Laura Coffee School, 644 40th

Children of many well-known families were educated at a private school, known as the Laura Coffee Memorial School. It was named for the daughter of Laura Rawson and Dr. Percy E. Coffee (whose family built the “Balmoral Castle” at 42nd and Grand Avenue). Their daughter, Laura, died young. The school began in 1922 at the 644 40th Street location in their daughter’s memory.

The Sept. 18, 1926 Des Moines Evening Tribune shows photos of pupils sitting on the front porch and playground equipment. In 1928, there were sixty students enrolled when Laura Rawson arranged for a board of directors to take over the school’s management. Laura Rawson Coffee later married publisher Dante Pierce.

Laura Rawson Coffee Pierce died in 1934 from an illness. Guy Koenigsberger Jr., who attended the school in the 1930’s provided a 16mm black and white film. His father took the movie of students, their families and teachers at a graduation and tree planting ceremony in May 1930. By the 1950s the school was renamed the Windsor Day School. In the mid-1960s, the school closed, and was demolished. In 1966, a duplex oriented with its front entrance to the south, was built on that site with a new address of 4001 Woodland.

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