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home : features : schools February 5, 2016

8/28/2013 8:23:00 AM
Chino Valley School District has varied history
By Kay Jones
Chino Valley Historical Society

(Information courtesy of "Cowchips & Calluses, by Ellen Ginn)

In 1897, the first organized school district in the Chino area came into being at Jerome Junction. The Jerome Junction School District continued to operate even after the Chino Valley School, then known as The Farms School, was established.

The records for the Jerome Junction School District are not available from 1919-1927 when the school was phased out. Students were slowly being transported to the new Chino Valley School. The Jerome Junction school district was annexed to the Chino Valley School District in 1929.

In 1919, classes were held in Chino Valley's new, three-room, brick building that had been erected on the present school site, serving grades 1-8.

In the fall of 1926 the first bus transported Chino Valley students to high school in Prescott. Prior to that, students had to find their own way to high school or move to Prescott.

The Farms School District was founded in 1923, and in 1946 the name was changed to Chino Valley School District.

In about 1948 it was determined Chino Valley needed a gymnasium, and the trustees decided the only way the district could afford one was to build it with used lumber. The airbase at Kingman was being disposed of, and the district purchased a surplus hanger. Local citizens helped with the dismantling and transported the lumber in their personal trucks to Chino Valley where a contractor built the new gym.

In 1949, fire broke out during the noon hour in the brick schoolhouse, while teachers and children were in the basement eating lunch. It gained considerable headway before being noticed.

One story has it that they thought the cookies were burning until someone investigated further and found a fire, which was later determined to be of electrical origin.

The children filed out in an orderly fashion and no one was injured. The teachers and staff removed the desks, books and personal items from the upper school rooms. The Prescott Fire Department dispatched an engine and crew to the scene. Meanwhile, farmers and hired hands pitched in and helped keep the flames from leaping to the newly completed gymnasium, which was adjacent on the north.

What a loss! Not only was the valley without classrooms, but the school served as a community center. The Saturday night dances, box socials, the community canning center, etc., would be no more.

Temporary classrooms were set up in the new gymnasium until new ones could be built. Grandma Lucy Bates opened her home and served hot lunches in shifts, until such time as a new cafeteria was built.

And, as they say, the rest is history!

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