When Schoolbells Rang: Historical Schools of Benton County

This map contains links to pop up windows that offer information about, and photos of, schools in Benton County, Oregon, that were established in the mid to late 19th and early 20th centuries. Sources: "When School Bells Rang," by Marlene McDonald, the National Historic Register and maps at the Benton County Museum.

Thank you Marlene McDonald for sharing your passion and research. Thank you Susan Christie for your time and talents with converting this book into an online resource. Please contact Mark Tolonen or Mary Gallagher at Benton County Museum with any concerns or inaccuracies.

NOTE: Please respect private property. Many of the resources included on this map are private property and are not open to the public; others are accessible by appointment only

Aldergrove-Moody School

c. 1915

Located in the Coast Range, about 2 miles northwest of Hoskins, the Aldergrove (or Moody) schoolhouse is an example of a vernacular, one-room schoolhouse commonly built in rural locations in Benton County in the early 20th century. This one was the second school on this site. The school was used until about 1950. A community group purchased the building for $1.00 in 1957 and began using it for their activities.

Alexander School

Pre-1886 - 1948

Alexander school was located about 1 mile off Kings Valley Highway on Alexander Road 4.5 miles north of Wren. The building date is unknown, but Clay and Minnie Tatom attended in 1886, for their report cards still exist. By the 1930s, the building was in disrepair. It was closed in 1948 and students were sent to Wren and Kings Valley. The building stood abandoned for a while, then was torn down.

Alpine School

c. 1849 - 1953

The predecessor of Alpine school, Ebenezer school, was a log building constructed in 1849. About 1860, it was moved to a more central location, and then in 1894 a new school was built just west of the crossroads in Alpine. About 1910, another room was added; in 1912, the building was moved to the site of the present school. Two more classrooms and the gymnasium were added in 1915. A new grade school was built in 1953 and still serves the needs of the community.

Alsea Schools

c. 1856 - present

Pioneers recalled that school was first taught in a log cabin in the Alsea Valley in 1856. There were several other schools in various locations before the schools shown in the photos were built in 1909. These buildings formed the first consolidated rural school district in Oregon. Both burned in a spectacular fire in 1930. After the fire, a single new school was built on the same site. This building also burned, in 1949, and yet another new school was built on the site. Many of the pioneer names still appear on the rolls in Alsea schools today.

Details from Google Maps
301 North 3rd Street, Alsea, OR 97324
(541) 487-4305
Google+ page

Auxiliary School

c. 1853 - 1941

Auxiliary schoolhouse was located on Bellfountain Road between Corvallis and Bellfountain. The first school building stood at the north end of Finley Wildlife Refuge; a new school was built one mile south of Inavale on the first big curve. The origin of the name is lost. The "new" school was built in 1919 and first used in 1920. Enrollment rose to as high as 60 during the 1920s, but fell to 15 or 16 as sawmills and logging closed down or moved on. Enrollment continued to decline and finally, in 1941, there were not enough students to open the school. Students were transported to Bellfountain and in 1944 Auxiliary school was listed as abandoned. In 1949, it was officially consolidated with Inavale. Nothing remains to mark either site of Auxiliary school.

Bandbox School

c. 1875 - 1949

Bandbox school (no one knows how it got its name) sat in a maple grove on Bellfountain Road, halfway between Airport Road and Lewellyn Road. In 1949, several of the small schools were combined to form Inavale, which became part of the Corvallis School District. Bandbox was converted to a house, then sat vacant for several years, before it was torn down.

Beaver Creek School

Pre-1870 - 1949

There was a school on this site dating back to at least 1870, but the building dating from 1896 is the only example of a schoolhouse in Benton County with Queen Anne architectural features. The building served as a center for many community gatherings. A post office and a store were once established in the area, but they did not last long, and so the schoolhouse then stood alone as a reminder of an attempt at creating a small town here.

Belknap School

c. 1893 - 1921

This small rural school was located between Alpine and Monroe, according to the late Clyde Starr, descendant of early pioneers. In 1898, Ethel Starr Mack established the first grading of schools in Benton County and also in Oregon. This was the beginning of keeping school records in Oregon's public schools. Belknap School consolidated with Alpine School in 1921, and its doors were closed at the end of that spring term.

Bellfountain School

1848? - present

The present Bellfountain school (1908) and gymnasium (1913) are significant as a fairly intact example of a school complex built in a rural Benton County community in the 1900s. This school, which replaced one built in the 1870s, is one of only two early 20th century schools in the southeastern portion of Benton County still being used as schools.

Berry Creek School

c. 1913? - 1940

Berry Creek (or Savage) school was located in the north central part of Benton County, close to the county line, on the old Dallas Road. A victim of declining enrollment, the little school closed in 1940 and its remaining students were sent to Tampico School. It is not known what became of the building, but this area was part of the Camp Adair firing range, so it was probably razed.

Blodgett Elementary School

c. 1852? - present

Blodgett is one of the oldest rural school districts still in existence in Benton County. Records were poorly kept, but there have been schools in three locations in the community for at least 150 years. The old schools were sometimes used for church on Sundays. In 1953, the school was moved again to a site about half a mile west of Blodgett. Until recently, students in the first four grades from the Nois, Summit, and Blodgett area still attended.

Details from Google Maps
35177 Tum Tum Road, Blodgett, OR 97326
(541) 453-4101
Google+ page

Brown School

c. 1870 - 1925

Brown school was established 5 miles east of Monroe sometime around 1870. It was probably just west of Ingram Island school across Ingram Slough. Brown School closed in 1925 and the students were transported to Monroe.

Bunker Hill School

c. pre-1899 - 1945

Bunker Hill school sat in the mountains about 4 miles northwest of Bellfountain. This was a logging area and there was at least one sawmill in the vicinity. The school closed as part of the consolidation movement in 1945 and the students were transported to Bellfountain school. Bunker Hill school stood forlorn and weatherbeaten after it was closed, but it took on new life when it was remodeled into a home.

Central School

c. 1863 - 1952

Central school was first built in 1863 one-fourth mile west of the Herron house north of Monroe. Nothing more is known, but in 1877, it was moved to a site across Hwy. 99W from the McFarland Church. Because of low enrollment, 1952 was the last year for Central school. Students were then bused to Irish Bend. The vacant building stood until the 1970s when it was pushed over and burned. A church was later established on the site.

Details from Google Maps
27145 McFarland Road, Monroe, OR 97456
(541) 847-5376
Google+ page

Central Point School

Pre-1903 - 1910

Central Point school, about 7 miles northwest of Bellfountain and 2 1/2 miles from the Bunker Hill school, is not listed in the County School Boundary Book, so it might have had the same district number as Bunker Hill. The very plain unpainted board and batten shack is supposed to have sat atop a fern ridge with fir trees nearby. It was probably built around 1890. Only 6 or 8 children attended, and the larger Bunker Hill school was close, so by 1910 Central Point was closed and students attended Bunker Hill. Any physical trace of the little mountain school building has long since disappeared and there is no photo.

Children's Farm Home

1925 - present

The Children's Farm Home, 5 miles north of Corvallis on Highway 20, was established for dependent children by the Women's Christian Temperance Union. It was not truly an orphanage, but rather a residence for children whose parents, for any reason, were not able to care for them at home. The Farm Home school was started in 1925 and completed in 1926. It was designed to provide for the educational needs of the Farm Home children. In 1971, the Children's Services Division of the Department of Human Resources was formed and the Children's Farm Home entered a contract, renewed yearly, to provide services for children referred by Children's Service Division. It helps children who have difficulty adjusting at home, in school, or in the community. Corvallis School District 509J has administrative responsibility. The Farm Home and its school have had a long history of helping chilren learn to help themselves and become productive citizens.

Details from Google Maps
4455 Northeast Highway 20, Corvallis, OR 97330

Corvallis Schools

c. 1850 - present

The first school building in Marysville (later Corvallis) was probably a log schoolhouse built between 1848 and 1850 on the northeast corner of 2nd and Jackson streets. However, little is known because few records were kept and those that did exist burned in the 1875 City Hall fire. The first public high school was completed in 1909. In 1935, a new high school was built and used until the early 21st century, when it was rebuilt from the ground up.

Details from Google Maps
1400 Northwest Buchanan Avenue, Corvallis, OR 97330
(541) 757-5871
4.1Google+ page

Devitt School

1915 - 1930

Devitt, a mill town, was established in the early 1900s between Blodgett and Summit, near the railroad tracks. It was a company town, existing solely to provide workers for the Devitt Brothers' sawmill. About 1915, several men from the camp erected a school at the north end of the camp. Devitt was considered a "rough" school and there were many discipline problems. Some of the boys did everything they could to disrupt school, since they were there only under protest. But one day, after many teachers' complaints, a school board member entered the schoolroom with a club in his hand and "cleaned house." Stories say that the school atmosphere was better after that. Devitt school closed in 1930 and students were transferred to Summit school. After some years, the mills closed and everyone moved away. Now there is nothing to be seen of Devitt, not even a signpost.

Eureka School

c. 1917 - 194?

Eureka school was located about 2 miles east of Morries' Market north of Monroe. The school had a stereopticon and many boxes of slides, mostly on travel subjects, so the children could see what other countries and cultures were like. The small school (attendance was usually 7 to 15) continued until the 1940s, when falling enrollment led to its closure. The building was purchased by the Hornings, who moved it to their farm and used it as their office.

Evergreen School

Pre-1900 - 1948

The latest Evergreen school building was moved to its site in about 1909. Before that, it was situated farther north on Evergreen Road. Its exact date of construction is unknown. The school was consolidated with the Philomath School District in 1947. The building might have been used as a residence for a while after that, but then it was vacated.

Fairmount School

1875 - present

Fairmount school is located in the North Albany area west of Albany, across the Willamette River. The Fairmount district originally extended from Scenic Drive to Cozy Corners and included the present North Albany district. The first school, a one-room building, was constructed in 1875 on the present school grounds. The school built in 1904 was white frame with a belfry. Students walked or rode horses from the surrounding countryside. In winter, frequent flooding and deep mud was a serious problem. Additions were made to the building in 1962-63, making it a more attractive modern facility, and the old school was incorporated as a multi-media center.

Details from Google Maps
Albany, OR 97321
(541) 704-1021
Google+ page

Fairplay School

1914 - present

No pictures could be located of the original two Fairplay school buildings. A modern building now occupies the site. The Fairplay community, which was north of Corvallis on Highway 20, received its name because it was the "drag strip" of the late 1800s for young men and their fast horses. They declared there would be "fair play" at this site, after receiving what they thought was unfair treatment at another site. In 1913, the first school was built, and in 1914, the school census listed 31 children. The first school burned after several years and the second school, still one room, was a white frame building. In 1948, the one-room building was replaced by a three-room building, which became part of the newest building, for grades one through six. Seventh and eighth grade students were transferred to the junior high school.

Details from Google Maps
Corvallis, OR 97330
Google+ page

Fernridge School

c. 1894-1930

On a high wooded ridge near the old road between Summit and Hoskins lie the remains of what was once Fernridge school. The spot is now so remote it is hard to visualize 15 to 25 students walking up through the canyons to the schoolhouse on the ridge. The original school was built by community members in 1894 of rough lumber. A second school was built in 1910. In 1930, Fernridge consolidated with Summit school and the Fernridge building was converted to a home, later abandoned.

Fir Grove School

c. 1887 - present

Fir Grove school is located in the northeast corner of Benton County, west of Albany. The first school was built in 1887 north of the present site. In 1914, a new school was built on the present site. During World War II, nearby Camp Adair added excitement, with military vehicles and troops passing by. In 1964 or 1965, a new elementary school was built and seventh and eighth graders were sent to school in Albany. In 1967 three more rooms were added. In 1972, the old building was demolished, and in 1978, Fir Grove became part of the Greater Albany school district.

Details from Google Maps
Albany, OR 97321
(541) 967-4570
Google+ page

Goodman (Frog Hollow) School

Pre-1900 - 1923?

Very little is known about the Goodman, or "Frog Hollow," school. According to Verneta McCallum, who supplied the picture, it was located southwest of Monroe on the county line and might have become part of Lane County's system.

Greenberry School

c. 1846? - 1949

School in the small community of Greenberry was first taught in a little log cabin in the winter of 1846-47. Around 1900, the school was located where the grange hall is now. About 1917-18, a new school was built near the railroad crossing on Greenberry Road. By 1949, the school was old and in need of replacement. Several of the area schools combined to form Inavale school. The Greenberry school building was torn down and the site was used to pack Christmas trees for shipment.

Green Peak School

c. Pre-1897 - 1940

The Green Peak schoolhouse was southwest of Green Peak, in an isolated area, a mile or so east on the Bellfountain fork of the old road from Bellfountain to Alsea. The school dates back at least to 1897, because that year there were 32 students, and $22.08 was its share of the school funds. Green Peak school closed officially in 1940, and the remains of the building have never been located.

Harris School

c. 1910 - 1945

Before Harris had a school, its children went to Wren to school. When the Harris district was formed, the children attended school in an old house for 3 years before the first school was built in 1910. When the Harris mill closed in the late 1920s, most families moved and school enrollment dropped drastically. 1945 was the last year for Harris. After that, students were transported to Wren again. Eventually, the Harris schoolhouse was torn down.

Hazel Glen School

Pre-1890 - 1952

Hazel Glen school originally was located in the Lobster Valley area on the site of the old mill, which was closed by the early 1980s and nearly dismantled. The school term was only 3 months in the fall. The schoolhouse is rumored to have been built in the 1890s or even earlier. There were 10 to 12 students. About 1916, a new school was built about half a mile south of the old one. A community hall, used for programs, social gatherings, and basketball games, was built next to it. From 1916 to 1925, school enrollment varied from 11 to 22. In 1952, Hazel Glen school was consolidated and students were bused to Alsea. A firehall was built on the school site.

Honeygrove School

1899 - 1907

Honeygrove school, up Honeygrove Road near Alsea, was built on the Spencer place about 1899, to provide schooling specifically for the Spencer and Fullerton children, eight students in all. It might never have had a district number. When the school closed, students walked to Upper (Hayden) school, and in 1909 they entered the new consolidated Alsea school to complete their educations.

Hoskins School

c. 1917

Hoskins school, which today is a privately owned residence, is located in the town of Hoskins on a hill above the current highway. The school is a fairly intact example of an early rural Benton County schoolhouse. Construction of the school might have been associated with completion of the Valley and Siletz Railroad in about 1913. The school closed in 1948 and students were bused to Kings Valley thereafter.

Inavale School

c. 1952 - present

The Corvallis School District closed Inavale Elementary School in June 2006 because of low enrollment. But in 2008, the school was re-opened as Muddy Creek Charter School, with an enrollment of 61 students.

Independent School

c. 1918 - 1919

In 1918, Earnest and Anna Seehafer donated an acre of land for a school. The current school presumably was built in this location shortly afterward. In 1952, the district was consolidated with Inavale School and the Independent schoolhouse was abandoned. It remained vacant for several years, but later was used as a preschool. Several churches have also used it. John B. Horner taught at Independent.

Ingram Island School

1895 - 1933?

Ingram Island, formed by channels of the WIllamette River, lies in the southeast corner of Benton County. Ingram Island school was first established in 1895, according to the school Boundary Book. The 1912 school census listed 45 children on the island between the ages of 4 and 20, but not all of them would have been in school. In the 1920s, there were usually 16-20 students, and probably 23 or 24 in the 1930s. In the winter, flooding could be a real problem and school was sometimes closed for 3 or 4 days. 1933 was the last year the school census was taken. The district was officially transferred to Monroe in 1948. The schoolhouse was remodeled and became a residence.

Irish Bend School

c. 1914 - present

The current Irish Bend school is significant as an intact example of an early 20th century school in rural Benton County, and the only example of a two-story, wood-frame schoolhouse. It was built in 1914 to replace an earlier school north of the current building. Third and perhaps fourth generations of some families have studied and played at Irish Bend schools.

Judd Smith School

c. 1868 - 1954

Judd Smith school (also called Lake school) on Smith Loop Road, was originally the Greenberry school building. When a new school was built at Greenberry in 1917, the two Smith families, who were quite concerned about education for their children, bought the building and moved it to its new location with steam tractors and rollers. Smith school was the first school in the county to receive the new Standardization rating in the early 1940s. In 1954, as part of the statewide consolidation move, Smith school was closed and its students were transported to Inavale school. The land and buildings reverted to the Smith estate and the building was torn down for lumber.

Kiger Island School

c. 1901? - 1947

Kiger Island, south of Corvallis, was formed by two channels of the Willamette River. Before flood control dams were constructed, the area was subject to flooding during winter and spring. Children were confined to home until the water went down. The first schoolhouse was just a little shack, but a new schoolhouse was built on a high spot and never flooded, although school was often closed because high water kept the children from reaching it. Children walked from all over the island, but enrollment was seldom more than 20. In 1947, as part of the general consolidation move, the school was closed and the students were transported to Lincoln school.

Kings Valley School

c. 1848 - present

Kings Valley, a small logging and farming community about 20 miles northwest of Corvallis, has probably the oldest rural school district in the county still in existence, although there have been five different buildings in two locations. The first school (1849) was a log building. The second, built around 1860, was red frame, later painted white. In 1892, a new school was built at the junction of Kings Valley Highway and Maxfield Creek Road, where the present one stands. By 1898, it was already a faded white frame building. Another new school was built around the beginning of the twentieth century. By 1914, a high school wing had been added. In 1925, the high school was moved to the intersection from Hoskins. In 1948, the old grade school-high school building was torn down and the present grade school was built. Nowadays, the lower four grades and sometimes kindergarten remain at the school, which has educated hundreds of county youngsters for more than 160 years.

Lakeside School

1859 - 1937

Lakeside school was located behind Winkle Butte (Wagner's Butte) south of Corvallis and originally was called Winkle school. It was built first from logs, but later was replaced with a frame building. A new building, perhaps on a new site, was built around 1879 or 1880. Enrollment was never large, and sometime during the period 1937 to 1944, the school was consolidated and students were transferred to Greenberry school and later to Inavale. The schoolhouse was remodeled into a home.

Lincoln School

1915 - present

Lincoln school was built south of Corvallis in 1915. Before that, children walked the railroad tracks to South school in Corvallis. Lincoln school was big enough and close enough to Corvallis to have athletic teams. As the years went by, enrollment grew, especially as smaller rural schools were closed and their students sent to Lincoln. The building eventually became inadequate and in 1949 a one-story brick building was constructed. In 1955, Lincoln school was consolidated into Corvallis District 509J. It is now in a suburban setting within the city limits.

Details from Google Maps
110 Southeast Alexander Avenue, Corvallis, OR 97333
(541) 757-5955
Google+ page

Missouri Bend School

c. 1910 or 1911

Missouri Bend refers to an area about 6 miles west of Alsea where the Alsea River makes a sharp bend to go around Digger Mountain. The schoolhouse was a one-room, vernacular schoolhouse built in the early 20th century in what was then an isolated part of Benton County. The building was a testimony to the value placed on education by rural families. It was the third school building to serve the Missouri Bend locality.

Monroe Union High School

c. 1928 - present

Monroe Union High School, the oldest of the five high schools in Benton County, is probably the most substantial building in Monroe. Since 1938, the school has served all of southeastern Benton County. It has grown and expanded its curriculum over the years. The early pioneers might be astonished and gratified to see the end results of their humble beginnings.

Details from Google Maps
365 North 5th Street, Monroe, OR 97456
(541) 847-5161
Google+ page

Mt. Dell School

Pre-1903 - 1946

Mt. Dell school, originally Tom Taylor school, was located just over the line in Lincoln County on Lobster Valley Road, but for many years it was administered by Benton County. In 1919, the school burned to the ground. It was rebuilt on the same grounds, but down the road a short distance. The new building was much rougher, built of unpainted, unplaned boards. When the county line was moved, about 1929, the schoolhouse was moved down the road about a mile and renamed Mt. Dell. Lincoln County records show that Lincoln County took over Mt. Dell school that year. The school was closed in 1946 and pupils were sent to Fisher. The building was remodeled into a residence.

Mt. Home School

1893 - 1943

Mt. Home school was located near Alpine on the Richard Nichols homestead up in the foothills of the Coast Range. Some of the students walked as far as 3 miles to school. In the early years, there were usually about 14 students, ranging in age from 8 to 18. In the 1920s, there were as many as 40, when the sawmill was in operation. The school was officially closed in 1943, and the students were transported to Alpine school. The building was remodeled into a residence.

Mt. Top School

Pre-1900 - 1925

Mt. Top school was located at the head of Gellatly Canyon, near Blodgett, where about seven or eight families had settled. According to Ward Gellatly, who attended the school starting in 1900, it was old even then, an unpainted, one-room building, not very big. There was no schoolyard, as just enough brush was cleared to build the school. Because it was hard to raise money, the school term was short, sometimes 3 months or less. By 1920, there were only eight students. Between 1921 and 1925, Mt. Top merged with Blodgett. No picture could be found.

Mt. Union School

1850 - 1945

In 1850, the Mt. Union school (named to show the community's strong Union sympathies) was built on what became Ellis's Hill 2 miles east of Philomath. The school was a small, but good, building exposed to storms from the west all winter. In the 1870s, the school was moved half a mile east of the old site to a new location on Plymouth Road. The new school, in a large oak grove, was built of rough-cut, old-growth fir. Students often came from long distances, nearly as far north as Oak Creek and south from across Mary's River. By 1880, 53 students were attending school. Mt. Union school closed in 1945, a victim of the general consolidation move. The building was extensively remodeled as a residence.

Mt. View School

1848 - present

Lewisburg, a small crossroads just north of Corvallis on Highway 99W, is marked by houses, small businesses, a store and gas station, and Mt. View school. The donation land claims of some of Benton County's first settlers are located in Lewisburg. One of the county's first schools, built just to the northwest in 1848, was the site at which Benton County's government was set up in 1850. Not much is known about this early school, or those that followed. No date has been established for the first school at the present site, but there have been three; the third one built in 1957. Mt. View was one of the last schools to consolidate with District 509J, in 1955.

Nashville School

Pre-1900 - 1923?

Nashville school was actually located in Lincoln County about one mile west of Nashville, but it was administered as a joint district for many years. About 12 to 15 students attended the small school. Administration of Nashville school was transferred to Lincoln County sometime after 1923, the last year for Benton County. In 1929, the school was moved to a new building in Nashville. Later it was discontinued and students were bused to Eddyville. The old building west of Nashville was converted to a residence.

Nois School

c. 1895 - 1948

Nois schoolhouse, named for the family who donated the land for it, sat on an open fern flat about 3 miles west of Blodgett near the old highway. Local settlers who wanted educations for their children built it about 1895. In early years, the school term sometimes was only 2 or 3 months long if the families were short of money for a teacher. One year there was no money at all, so a mother taught the children in her home. During that time, there were 7 to 15 students, but in later years, there were 30 or more and a regular 8-month term. Nois school officially consolidated with Blodgett school in 1948 and the students were transported to Blodgett. The old Nois schoolhouse was finally torn down. Even the bell disappeared.

Noraton School

1913 - 1958

Noraton school (2.1 miles down Noraton Road from Lancaster in the southeast end of the county) was actually located in Lane County, but was operated jointly with Benton County. Built on 1.67 acres of unfenced land above flood level, it occupied a lovely site, with many oak and maple trees and a footbridge in front so the children could cross a low spot during high water. Usually about 15 students attended the school. As in many cases, the school served as a social center for the community, with potlucks and programs. In 1935, the Noraton district was transferred to Lane County, the school was closed, and the students were transported to Harrisburg.

North Albany School

1906 - present

The history of North Albany school is closely associated with that of nearby Fairmount school. When that building became overcrowded, dissension arose about the location of a new one. Eventually, the district was split and 2 1/2 acres of stump land on the other side of the low swampy area that split the district was acquired for the new school. The new school was too small almost immediately. Within 5 years, another room was added. By 1947, growing enrollment and modern needs made a new school necessary, which was finally completed 2 years later. In 1957, two more rooms were added and the upper four grades moved over. The old building, a community landmark, was torn down. In 1960, another two rooms were added to the new school. Seventh and eights grades were moved to Albany junior high school the next year.

Details from Google Maps
1205 23rd Street, Albany, OR 97321
(541) 967-4541
Google+ page

Oak Creek School

c. 1860 - 1945?

Oak Creek is an old community about 4 miles directly west of Corvallis. Several lumber mills were located there at the start of the twentieth century. The original school on Oak Creek was called the Mulkey schoolhouse. At first, it was a private school. It is not clear exactly where the Mulkey school was located, but the later Oak Creek school, at least from 1900 until its closing, was located 2 to 3 miles up Oak Creek Road where it crosses Oak Creek. The school's population ranged from 15 to 35. There is some indication that at least some of the time after 1930, students attended school in Corvallis, but Oak Creek school was not officially closed until 1945. No one seems to know what became of the building.

Oak Grove School

1860 - present

Oak Grove school is located in farm land among the rolling hills west of Albany. Dating from 1860, it was rebuilt at least twice. Nothing more is known about the early buildings, except that the school burned sometime between 1888 and 1893. The replacement building (1894-1902) was a big white house. In the 1920s, enrollment was usually between 15 and 20. In 1943, a new school was built. There have been at least three additions since 1948, and the school is now part of the Greater Albany School District.

Details from Google Maps
Albany, OR 97321
(541) 967-4596
Google+ page

Peak School

1905 - 1926

Around the start of the twentieth century, several families tried homesteading 160-acre parcels of land high on the north and west sides of Marys Peak. Remains of some of their sturdy buildings can still be found. The first school for Peak children, located west on Shot Pouch, 2 1/2 miles from Peak, was not a good building. In 1905, a new schoolhouse was constructed in Peak, administered by both Lincoln and Benton counties. After several years of growth, Peak began to die. The new highway to Newport went through Blodgett and Eddyville instead of Peak, Harlan, and Elk City. A railroad never materialized. Lumbering closed down, and families moved away. In 1926 there were no students, and in 1929 the school was listed as "abandoned-lapsed." Peak became a ghost community, marked only by a 12-grave cemetery.

Philomath Schools

1849 - present

The early history of Philomath schools, except for that of Philomath College, is difficult to piece together. From the scant information available, it appears there were several small schools in "The Marys River Country." The first school in the immediate Philomath area, however, was probably taught in 1849 and it might have been the forerunner of the Liggette school nearby. Liberty, or Newton, school was mentioned in the first school report (1851). Two or three other schools were located west of Philomath, and there was also a schoolhouse at Felger's mill across Highway 20 from the Marys River mill. The first school in what became the town of Philomath was the Maple Grove school, built in 1858. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, additional small rural schools were built near Philomath. In 1947, the elementary school was built. Construction on a new high school began in the mid-1950s and additions were made for three years after. In 1974, the middle school was built for grades five through eight, relieving the crowding in the elementary and high schools.

Pleasant Valley School

1856 - 1938

The first school in Pleasant Valley, south of Philomath (now along Highway 34), was built in 1856 near the bank of the Marys River. It was succeeded by other schools at nearby sites in 1857, and in 1872 or 1873. The last school was built in 1925. School was taught in the spring, beginning in April or May, for only 3 months. Pleasant Valley's school population varied from fewer than 10 in the early years to 20 or more in the 1920s and 1930s. School was held every year until 1938, when the records say the students were transported to Philomath. In 1949, the district was consolidated with the Philomath district and the Pleasant Valley school became a residence.

Richland School

Pre-1897 - 1946

Richland school, also called Granger school, was located on Granger Road just off Highway 20 between Corvallis and Albany. Student enrollment varied from fewer than 10 to 30 or so. Students came from farm families and were well-disciplined and eager to learn. In 1946, Richland school district was consolidated with Corvallis District 509J and students were transported either to Mountain View or Fairplay. When this happened, the Richland school building was torn down for the lumber.

Roy Rickard School

c. 1870 - 1943

The Roy Rickard school stood at the north corner of Highway 99W and Hebert Lane, the road to the Corvallis airport. The latest building is thought to have been built around 1912. A few students rode horses to school, but most walked. Old timers remember basket socials, Christmas programs, and Halloween and Valentine's Day parties taking place at the school. Roy Rickard school closed in 1943 and students were bused to Lincoln school in Corvallis. The military took over the schoolhouse and used it as a guardhouse. After World War II, it was torn down.

Soap Creek School

c. 1847 - 1942

Although built in the 1930s, Soap Creek school, with its vernacular design, is a good example of the type of schoolhouse commonly built in rural Benton County during the early 20th century. It was constructed on the site of two earlier schools and is the most visible symbol of the Soap Creek community. It closed in 1943 when Camp Adair purchased surrounding land for firing ranges. In 1969, the Soap Creek Schoolhouse Foundation was formed to restore and preserve the schoolhouse as a public historic site.

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Corvallis, OR 97330
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Summit School

c. 1860 - 1969

The first Summit school is reported to have been a log building. Later a frame building was put up about a mile north. The first school on the present site was established in 1900 or 1901. In 1930, a new school was built on the same site. This schoolhouse, with the integrity of its location, design, and materials intact, is western Benton County's best example of a schoolhouse constructed with 20th century colonial architecture, common in the United States between 1925 and 1940. The school reflects the consolidation of the Summit school district after the closure of many of the area's mills during the depression. After 1969, the building was sold and became a residence.

Sunnyside School

Pre-1897 - 1929

Sunnyside school, also called Bryant school, was located north of Corvallis, on the corner of what is now Ninth Street and Elks Drive. The date of origin of this school is not known, but about 1912, the little school was replaced by a new building on the same lot. The old building was hauled away with horse teams and finished life as a sheepshed. Sunnyside school continued until 1929, when the north part of this district was transferred to Mountain View, while the south part was transferred to Corvallis. The property was sold and the building was remodeled into a residence.

Tampico School

1858 - 1890? 1924 - 1941

In 1853, a busy little community was established 10 miles east of Kings Valley. Known at first as Soap Creek, its name was changed to Tampico, although it's not clear when. A schoolhouse was built in 1858 on the hill across the road from the Arcade saloon. School terms were only 3 months long, but the school building was also used for other community and social functions and for religious services. However, Tampico did not last long and there is no indication as to when the school closed. It is thought to have lasted at least until 1890. It was re-established in 1924, at the junction of Tampico Road and Coffin Butte Road, not far from the site of the old school. It continued until 1941, when the U.S. Army took most of the land for Camp Adair. The school was razed and the district was consolidated with Mountain View. After Camp Adair closed, the land was sold back for farms and homes, but the school was never rebuilt.

Trout Creek School

? - 1940?

Trout Creek school was one of two schools in District #18, the other being the better known and larger Green Peak school. A teacher at Trout Creek in the 1927-1928 school year is reported to have said it was an old building even then. Located up Trout Creek in a little valley just off the wagon road from Monroe to Alsea, the school was "across the mountain" from Green Peak school, about 5 miles away. It was one of the few country schools to have an attached "teacherage," with a kitchenette and a bedroom-living room. Enrollment was always small, only 5-10 students. There is no record of when the school closed, but certainly it was by 1940 when Green Peak school closed. It is not known what became of the building.

Ward School

Pre-1899 - 1958

Ward school was located up Maxfield Creek Road near the Polk County line between Kings Valley and Airlie. It was a small school, attended by children from a few families living in the area. In the early years, school was held for only 3 months in the summer because of muddy roads the rest of the year and lack of finances. By 1910, the school was operating for 6-8 months each year. The school was a happy one, with 16-18 interested students. The last year for Ward school was 1958. Enrollment had declined and the next year students were transported to Airlie school in Polk County. The Ward school was remodeled into a residence.

Wells School

Pre-1850 - 1942

Wells school was located near the Game Farm, not far off Highway 99W where the Camp Adair memorial sign is located. It replaced the Gingles school, one of the first schoolhouses in the county, built sometime before 1850 and honored by being designated District #1. Gingles school was a log house with a puncheon floor and puncheon benches without backs, heated by a stone fireplace in one end. About 1890, the schoolhouse was relocated at Wells Station, and in 1917, another room was added. At its highest, enrollment was around 100. The school closed in 1942, when the U.S. Army confiscated all the nearby land for Camp Adair. Students were transferred to Fir Grove or Mountain View. After World War II, when most of the land was resold to farmers, the school was not rebuilt. School District #1, with a proud 100-year history, ceased to be.

Westwood School

Pre-1899 - 1953

Westwood, a small farming community at the foot of Alsea Mountain about 10 miles from Philomath on Highway 34, is marked mainly by the Westwood Community Church, but there used to be a gas station/store and a school. The Teachers Register indicated there were teachers at Westwood as early as 1899, but the school building itself dates to about 1905. Enrollment was small, with a peak of 31 students in 1915. Parents had little cash. More than one girl had only one school dress, which she wore all year, washing it on weekends. Westwood school continued until 1953, when it closed and the students were transported to Philomath. The school was turned 90 degrees to face north and extensively remodeled as a residence.

Witham School

c. 1900 - 1940?

Witham school was located amidst the trees on Witham Hill north of the cemetery just outside Corvallis. No starting date could be found, but it was probably around 1900 or a little earlier. Enrollment was around 30 most years. Roads were so bad in winter that many parents moved to nearby Corvallis so their children could have the advantages of a town school. School was not held at Witham school in 1940, or perhaps for several years before that, but it was not officially transferred to the Corvallis district until 1946. It is not known who bought the property or what became of the building.

Woods Creek School

Pre-1900 - 1931

Woods Creek was a small community in a long narrow canyon about 3 miles west of Philomath off Highway 20. The school was built about mid-point in the canyon before 1900. That building burned, however, and a new school was eventually built nearby. Students came from 3 or 4 miles away in each direction, and enrollment was between 8 and 30. In early days, school terms consisted of a 3-month session in the fall and another in the spring when muddy roads had dried somewhat. School continued until 1931, when the school board discussed moving the school, which probably needed to be replaced. The proposed move was controversial, and one night the school burned to the ground. Philomath School District agreed to take the children and Woods Creek school was never rebuilt.

Wren School

c. 1855 - 1952

Wren (originally Wrenn), a small community 6 miles west of Philomath on Highway 20, was settled before 1850. It had a general store, post office, boarding house, church, and school. The school was on a hillside about a mile north of Wren. The earliest building might have been log, and there probably was an earlier frame building before the "little red schoolhouse," which was built around 1860. At the time it was rebuilt in 1927, the little red schoolhouse was the oldest schoolhouse in use in Oregon. In 1952, when transportation became cheap and plentiful, Wren school was closed. Young students were transported to Kings Valley and high school students were bused to Philomath. Wren school stood vacant for several years, but eventually it was torn down and a new home was built on the land.