Monday, January 18, 2010

Chapman Schoolhouse

Driving by this schoolhouse the other day reminded me to get in gear for 2010, as far as putting out some new material in here!

The Chapman Schoolhouse is located just north of Longmont, near the intersection of Vermillion Road and 115th Street.

The original Longmont Ledger had an article about it's construction, from July 13, 1923:
$11,000 School Contract Awarded.

Chapman School District, No. 35, is to have a fine new brick school house. The contract has been let to O.C. Herdener, the lowest bidder. Work will begin at once so that the building will be ready by occupancy by fall.
Today, like the old Pleasant View Ridge schoolhouse southeast of Longmont, the Chapman School is a private residence (pictures from December 2008):

A portion of the Sally Zimdahl interview at the Boulder County Oral History Program describes growing up in this area north of Longmont during the Depression, and attending the Chapman School.
Interview is by Anne Dyni, from November 2005:

A.D. Your dad was on the school board?

S.Z. Oh yes. He was president of the school board for years.

A.D. What school district was that?

S.Z. Chapman School. It's just a half mile north.

A.D. It's still standing, isn't it?

S.Z. Yes, it's being used as a house now.

A.D. Was he on the school board for a great number of years?

S.Z. As long as I can remember, he was on the school board.

A.D. I can recall you telling me something about the roof collapsing?

S.Z. Yes. [chuckles]

A.D. Could you tell that story?

S.Z. On the "V", it fell in. And that had been built by—oh, I can't remember his name either. A man right here in town. So my father was furious. So he went tearing into town to complain to the builder and he was out playing a game of golf. So father followed him out to the golf course, and he tracked him down and was just a-fussin' at him and he says, "Oh, Grant, relax. Here, take this club and try hitting the ball."

And he said, "I wouldn`t touch that."

And he said "Oh go on. It'll relax you."

Finally he took a swing and of course completely missed the ball. So, he wanted no part of it and he was furious, but they did get the roof fixed.

A.D. So, it was a repair. Not the original building of the building?

S.Z. They just had to repair it.

A.D. It's just a half-mile up the road? You walked to school, didn't you?

S.Z. Oh yes. Well, no I didn't. I rode my little fat pony. Dan by name.

A.D. So did they have a loafing shed up there?

S.Z. They had a shed where we could put our horses because there were several of us who rode horses to school.

A.D. Did you have to take hay up there for your horse to eat during the day?

S.Z. You know, I think the horses were well fed morning and night and I don't think we had to do that.

A.D. Did your brothers also ride?

S.Z. I think so. Actually I didn't pay much attention to what my brothers were doing. [laughs]

A.D. Tell me a little about that school. What was a typical day like?

S.Z. It was a two-room schoolhouse. The first four grade were in one room and the other four through eight were in the other room. And the classes took turns going up front up front. There were benches up in front for their lessons that they recited and they would go back to their seats and work. All of the schools around—the country schools—used to have kind of a league. They played baseball. I remember my brother Jim was the catcher on the team up here and one day he got hit right in the face with the ball. He was so sick. They came hauling him home. But at Christmastime we had wonderful productions we put on. My father and other men would go up and build the stage. They had all the boards they needed for a stage. They built a stage at one end—because you could open between the two rooms, so you had one big room.

A.D. Was that school house ever used for other kinds of meetings besides school classes?

S.Z. If it was, I was not aware of it as a child. I'd have to say I don't know. As far as I know, it was just used for school.

A.D. Did they have running water?

S.Z. No, they had a cistern and a pump. Because I know my father would have to go clean out that cistern before school started. Later on, I'm sure they had running water.

A.D. And electric lights and all of that?

S.Z. We did have electric lights.

A.D. Do you remember any of your teachers?

S.Z. I had a Miss Tavelli who could sing like an opera star. She was very Italian and very big. And my first grade teacher I just adored. The first day I went to school, she was in a pink and white checked dress, and I thought she was something special. Now I can't think of her name but I can still see her. And then we had a teacher who was divorced, and she had a daughter who lived with her up there. I've forgotten her name. I'm not real big on names, I guess.

A.D. Did you have a teacherage in the building at that time?

S.Z. Oh yes. In the basement was a play room and a furnace room. And then there was a very nice teacherage. It had a big living area. A big closet off of that. Two bedrooms and a bathroom—well, kind of a bathroom. We all used an outdoor toilet when we were in school. They had something where they could bathe and a kitchen. And two teachers. They had one for each room who lived in the teacherage.

A.D. I wonder if that was part of their salary to be able to live there.

S.Z. I don't know.
(Interview is copyrighted to the Maria Rogers Oral History Program)

Other area schoolhouses:

1 comment:

lalapapawawa said...

That's a great interview. Nice to see you back.