• dawnelle

The first school in "Beaver Creek", Oregon

The first school in the area was called "Beaver Creek", and was named even before "Beaver Creek" was officially a city. The schoolhouse, likely a log cabin, was built in the 1850's, named in honor of the creek that flows through the area into the Willamette river. It is said there were likely many beavers in the area at that time. Thus, "Beaver Creek" was a fitting and appropriate name.


Between 1854-1866 (dates conflict) this pioneer school was established in Beaver Creek. Oregon was not yet a state, yet this school was built and attended by many local students. According to records, there were "75 scholars in the area, and 43 attended the first school". I wonder what the other 32 students were doing, although I imagine they were working on their family farms and/or felt too old to want to attend by the time the school opened.


There are discrepancies as to whether the first actual building was a log cabin structure on what is now Ferguson Rd., or if it was a different structure (or the log cabin) located on S. Leland Rd. The first teacher in the Beaver Creek school was either Mr. W. H. Lewis or Mr. Charles F. Beattie (also some discrepancies with the history regarding the teachers, but records exist of both names). We do know the teacher earned a salary of $40/term, and a term was 3 months. Sometimes the teachers would make a bit more for taking on janitorial work or other tasks- it is recorded that Mr. Lewis made $57 one term, likely for this reason.


The first books used in the school included Olney's Geography, Thompson's Arithmetic, Wilson's History, and Sander's Reader and Speller.


The school building also hosted the weekly worship services and other events for Beaver Creek. Tirsah Daniels, a local who penned some of her memories, described the school building as follows.


"The religious education and social life all centered around 'The Old School House". The children went there five days a week to to learn the "three R's". Sunday School, worship services, and prayer meetings were held there, as well as socials, singing classes, spelling matches, debates, mock trials, political meetings, and general entertainments. My family loaded the old family organ onto a sled, hauling it to and from church services held at the school house. Elections were always holidays for children as the school was also the voting place for the community. "


Below are images from Olney's Geography Book. It is fascinating to see the maps!

Cover:

Map of the World:

U.S.A. at the time:

Western Territories:


sources:

1. "The Beavercreek Bulletin, Beavercreek Oregon, a History Through the Looking Glass, 2003."

2. "Olney's Geography book, Jesse Olney,©1844.


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