History of Strasburg School District

 

Old High School

Strasburg Schools today is a far cry from the educational experiences of the area's early settlers.

In the 1870s and 1880s there were only a few people clustered around the Living Springs Stage Station located some twelve miles northeast of what would become Strasburg twenty-five or thirty years later. This station served the travelers on the Fort Morgan cut-off of the Overland Stage Trail as it traversed the lonely prairies on its way to Denver. The station was here perhaps as early as 1850 but records are sketchy. Indians abounded in the area. Most were friendly towards the settlers, but others were not. We know that a Post Office was established at Living Springs when William Keith was appointed Post Master in 1865. He was followed in this position by George Sanborn who served until the office closed. It was in 1863 that the first telegraph line from Julesburg to Denver was established with an office at Living Springs.

During those early times education opportunities for the children of area ranchers and farmers were limited. These children were taught the rudiments of reading, writing, and arithmetic in their own homes. Old records indicate that Misses Fuller and Miss Lizzie Mountain were each paid the sum of $15.00 for teaching school from September to December 1878 and again from April to July. At this same time, Fred Cramer was paid $15.00 in 1878 and 1879 for school house rent. In subsequent years Mrs. Cramer, Mrs. Young, Mrs. Clopper and William Marvin received small sums for schoolhouse rent. We learn that school was held only in the Fall and Spring in this area due to the severe winters.

In 1879 the first tax monies in the amount of $201.43 were received by the newly formed District 31 in Arapahoe County. Arapahoe was the first county established in Colorado. It extended from what later became Sheridan Boulevard in Denver to the Kansas State line with a width of thirty miles. In 1902, Arapahoe County was divided to form five counties. The western portion became Denver County. Adams and Arapahoe were each seventy two miles long and Washinton and Yuma Counties were at the eastern edge of the territory. All of this happened long before their was a town of Strasburg or a school of that name.

In 1886, Edward J. Smith, a homesteader, was hired to erect a small cabin to serve as the first schoolhouse in the district. It was located about five miles from the stage station. This served for a few years until more people came into the area. It became necessary to provide a larger building to accommodate the number of children. The Living Springs School house was erected about a mile from the stage station by the same Edward J. Smith. Classes began there in September of 1891. At times there were as many as thirty children. They were instructed by one teacher who ws responsible for educating all students from grades one through 8. Among those early teachers were Flora and Ethel Bramcamp, Nellie Hamilton, Jennie Diller, Martha Johnson and others. This school was in operation for many years until a district reorganization forced abandonment of all such rural schools. This old school building now stands at Comanche Crossing Museum in Strasburg.

There was still no town of Strasburg when another one room school was built in 1904. It was located near the banks of Wolf Creek some two and a half miles northwest of today's town. It was aptly named Wolf Creek School. The first teacher here was Edith Hobson followed by Carrie Tower, Josephine Milheim and Nettie Hays. Among familes whose children attended this school were Charles Strand, John L. Pinzenscham, John Ironfield, George Turner, D.H. Weaver and Charlie Miller.

The Wolf Creek School served its community well, until the influx of homesteaders and others forced the building of the first school in the town of Strasburg. The Wolf Creek School was moved several times and today it may be seen at Comanche Crossing Museum where it has been fully restored and is used as a Living Museum. Each summer, classes are held at this old school where fifteen sudents are taught in the same way as they were in 1904.

The town of Strasburg was established in 1907 when a grocery store was erected by D.H. Weaver. He became Post Master in 1908 giving a firm date for the origin of the town. So many people were coming into the area that the little Wolf Creek School could not accommodate all the children. As a result, the first school was erected in 1910. The site was on the southwest corner of today's Colfax and Monroe Streets. This too, was a one room school whose first teacher was Dorothy Little. She was followed by Pearl Andersona dn Junette Groff. Some of the other early teachers at this school were Fern Scott, Elsie Evans and Edwin G. Waymire. Children from the following families attended this school: Lawrence Dermody, Charles Pritzel, John Richter, John Ironfield, Sherman Dye, J.L. Pinzenscham, A.D. Young, and Charles Strand. As time went on, other families joined the community. In 1918, this schoolhouse was moved to a site north of the town where it was renamed L-Triange and later was again moved and named Roper School. The school district then sold the building to a private party in Deer Trail where today it is a residence.

By the year 1917 there were so many people in the town and countryside that it became necessary to build a larger school to accommodate all the school age children. Lots at the north edge of town were purchased from E.O. Birney for $250.00. Architect George Williamson received $350.00 for his services and Contractor William Sorensen erected a new building for $11,035.00. This school was indeed a welcome addition to this growing town. The first students were accepted just before Christmas in 1917. Also there was a large playground, a barn to accommodate the horses students rode or drove, plus two outhouses.

This building contained a basement where the first three grades attended classes, a furnace room, a small chemistry laboratory and living quarters for a janitor. The main floor had one classroom for 4th - 6th grades and another for 7th - 8th grades. Another room, the length of those two rooms, had folding doors in the center where two high school classrooms were situated. Pluse there was an office for the superintendent. By opening the folding doors, on large space became available where a basketball court could be used by students. This room ws also used for entertainments, parties, dances and church services.

In 1924 a small gymnasium was added to the east side of the building to accommodate the growing needs of the school. When the high school was first opened there were few students and in 1922 the first graduates were Helen and Margaret Pinzenscham. The school was accredited in 1926 and has always placed academics first. As the years rolled on, additional buildings were constructed and existing buildings were remodeled. The 1917 building remained in use until it became unsafe and was razed in 1975. Three school districts, #17, #73 and #31 were consolidated into one entity in the 1950s when all one room schools were closed. Children from outlying areas were transported to Strasburg by buses. School lunches were first provided in the late 1930s.

The current high school was constructed in 1976 as part of the centennial event. It celebrated Colorado's 100thanniversary and our nation's 200th anniversary.

Most recently the district opened Hemphill Middle School which houses 6th - 8th grades. It was dedicated to Delmar Hemphill a former teacher, superintendent, and school board member.

References

Strasburg School Records

Our Side of the Mountain by Emma Michell

History of Strasburg by an Unknown  Author, 1995

School Board Members 1879 - 1930

R.L Beitler

J.S. Bond

A.O. Calhoun

W.L. Hughson

Glenn Huston

S. M. Johnson

Dan Lee

Karl Luke

Mrs. Ray Meager

F.M. Merrick

A.J. Nordloh

Harry Nordloh

Mrs. Henry Norloh

Sam Palmer

Ira Purcell

T.L. Taylor

George Turner

D.H. Weaver

J.W. Weddell

A.D. Young

School Board Members 1930 - 1995

Earl Burchfield

Mark Burchfield

Ronald Burchfield

Cecil Cook

Roland Cronk

Dorsey D. Driscoll

Urban Elpers

Ernest Englebrecht

Debbie Fendt

Jack Franklin

Richard Gardner

Don Gerstenburger

Larry Graff

S.F. Hanks

Keith Hanlon

George Hart

James Hart

Mark Hayman

Alan Helming

Gunnar Herskind

Lowell Hicks

Frank Hunter

Conrad Johnson

W.J. Kerksiek

Susan Losh

Bob McConnell

Vernon Miller

Don Mitchell

William O'Dell

Jack Rhine

Floyd Rice

Jerrie Rice

Bruce Richter

Frank Roberts

Brian Schlagel

Daryl Southwick

Sue Spiller

Ken Summers

Karen Swanson

Glenn Williamson

Charles Wilson

Edward Zybach

School Board Members 1995 - 2008

Jim Laurita

Delmar Hemphill

Mark Burchfield

Larry Graff

Donn Headley

Rachel Murphy

Sue Spiller

Bob Yaich

Renee Losh

Rachel Murphy

Don Gurstenberger

Rebecca Faulkner

Chris Losh

Dean Miller

Nancy Smith

Current Board Members

Nancy Taylor

Keith Yaich

John S. Sampson

Robert Yaich

Connie Lybarger

 

Superintendents

A.B. Cook

George Dale

Fletcher Miller

Mr. Burbridge

William Gehrke

E.B. Muth

Wilford Miller

R.A. Renkel

S.E. Shupp

George Guy

W.B. Turner

James Shoaf

Simon Hood

James Mark

John Smith

Raymond Adams

Carl Weingard

William Leggett

Delmer Hemphill

Lester Mundy

Bruce Yoast

William Powell

Dave VanSant

Ed Vandertook

Monica Johnson

 

This history is a work in progess. Compiled by staff member Ginia Gutierrez. If you would like to contribute information to fill in gaps in this history, please contact Stephanie Velez at svelez@strasburg31j.com or at 303-622-9211 ext 899. I would also love to include any photos from these early years of our district. Photos would not be harmed and will be returned.

Pictures

Old Strasburg restaurant with locals standing out front.

Man in buggy with horses

Old Steam Tracktor

Old School house

Old Post Office, and General Store

Water Tower

1952 Basketball Team Picture