Is Your School Historic?

Lincoln School (1924), Laramie,<br /> Albany Co.
Lincoln School (1924), Laramie,
Albany Co.

Photo: State Historic Preservation Office
Photographer: Richard Collier, 2000
For many people, their personal memories and those of their parents and friends are enough to make a school building important and worthy of preservation. However, memories alone do not constitute historic significance. The historic context of Wyoming schools attempts to go beyond the individual memories to the role that schools have played in educating Wyoming’s children and adults, serving as centers of community life, and providing models of architecture that often enhance the built environment of the community. This context may be used to document why your school is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), as well as why it is important to preserve it on the local level. The following schools are listed individually on the National Register or listed as contributing buildings to a National Register District and their nomination forms can be used as sources for historical documentation.

County Listed on National Register Listed in a National Register District
Albany East Side School
Albany Lincoln School
Albany Ivinson Hall Girls School
Albany   Cathedral School for Boys (Sherwood Hall)
Big Horn Lower Shell School
Big Horn   Big Horn Academy and Cowley Gym
Carbon   Sinclair Elementary School
Crook Sundance School (Old Stoney)
Fremont   Fort Washakie Fort School
Fremont St. Michael's Mission
Fremont Shoshone Episcopal Mission
Fremont Delfelder School
Fremont   1970 South Pass Historical Site School (now archeological site)
Fremont   1910 South Pass Historical Site School
Laramie Park Addition/Chaplin School
Laramie Corlett Elementary School
Laramie Deming/Miller Elementary School
Laramie Hebard Elementary School
Laramie Cheyenne High School/Central High
Laramie Storey Gymnasium
Laramie Mabel Fincher (Triumph High School)
Laramie Old Pine Bluffs High School
Laramie Lulu McCormick Junior High
Laramie Churchill Elementary School
Laramie Johnson Junior High
Natrona Natrona County High School
Natrona Roosevelt High School
Park Pioneer School
Park Ralston Community Clubhouse
Sublette Daniel School House
Sweetwater Reliance High School
Teton Teton Science School
Uinta  Fort Bridger's Carter School House

To be determined eligible for inclusion in the National Register, a school must be at least 50 years old, unless it has exceptional significance on a local, state or national level, and it must meet one or more of the four NRHP eligibility criteria, and retain sufficient integrity to convey its historic significance. Most schools are considered eligible for listing on the National Register for their association with public education, community development in Wyoming or for their architectural importance. We want to preserve those buildings that represent the typical educational practices and school designs of their era. A school may also be eligible for its association with a prominent educator; if an important event occurred at the school; or as an archeological site that may yield important information, like the Heart Mountain archeological school site which was the only internment school in the state. It is important to note that a site or building listed on the National Register is not protected from demolition. Property owners and communities must provide legal protection for the property. See the National Register site for information on surveying a historic property and completing a National Register form.

To determine whether your school may be considered eligible for listing on the National Register, ask these questions:
  1. When was the school constructed? Is the school very old (built before 1910)? Most of these schools have been demolished and the school would be a rare find from that period.
  2. Under what circumstances was the school built? Was it built by a rancher for use as a school on his ranch or a mining company for the children of miners?
  3. What was the function of the school and its area of influence? For example, was it built to be used as an administration building with classes held for the children of soldiers that included children in the surrounding countryside?
  4. If it is a one-room country school, does it have architectural embellishments such as round arch windows or doors, a cupola, or other unusual features? Or, can it be linked to a known plan book design?
  5. Miller Consolidated School, Laramie Co.
    Miller Consolidated School,
    Laramie Co.

    Photo: Supt. of Public Instruction Biennial Report,
  6. Does the school have an unusual design (architectural form, plan, structure, or decoration)?
  7. Was the school designed by a nationally prominent architect? Or, was it designed by a locally or regionally prominent architect such as Kellogg and Kellogg; Arthur Garbutt; Charles Murdock; William Dubois; S. R. DeBoer; Wilbur Hitchcock, among others?
  8. Did the school play an important role in the educational development of a definable region? Is the school one of the early consolidated schools (pre-1925), or a Wyoming Standard School?
  9. Was the school built specifically for special educational purposes or practices (vocational school, Indian boarding school, parochial school, or private school)?
  10. Royal Valley School, Wyoming's First Standard School, Niobrara Co.
    Royal Valley School, Wyoming's
    First Standard School, Niobrara Co.

    Photo: Supt. of Public Instruction Biennial Report,
  11. Was the school the location of a significant historic event?
  12. Did any of the teachers or administrators in the school have a significant impact on the local, state, or national educational system?
  13. Was the school or an addition to the school built using New Deal-era funding or labor (WPA or PWA)?
  14. Did the school typify the type of architecture of the region or represent a broader stylistic group such as standard schools of the 1920s and 1930s? How many other school properties are there in the area with the same design or building materials?
  15. Does the school site have other buildings or features such as a teacherage, outhouse, stable, playground equipment, fences, athletic field, gymnasium, water wells and pumps, etc.?
  16. Do the interiors of the building retain historic features such as blackboards, auditoriums, cloakrooms, lunch rooms, theaters, New Deal murals, etc?
  17. How do other schools in the area compare in their levels of integrity? Have other schools been moved and this is the only one in its original location? Have the other schools had original windows replaced with modern windows and this school retains its original windows? Have alterations and/or additions been made to the building before it was 50 years old? Older schools are often adapted to meet the needs of new educational trends and technology. For example, libraries, gymnasiums, and spaces for the performing arts and building trades were often added to existing schools in the mid-20th century. These alterations and additions are often an important part of the building’s history and may have significance in their own right.
  18. What historical themes are represented, and how does this property fit within its given theme(s)? For example, if the school was built for the children of a particular rancher on the ranch itself, then it could represent the themes of education, architecture, and ranching.
Ham's Fork School (1897) Ruins, Lincoln Co.
Ham's Fork School (1897) Ruins, Lincoln Co.
Photo: State Historic Preservation Office, Wyoming Cultural Sites Inventory Form, 1983
Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources