James Callanan land speculator, railroad builder, and one off Iowa’s first bankers, died in 1904. Mr. Callanan and his wife, Martha were civic leaders and fought for issues such as women’s suffrage, higher education, and city hospitals. In addition to his business interests, Callanan was interested in education. He was a liberal giver to The Home for the Aged, Penn College in Oskaloosa, and was president of the Iowa Humane Society. He donated land to Mercy Hospital which was later sold to the Des Moines Schools. He also founded a normal college where teachers were trained. It was first called Callanan College, then Callanan Normal College. After a fire destroyed part of the building, the college was moved to Drake University, to which he was also a donor. Eventually the Callanan Normal College became the College of Education of Drake In 1921 their beneficiaries’ sold the entire area now occupied by Callanan, Ruby Van Meter, and Smouse Schools to the city for $55,000. In 1925 the School Board voted to build and name the new junior high school after this Polk County pioneer. Callanan Junior High School first opened it’s doors in September of 1927.