Two of the school’s faculty had to live in the school. It didn’t have electricity. The community raised money to buy its piano.
That’s the way it was for Green Consolidated School District 99, four miles west of Valley City, N.D., when it opened in 1916.
When the school held its 50th anniversary, the area people held a celebration. Jim Kiser, Fargo, who attended, sent a copy of the anniversary booklet to Neighbors.
The booklet says plans for the school began in 1914 when three school districts merged to form District 99.
The land for the new school was purchased from Olaf Kjelland. Ground was broken for the building in 1916. It was built for $16,000. Later, a barn was added to the site with room for 14 to 16 horses.
Green school was the last consolidated school to be built in Barnes County.
The school opened in September 1916. There were three on the faculty: E.L. Bow, the principal and teacher of 8th grade and all of high school; Clara Larsen, who taught the intermediate grades; and Amy Evenson, the primary grades teacher.
The total enrollment that first year was 79.
Mileage was paid to families of students who lived farther than 2 ½ miles from the school, but that was voted out during the Depression.
Five adult immigrants from Norway attended the school during the winter of 1920-1921.
Because there was no teacherage, the principal, his wife and daughter lived in the school’s science room and library, and Miss Evenson lived in a classroom’s cloakroom; Miss Larsen lived at home.
Books, desks and two Victrolas were purchased from the schools which had closed for the merger. Aladdin lamps were used at first. A Delco light plant was installed later. The Rural Electrification Administration brought electricity to the school in 1939.
The first Christmas program, in 1916, was held in the gym, with the manual training room used as the stage.
The community used social events to raise money for the piano.
The school was dedicated in November 1916. Among those attending was North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier.
In 1921, volunteer workers used horses and scrapers to improve the grounds, and on Arbor Day, pupils planted trees and shrubs which they had brought from their homes.
Over the years, Green Consolidated was a community center. People drove there with horses to see movies, which were shown on a borrowed projector. Elections, political meetings, 4-H club, Boy Scouts and homemakers club meetings were held there. So were bridal showers, silver wedding anniversaries, ladies’ aid church dinners, Young Citizens League meetings, junior-senior proms and home talent plays.
In its later years, Play Day, basketball games and track meets were big events. Parochial school sessions also were held in the school.
Valley City State College provided musical programs, speakers and declamation judges for it.
That’s the way it was for Green Consolidated School District 99, the school which Jim Kiser attended from 1946 to 1956 in first through 10th grades.
“The high school closed in 1956, so I attended my last two years at Svea High School, another country school in rural Litchville, N.D.,” Jim writes. “The grade school continued until 1962 when the school closed.
“The building is still standing,” he says. “It’s the last one of its kind in the country. It is now on the North Dakota historical record.”
Jim’s sister was the last student to graduate from Green in 1953. She was the only student in the class.
If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107, fax it to 701-241-5487 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.