On May 17, 1968, plans were approved for a new elementary school to serve the expanding southside of Kenosha. The design of the new school would be nearly identical to the northside Bose Elementary School that was constructed in 1967, opening its doors to students in early 1968.
In September of 1969, Thomas B. Jeffery Elementary School opened its doors to Kenosha’s southside residents. The school was dedicated on November 13, 1969, during American Education Week festivities.
After its opening, enrollments at Jeffery quickly exceeded the 550-pupil capacity.
The first year Jeffery Elementary School opened, it was a county school, in an open area with few houses near the site. The school property was annexed to the city the following year and has been steadily residentialized throughout the years.
The school was given its name in honor of Thomas B. Jeffery, a one-time bicycle manufacturer who was fascinated by the thought of a horseless gas buggy. In 1909, Jeffery sold more cars than Ford or Cadillac, with production running as high as 3,800 vehicles annually. Mr. Jeffery was the first president of the Kenosha Manufacturers’ Association. He demonstrated his commitment to public education in Kenosha by spurring the Board of Education to establish the first shop classes, and donating wood and metallurgy tools for an industrial arts program at Durkee School. Mr. Jeffery died in 1910. The former Jeffery Company is now a division of DaimlerChrysler.