Western Trips

Western Trips

Friday, August 2, 2013

Historic Schoolhouses

Western Trips made a visit to a couple of very interesting historic schoolhouses on display in the western U.S. One of these old schoolhouses is on display in Santa Fe New Mexico and the other in Indio California, just a few miles east of Palm Springs. Both of these displays are among other historic artifacts and both sites make excellent additions to any vacation planner.

raton new mexico schoolhouse
Old Raton New Mexico schoolhouse
School classrooms back in the early part of the twentieth century and those even earlier back in the 1800's were quite a bit different from what we're used to today. In fact, some of the schoolhouses in the 1800's on the western frontier were one room structures where often, because of the small area, a single desk and seat would be occupied by two students.One small schoolhouse would often times serve all grades, K through 8.

The Santa Fe New Mexico Schoolhouse

The schoolhouse shown in the photos was at one time located in Raton New Mexico in the northeastern part of the state near the Colorado border. It is a two room structure. The schoolhouse was disassembled and relocated to El rancho Las Golondrinas, a fascinating 200 acre outdoor living museum. Several scenes from Hollywood movies have been filmed at this location over the years. Food grown today at this historic ranch site is donated to the Food Bank of New Mexico, which provides food for pantries.This outdoor museum also features a gristmill, blacksmith shop, church and many other interesting structures that were part of the Spanish occupation of the area.

Raton schoolhouse classroom
This particular schoolhouse is a small structure with a room adjacent to the classroom where the teacher lived. This is also the first schoolhouse built in Raton New Mexico which was along a segment of the old Santa Fe Trail as well as a stop for the old Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad.

The old Raton New Mexico schoolhouse was one of those where students did share a desk and a seat. It's quite a historic structure which fortunately was saved from destruction by having it moved to El Rancho Las Golondrinas.

Indio California One Room Schoolhouse

The old schoolhouse on display in Indio California was the second schoolhouse built the area. The schoolhouse is on the grounds of the Coachella Valley History Museum. This museum was established in 1965 by local residents and currently displays many artifacts from the period when Indio and the Coachella Valley was growing with the Southern Pacific Railroad building through the area. The Coachella Valley has a history of Date agriculture and the world's only Date Museum is located right next door to the schoolhouse. The schoolhouse was originally constructed on the site of what is now the Greyhound Bus depot. It was moved to the current site in 1999 and was beautifully restored.

coachella valley history museum
Old Indio CA schoolhouse
The structure also served as a hospital during the 1918 flu epidemic which spread throughout the United States and the world. It's estimated that about 50 million people died from this disease worldwide. More than 600,000 of those deaths were in the U.S. The 50 million number was thought to be more than double the amount of lives lost during World War One which had just ended.

During the 1930's the schoolhouse was moved to serve as a classroom for the Roosevelt School.
The restoration you see today takes the schoolhouse back to the year of 1909 and what it looked like then.

The Indio one room schoolhouse served grades K-8. The building today is dedicated as a reminder to the future generations of the vital role education played in the formation of the present communities in the Coachella Valley.

1909 indio california schoolhouse
1909 school classroom
Links below are to two additional Western Trips photo articles you'll enjoy. Joshua Tree National Park is located just to the east/northeast of Indio California and is one of the unique of our National Parks.

Another quite unique site is Quartzite Arizona, east of Indio near the Colorado River and along Interstate 10. Here was once a busy mining area and also the final resting place of a man they referred to as Hi Jolly. Hi Jolly, who later went by the name of Philip Tedro, was an Ottoman citizen who came to America to help the U.S. Army with it's camel expeditions through the southwest during the late 1850's. Being located along Interstate 10, Quartzite is a fun historical stop while on an Arizona/California road trip.

A Hiking Trip to Joshua Tree National Park

Historic Quartzite Arizona

El Rancho Las Golondrinas is located about fifteen miles southwest of the Santa Fe plaza at 334 Los Pinos Road.

The Coachella Valley History Museum where the 1909 schoolhouse is located is at 82616 Miles Avenue, Indio California.

(Article and photos copyright 2013 Western Trips)

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