Edna Johnson, Delores Heisler, E. Joyce Klawitter,
Orien Lambrecht, Adeline Lazansky, Carol Lazansky,
Mary Marsh, Nettie Marsh, Lois Scheuttpelz,
Neva Marsh, Kenneth Rohe, Denise Urban
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This is the 29th in a series of articles sponsored by the Oconto
County Teachers Association
to promote better public relations in the schools of our county.
The Mountain School is located in the Town of Armstrong, which was originally a part of the Town of How. In the early years, and for some time afterwards, the area was very important in the logging industry. Men came with their big teams to work in the woods. The logging companies built log cabins for the men to live in. The woods echoed to the cry of "Timber" from early morning until dark. At that time there were no roads, and the logs were floated down the river to the mill.
The loggers stayed in the woods from early fall until spring, leaving their families behind them. The first man to settle in the town, and bring his wife and children with him was Thomas McAllen. Shortly other families moved in, making school a necessity. These settlers realized the importance of education to their children.
The first school was held in an abandoned log camp, commonly known as the old Bartz place. It consisted of two rooms, one of which was used for the school and the other for family living quarters. The seats and benches were rudely constructed, ran the entire length of the room, which was heated by a big box-stove. Water was furnished to the children by the well known pail and dipper. The girls sat on one side of the room, and the boys on the other.
Although there was room for about twenty pupils, the first school had just nine, five boys and four girls. There were four McAlllens, and three Rabe children who lived on the Anson Eldred farm, just north of Mountain and the Bagley children, who lived in the same building as the school. The boys came to school in their woolen shirts; girls wore long sleeved dresses, which reached nearly to their ankles. For outer wear they had jackets or capes, home-made of course and hoods, some of which were knitted and some crocheted. They wore long underwear, tucked into long home knit stockings, and high shoes, with buttons.
The first teacher in this log School which was started in 1885 was Miss Ella Mentor, who received the modest salary of $30 a month. There was no compulsory education, and the boys quilt school early to go to work as chore-boys and cookies in the, near-by logging camps. The girls as a general rule went to school a couple of years longer.
In 1886, the school district was completely reorganized and a new building was built, later known as the Woodman Hall. It was constructed of logs, too, but was much more spacious than the old one, and had a cupola, with a nice big bell. The school was built on the first town site, near where the Lutheran Parsonage now stands. It may be interesting to know that the reason the town moved to its present location was because when the railroad came through, the land at that point was quite low for a depot, so they built it where it now stands. Gradually new business places sprung up near the depot, and the first town site became just a memory.
A new school was built to take care of the fast growing little community. It was constructed of brick, on land which was part of the Sever Anderson farm, on which site the present school is situated. However, in 1905 or 1906 the school burned the cause of the fire not known. Some of the pupils rejoiced, while others wept. Misses Irma Plant and Sadie Fulton, the teachers at that time, rose nobly to the occasion. The pupils went to school, fire or no fire. Half of them had their lessons in the old log school, and half of them next door in the old Harry Baldwin store.
Work was started at once on a new school, which building forms a nucleus of our present school at Mountain.
At this point we want to thank Mrs. Harry Baldwin and Mr. John McAllen for the above information, as there is no records. These having been destroyed when the school building burned. We also thank Emily Dunlap for gathering the information from them.
The earliest records we have been able to locate are those of 1912. At this time there were six schools in the Armstrong' school district. They were as follows: Kingston, Richard Kingston, teacher; South Dakota, (no teacher listed); Crooked Lake, Fanny Statler; Mountain, Mr. Ben Rohan, Principal, Miss Edgerton, Lila McNutt, and Miss Grace Hannon (Grade teachers); Statler, Miss Martha Saffran; Grimmer (now known as Tar Dam). Miss Clara Baldwin. Children of Herman Miller, Adolph Markuson and Paul Nast were being transported to the Mountain School by Paul Nast. The transportation charges were paid by the school district.
On May 13, 1913, a new school district was formed, to be known as School District Number 1, Town of. Armstrong. A need for a janitor was felt at this time, so Swen Olsen and Richard Kingston were hired. In September of this year a cement sidewalk was built.
A special meeting was called on the 15th day of April, 1914, for the purpose of deciding whether or not a High School building should be built in connection with the present school building. The school was remodeled to accommodate the Union Free High School, Oliver Baldwin became the new janitor. The furnace was installed at this time, also indoor toilets. Because they voted to sell or give away the out-buildings if necessary to get them off the playgrounds.
In the summer of 1917 a well was dug behind the school house. Two drinking fountains were purchased from Eau Claire Book & Stationery Co.
The Flu Epidemic of 1918 was felt in this community. The school was closed for five weeks and two days.
During the summer of 1931, a water system was installed in the building. In September 1940, District Number 2, Kingston. and District Number 1, Mountain were consolidated and the children were transported by bus to the Mountain School.
In 1941, a Hot Lunch Project under W.P.A. was started. . A charge of 25c for ten successive meals was made. At this time one basement room had to accommodate all who wanted to eat. One Woman, Mrs. Ray Schroeder, was the first cook. Today we have two large lunch rooms, two cooks, and are feeding nearly one hundred children daily.
During the 1930's and 40's the very active Community Club Sponsored many worthwhile school projects, among which are: suite for the Athletic teams, a movie sound projector, beautiful draperies for our large auditorium windows, etc. Because of their efforts, the school children have been privileged to enjoy educational films, comedies, and features for the past eight years. This organization at present is the Homemakers Club.
In the fall of 1948, the Mountain High school was discontinued, and the children were transported to the Suring High school.
In September 1952, the Tar Dam School, Town of Riverview consolidated with the Mountain School, while the Valley View School, Town of Doty, transported its pupils to the Mountain school, paying their tuition. The following September 1953, they consolidated also. The Mountain School now has an enrollment of 119 pupils. With the entrance of these schools, our school board was changed to a five member board. One new member, representing each outlying town.
Today, the school has four teachers, Mrs. Verde Bartz is the principal. It has a movie projector, radios in each room, and handicraft is taught to the boys and girls. With the exception of the children who live near the school all the children participate in the school lunch program.
This summer the chemical toilets will be replaced with flush type toilets. Music, manual training, and physical education will become part of the school curriculum thus making the Mountain school one of the most progressive grade schools in the County.