Con Creek School History (The Little Red School House)
The information contained in this history summary came from Whatever Became of the Little Red Schoolhouse
For the 15 years prior to 1891, the Con Creek School District had a school south of this school/museum. One day the red haired schoolteacher of that school, Annie McGimsey said, “Pick up your books. We’re moving to the “new" school." The “new" school was our beloved school/museum, known today as The Little Red Schoolhouse.
At that time the school faced west, bordering The Old Highway (Anderson Valley Way). It was painted white with green trim. The long porch was added after the 1906 earthquake. The back room was added in 1940 as a library. In 1965, the State Division of Highways was preparing to build a new road and by-pass Anderson Valley Way. When rights of way were purchased for the new expressway, it was necessary to move the building slightly and give it a quarter turn. The customary white coat was changed to red and it was rededicated as the Little Red Schoolhouse in November 1963.
The school functioned as an eight grade, one room school until 1941. Blanche Brown became the teacher in 1928. It even served dual purposes during some of those early years, with records showing that an organ was housed in the school and Preacher Shaw held services there. It was a 7th-8th grade school from 1941-1947, with Mrs. Brown teaching. In the years between 1947 and the early 1950’s, the lumber business was booming, bringing in many new families. A Quonset hut was added and the school met many needs serving as an overflow location for the changing enrollment. During these years teachers included Ella and Eva Farrer, Hazel Nobel, Miss Krampholz and Lena Titus. It was first used as a kindergarten in 1958. When the new elementary school was built, Con Creek School was closed.
Then, in 1961, schools were once again overflowing and space was needed for kindergarten. Con Creek School was resurrected. It continued to operate as a kindergarten through 1979. From September 1960 to early 1978 there were two Barbaras teaching, Barbara June & Barbara Ingram. Mrs. Ellen Tinkler was the last teacher. So, ninety years after the first children moved in the last kindergarten class graduated.
The Community Services District purchased the school in 1979, with an agreement that it would be leased to the Anderson Valley Historical Society for use as a museum. In October of that year, it was placed on the National Register of Historical Landmarks. On July 4, 1980 the Anderson Valley Historical Society held a dedication ceremony and picnic. Thus, Con Creek School continues to operate as an educational facility, housing the history of Anderson Valley.
Book Note: Whatever Became of the Little Red Schoolhouse, narrated, compiled and edited by Alice Holmes with assistance from Joanne Matson, shares rural Mendocino County School History and is available through the Historical Society.