The following 15 historically accurate paintings of mountain schools in Larimer County were donated to the Red Feather Historical Society by Bob Everett of Fort Collins. They were painted by Betty Lindsey in the 1980s and photographed in March 2014 by RFHS volunteer John Young. They will be on display at the Red Feather Lakes Community Library soon.
RFHS is seeking additional information, facts, dates/timeline, stories, oral histories, and more about the historic local schools. To share information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information on the schools will be updated during spring 2014.
Stratton Park School
Lone Pine School
Eggers School Note: Eggers School was built in 1933 by the Works Project Authority (WPA). The logs for the school were cut in the Chambers Lake area. This school was first located 14 mile west of the road that goes over the iron bridge to Pingree Park. The first teacher, Jessie Ault, had ten students. The Eggers School closed in 1940 and reopened in 1948 with Ethel Straight as the teacher. In 1959 a new modern school was built at the Old Poudre City Location. A few years later the old log Eggers School was moved to its present location on the Old Poudre City site. In recent years this log school was used as a library and is now a library and museum.
Buckhorn School (Deadman) Note: The school’s corral existed until 2012, when the Crystal Fire burned the corral posts (likely of juniper logs) and old wooden feed troughs.
Log Cabin School Located West of Livermore, Colorado Note: In the 1880’s Log Cabin, Colorado had a post office, hotel and a stage stop. In 1908 a log school house was built in the area. Steward C. Case was one of the teachers for many years. The school is still on the original location and has been remodeled into a private residence. Log Cabin School, where people also met for church services and Sunday school. Information on the Log Cabin School comes from the book, Legacy of country and mountain schools of Larimer County, Colorado, by Arlene Ahlbrandt (Available at the Fort Collins Museum Archive for Museum Use Only).
St. Cloud School
Virginia Dale School
Poudre Park School Note: In the early 1930’s the school system in Larimer County supported several mountain schools. District 14 included Stratton park school in Rist canyon which was the first school in the district. It was during this time that several families that lived in the Poudre Park area wanted a school closer to their homes. The children were being taken to La Porte for school at that time. The parents requested a school and were told that the district had no money to build another school. The parents negotiated with the school board and it was agreed that the school board would purchase the materials and that all labor would be provided by the parents. The lumber was purchased from the Spaulding saw mill in Hewlett Gulch and the building erected in record time. The first class to attend was in the 1933-34 school year. There were 11 students and a Mrs. Olive Rickard that lived in Poudre Park and had a teaching certificate to teach grades 1 thru 10. Later there would be grades 1 thru 8.The school was used for community dinners, church services; school plays etc. during its function as a school.
In 1954 the school board deemed that the number of students didn’t warrant keeping the school open. At that time they decided to deed the school house and property to the Poudre Park Community Club, now known as Lower Poudre Canyon Association.In the late 1950’s the community raised money to enlarge the building to include a large meeting room with a fireplace. Again this was done with donated labor.
In the early 1960’s a volunteer fire department was formed and the LPCA leased land to them to build Station #1.The original building and playground equipment is still in use. Today the building stands ready for any needs in the Poudre Canyon.
Livermore School Note: Livermore Elementary (original school built in 1871), is named after Adolphus Livernash and Stephan Moore, two early settlers to the area.
Stove Prairie School Note: Stove Prairie School opened its doors in 1896 and is the oldest operating “one-room” school in Colorado.
Westlake School Note: The few homesteaders had enough children to justify applying to the county superintendent for permission to form a new school district in 1894. There was some debate about the possible site for the school house when Peery, Hardin, Fred Smith, the Bellairs, and other got together. Smith preferred a spot near Dowdy Lake, but a site near a spring on the northwest part of the Hardin ranch received sis of the eleven votes cast. School was held only in summer when Carrie Williams taught there in 1911. She lived at the family ranch on the Pine and rode her pony back and forth. Laura Makepeace was the teacher in the summer of 1913, boarding with different families. She remembered that some of the children wore overshoes all summer because they crossed the flooded hay meadows of the Hardin ranch. Many of the pupils came on horseback and the little barn near the school was for their ponies. They needed a fire to dispel the early morning chill, but in the afternoon the tiny building was so stuffy, they often took their lessons outside. Years later Ethel Yockey told Miss Makepeace her most pleasing memories of the Westlake school were of doing school work outdoors.In 1925 the school house down on the Hardin ranch was still used for the children of the few people who wintered at Red Feather and the homesteaders’ children. Mildred Payson Beatty though there in 1926 and had youngsters from seven families. The log structure had been covered to give a bit more insulation and she held winter school. Information on the Westlake School is from the book, Red Feather Lakes the first 100 years, by Evadene Burris Swanson. Special Note:The Gene Barker interview describes moving the school house and another one he built.
Westlake School House – photo from the book, Red Feather Lakes the first 100 years, by Evadene Burris Swanson.
Elkhorn School (Manhattan) Note: Elkhorn school was originally the Manhattan School built in about 1889 but was closed and moved around 1900’s a couple of miles nearer to where students lived. It was moved to land homesteaded by Ermine Robinson who married Clark Goodell. Somewhere along the line the land homesteaded by Ermine Robinson became the Mason Ranch. In 1971, the Mason Ranch was divided up. 350 acres were bought by a group of Buddhist churches out of Boulder. The school building is still standing close to the Shambhala Mountain Center.
Elkhorn School – photo courtesy of Delores McGregor who went to school there with her brother Jack.