Maxwell Schoolhouse

This project is going on on CR 321 and I have had some calls wanting to know what is happening.

This photo taken by Joe Holub shows the Maxwell Park School or Mount Princeton School on CR 321. The school is going to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places this year.

The school building was built of handmade cement blocks; you can see the hand and fingerprints in the blocks. The Centerville School which is gone was also built of these blocks. The blocks are from 18-23 inches long and hollow, the cement is rough and full of rocks. The kitchen addition on the Kelly ranch house is also built of these blocks.

There are fish scale shingles on gables at the peak at front and back of the school. The building is 30 feet, 7 inches long and 26 feet wide. There is a bell tower (minus the bell) on the front of the roof.

The Maxwell School was started in 1889 and was used until 1933. Behind the school building was a barn for the kids to keep their horses in while they were in school for the day.

Attached to the back of the school is a cement shed addition to store the coal for the big stove that heated the building. There were two outhouses in the back, one for girls and one for boys. The well for the school was south across the road.

There were two coat closets on each side of the front door and hooks for coats, and shelves. The interior was finished with lath and plaster. There were wooden desks, the teacher’s desk, an Edna pump organ, maps in wall cases you could pull down, slate blackboards and a bucket with a dipper for a drink.

Some of the teachers lived at the Nachtrieb ranch (now Kelly ranch) and rode a horse to school the one and one-half miles. The teacher had to start the stove, pump water from the well and sweep and clean the building.

The only students I know of that are still living that attended the school are Goldie Beauregard Gilbert and Lucille Wharton Fredericks. There were 25 female teachers over the years and one male.

Buena Vista Heritage raised the money to re-roof the school a number of years ago. Much of the work was done by a labor crew from the Colorado Correctional Facility. The Buena Vista Church of Latter Day Saints under the inspiration of brothers Bryan and Orrey Randal did a lot of work on the school. They replaced all the windows but they have been covered with plywood because of vandalism.

The building and land belong to the State of Colorado Department of Corrections because it is located on State Lease Land that belongs to the Department of Corrections. The land is leased to Bill Rooks at this time.

The split-rail fence was installed by the Buena Vista Correctional Facility to cut down the vandalism.

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