembered for his sense of humor and encouraging personality. He loved children. Every year he bought circus tickets for children at the Children's Home. He had a doorway in his home where he carved the height of the children who came to visit him. Those doorway notches ranged from three feet to over six feet. His contributions to cancer research and X-ray technology and his love for children makes it fitting that our school is named after him.
Erskine Celebrates a Milestone!
Erskine Elementary School opened its doors to students on November 14, 1955. Fifty years later, the school celebrated the milestone on the same date!
Students participated in an all-school assembly and an afternoon reception featured special presentations by former staff, alumni, parents, and district personnel. A time capsule was also opened, revealing artifacts from the 25th anniversary of the school.
Over the years, many updates have been made to the school grounds. A 1/3-mile track was installed on the campus, playground equipment has been updated, and benches have been added to the front porch. The school also features a large library collection and computer lab in the Erskine Resource Center.
Today, Erskine is home to 356 students in grades K-5.