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National and State Register
Rural School Buildings in Colorado
In 1861, a comprehensive school law was among the acts passed by Colorado’s first Territorial Legislative Assembly. Historians have noted that a community’s construction of a school building often reflected not only a belief in the importance of universal education but a desire to lend an aura of permanence to the community itself.
Usually containing only one or two classrooms, rural school buildings also served as community meeting halls. Few early log examples survive. One-story wood frame buildings are the most prevalent survivors, but there are also good masonry examples. Two-story buildings are rare, as are sites that include intact examples of outbuildings, such as teacherages and privies.
Reflecting a nationwide trend in education, Colorado’s School District Reorganization Act of 1949 promoted the consolidation of the state’s remaining small rural school districts into much larger, often countywide districts. However, especially in remote areas, many rural schools continued to operate well into the 1950s. (Cover documentation accepted by National Register in 1999, accepted for State Register 6/9/2004.)
Located about eight miles west of Alamosa, it is the third school at this location. Built in 1911, the Mt. Pleasant School building served as the area’s only school until 1965 and the last one-room school in the Alamosa vicinity.
A frame schoolhouse built in 1922, Melvin now stands three miles from its original location. Its exterior white clapboard and square belfry reflect the school’s time and purpose. The belfry was recreated using photo documentation. Most of the interior has also been authentically restored; one classroom demonstrates the furnishings of a 1920s rural schoolhouse, while a second is now a museum and library. The property is associated with the Rural School Buildings in Colorado Multiple Property Submission.
This 1914 brick schoolhouse served children in the Greenwood Village area until 1967 and now houses a center for the arts. It became the focus of local community life and reflects the era before school district consolidation. The school retains its original brick walls, decorative wooden shingles in the gable ends, and stone trim. The property is associated with the Rural School Buildings in Colorado Multiple Property Submission.
This 1889 rural schoolhouse was built with sandstone quarried east of town. It served as a school until 1920 when it became a Masonic Lodge. Listed under Rural School Buildings in Colorado Multiple Property Submission.
Constructed in 1903, the Valley View School is a good representation of the common rural schoolhouses that once dotted the state. The simple school building served as the educational and community center for the local ranching families just west of Salida.
This simple 1889 wood frame rural schoolhouse closed due to a school consolidation in 1948, but it continues to function as a community center. Listed under Rural School Buildings in Colorado Multiple Property Submission.
The circa 1917 schoolhouse and its ancillary buildings provide physical evidence about the conditions of rural education prevailing in Colorado well into the mid-20th century. Drennan School contained two classrooms and a stage in which four teachers taught grades one through twelve until dwindling enrollment forced its closure in 1955.
Nominated through the Rural School Buildings in Colorado MPS, the 1895 Garden Park School served as the educational center for the children of local ranching families from its opening until consolidation closed the school in 1961. As the only public building on the landscape for miles, it also served as an important place for social gatherings such as “literaries”, dances, Sunday school, and theater productions.
Constructed in 1897, with a rear addition in 1907, this one-story stone rural schoolhouse replaced an earlier log structure. Listed under Rural School Buildings in Colorado Multiple Property Submission
Constructed in 1917, the school remained in operation into the 1956 school year. The facility also served as a community center. Located in a still rural setting, the collection of simple wood frame buildings survives as a rare multi-component reminder of rural school education.
The 1886 District No. 17 - Medlen School began in as a Pioneer Log building. Around 1900 the school district moved it across the road, added clapboard siding over the logs and a small anteroom. Additionally, the district constructed a small teacherage beside the school.
Constructed in 1906, Plummer School is a rare Colorado example of a two-story rural schoolhouse. Its red brick exterior includes an arched entry bay, and there is a prominent hipped roof bell tower. The building provided a striking contrast to the modest wood buildings typically found in the surrounding agricultural area.
Constructed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in 1938, the Pleasant Valley School presents an important visual record of the federal relief programs administered in Colorado’s eastern plains during the Great Depression. Though the dire economic conditions of the Depression affected all of Colorado, drought and dust storms hit the agricultural-based economy of the Eastern Plains especially hard. President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal legislative agenda to rescue the United States from the Great Depression included the creation of an unprecedented number of policies, programs, and
The 7-D School, constructed in 1936 to 1937 under the Works Progress Administration (WPA) is significant for its association with President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal legislative agenda to rescue the United States from the Great Depression.
The 1909 Earl School is an important building not only for providing 37 years of education to the students in Earl and the surrounding area, but also for serving as the only venue available in the Earl area for social functions. It is also significant for ethnic heritage, as African American students from a nearby African American farming colony and Hispanic students attended the school along with some Euro-American students.
Built in 1921 and expanded in 1936 under the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the school exemplifies one-room schools constructed in eastern Las Animas County during the homesteading boom of the 1910s and 1920s. The school addition and its adjacent WPA-constructed barn, intended to store coal and shelter student’s horses, reflect Depression era New Deal efforts to improve rural education facilities in eastern Las Animas County. The WPA constructed new schools and barns for several rural school districts and repaired the facilities of many others. Constructed for a small school distri
Dating from 1922, Pipe Line School is Glade Park’s only intact example of a wood frame rural schoolhouse. The simple, hipped roof building reflects the commitment of early farming and ranching families to provide adequate educational facilities for their children.
The circa 1911 wood frame rural schoolhouse remained in use as a school until 1947. After its closure, it continued to function as a community center. Listed under Rural School Buildings in Colorado Multiple Property Submission.
The 1910 Lay School is significant providing education to the students of Lay and the surrounding area for nearly fifty years. Additionally, the school is important in the area of social history as it served the community as the primary gathering place for various social functions from its construction date through the 1980s.
Built to replace a smaller schoolhouse in the same location, the Hoyt School building provides physical evidence about the conditions of rural education in Colorado in the early 20th century. The schoolhouse served as the educational center for this agricultural community from its construction in 1918 until consolidation forced its closure in 1946. During the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) constructed an addition that included a stage at the head of the classroom and stairs leading to a new basement.
Como School operated from the 1883 construction of the original, wood frame grade school building through 1948, the last year of its use as a public educational facility. In addition to the hipped roof grade school, there is a small gabled roof building that was moved to the school grounds during the early 1930s to serve as a high school.
The 1892 Coal Creek School is a good example of a one-room rural schoolhouse that has also served as a community gathering space and polling place for several decades. The coal shed/privy and horse shed remain on the property.
Built in 1911, this simple wood frame rural schoolhouse continued to house classes during the fall semester until the mid-1960s. Listed under Rural School Buildings in Colorado Multiple Property Submission.
Built circa 1923 during a period of rapid settlement in the area, the building is a late example of wood frame rural schoolhouse construction. Listed under Rural School Buildings in Colorado Multiple Property Submission.
The 1916 Mesa Schoolhouse, located south of Steamboat Springs, is an excellent local example of the early 20th century rural schoolhouse building type. Constructed as the Mesa District’s permanent school, the building reflects the development of the Yampa Valley and its commitment to education. In the south Yampa Valley area, Germans, French-Swiss, and Irish immigrants attended classes with children from older generation immigrant families.
The school building served as the educational center for this high mountain mining community from its construction in 1884 up until school consolidation brought about its closure in 1958. The building embodies the distinctive characteristics of the one-room schoolhouse building type.
Built in 1887, this wood frame rural schoolhouse with an L-shaped floor plan received an addition in 1889. Its enclosed entry is topped by a bell tower with a pyramidal roof that includes flared eaves.
The 1911 school building served the educational needs of the agricultural community near Milliken for almost fifty years. Its intact setting, associated teacherage, itself a rare survivor of rural education, and privy further enable the property to convey its rural heritage. The building exhibits typical elements of rural schools, such as the narrow windows, bell tower, one-room interior, and the entry vestibule.