Families meant children and children meant schools. This history of the schools, with a few additions, was written by Karma Reid Lewis.
In 1898-99 when Lund was first colonized, the population numbered approximately thirty-five people. Even at that early date the settlers were concerned about the education of their children and realized that they needed a school in the community. A teacher, Miss Mattie Raphael was hired and the first school was held in the home of M. W. Harrison. The school roll for that year lists these students: Edward Burgess, Lillie Burgess, Julius Gardner, LaVeta Harrison, Ervin Hendrix, Gideon Hendrix, Jemima Horsley, Andrew Judd, Frank Judd, Joe Judd, Ellis Terry, John Terry, Marion Terry, Wilford Terry, Arthur Smith, Ethel Smith, Ross Smith, Zina Smith and James Wakeling. A room in the home of Edward Burgess Sr. was used later in abuilding that once stood north of Luella Whipple's home. Some of the other early teachers were Miss North, sister of Pete North, Eva Cannon and May Rutledge.
The school was soon divided into primary and upper grades with Alice Redd (sister to DelleR. Ivins) as primary teacher and Orrin Snow as teacher of the upper grades. For a month or twothe primary grades occupied a room in the home of William J. Davis on the lot where Kay and Josephine Reid now live, while the upper grades had one log room on the original home ranch site near the spring. In a short time the primary grades were moved to another log building a little distance from the first among the willows near the spring with the creek flowing nearby.
As the population of the town increased and more children needed an education, one room became inadequate as a school. One of the first community projects was to make plans to construct a building in the center of the town that could be used as a church, a school, and a general meeting place.
When it was decided that the building should be constructed of logs, a committee, consisting of Joseph Judd, Moses W. Harrison and George C. Gardner, was sent into the mountains southeast of town to study the possibility of securing the logs from that area. The country was so rough that logs could not be taken out during dry weather. The men had to wait until the snow was deep enough to slide them out. The story is told that they sewed themselves into burlap bags to withstand the cold as they slid the logs down the mountainside. The process took about three months to complete and from then on the canyon was known as Schoolhouse Canyon.
When the walls were one story high they decided to add a second story using lumber and covering it with a shingled roof. A new committee consisting of Moses W. Harrison, George C. Gardner, Frank Bryner and Orrin Snow made arrangements to get the material from Cedar City,Utah. Joe Vance, Will Terry and Dan Hendrix, each with a four horse team hauled the material the three hundred miles from Cedar City to White River. The story is told that when they needed more shingles to finish the project, Bertha Smith hitched up a team, put her two small daughters, Mona and Isabel in the wagon, drove to Cedar City and brought back the shingles. The two story building with a stairway on the outside to the upper story became Lund's first meeting house. In 1908 a large one room addition was built of concrete blocks. A more detailed account of this is given in the section on the Growth of the Church.
By the early 1900's the population of the county had begun to stabilize to the point that a definite school policy began to emerge. A. B. Lightfoot was one of the first county superintendents and he made frequent visits to the Lund school. He was an educator of the "old school", actively involved in actual schoolroom performance. He would walk into the schoolroom unannounced and call for an oral test in mathematics (mental arithmetic it was called then). Then he would conduct the test himself. His rapid-fire questions, hurled first at one and then another, put both student and teacher on their toes.
In contrast to the almost universal "social promotions" that came later the procedure for determining eligibility for an eighth grade diploma imposed rather rigid requirements. A comprehensive battery of tests was sent out from the office of the county superintendent. These were sealed and kept intact until the rather ceremonious breaking of the seal in front of the students when the test was administered. The tests provided the necessary motivation for both teacher and student. A certain average was necessary for graduation and the subject matter covered in anticipation of the tests resulted in a surprisingly broad academic background.
On April 22, 1911, a citizens meeting was called by Chairman Robert Reid to discuss the possibility of bonding the Lund School District for a purpose of building a schoolhouse. A committee of five men, H. C. Smith, A. R. Whitehead, Joseph Vance, M. W. Harrison, and W.A. Terry, was appointed to consider plans and cost of the building.
The committee met with the citizens the following month and the plan presented by H. C.Smith was accepted. The building was to consist of "four rooms about 24 feet by 25 feet with hall and with 10 inch cement blacks." There was some controversy about the hall, as one committee member argued that it was unnecessary and it would save money if left out of the plans. A proposal to bond for $4000 was opposed as being insufficient, and a $5000 bond was agreed upon, to be paid in equal annual payments for fifteen years. M. W. Harrison suggested that the school be located in the northeast corner of the same block as the other building, Lot 6,Block 6. His suggestion was approved.
A bonding election was held June 1, 1911, with 23 votes being cast in favor of the bond and 12 votes against. By 1914 when construction on the schoolhouse was started, the plans had been changed to include two smaller storage rooms in addition to the four large classrooms and the cost of the bonds was raised to $7000.
By this time the school had been divided again into primary, intermediate and upper grades. The primary room was not much more than an entry to the intermediate room on the north and the stairway that led to the second story for the upper grades. This along with large cracks in the door made it hard to heat with a small wood burning stove, so for a year while the new building was under construction the first and second grades were moved to the old Relief Society building.
The Lund Grade School building was completed and put to use in 1915. About 20 to 25children were in the Primary classes. Their program included: Reading, Numbers, Spelling, Phonics, Language, Writing,
Drawing, Nature and Exercises. The Intermediate and Grammar grades averaged from 40 to50 students and the subjects taught were: Reading, Language, History, Geography, Spelling,Arithmetic, Writing, Music, Drawing, Civics, Current Events and Hygiene.
In 1919 the curriculum was expanded to include some high school subjects, the plan being to offer a basic two-year course that could be completed at Ely or elsewhere. That first year,Ancient History, English, Algebra and Spanish were taught. There were nine students, seven girls and two boys, Laura Gubler (Hendrix), Carol Ivins (Collett), Mary Whitehead (Jolley), Lena Carter (Christiansen), Tirza Gardner (Hendrix), Virginia Smith (Dennis), Leonora Gardner (Perry), Antone Harrison and Wilby Whitehead. Harriet K. Beighler was the first teacher. One room of the grade school and some of the rooms in the church were used for classes. Physical Education and Music were added later. Soon after the high school program was initiated a bus was provided for the White River and Preston high school students. During this time joint monthly meetings were held between the Lund and Preston trustees and an occasional meeting with the White River board. In 1928, third and fourth year subjects were added permitting students to graduate with a good four-year basic high school background.
In 1929 the Lund School Board met for the purpose of applying for courses in Shop, Home Economics, and Vocational Agriculture. They applied for a subsidy from the governor to assist in financing the Smith-Hughes vocational programs. The results were favorable and LaRue Snow (Carter) was hired as the first teacher of Home Economics. A shop building was built on the southwest corner of the lot and Loraine Ivins taught Shop and Vocational Agriculture. The average school year lasted from seven to nine months depending on the money available each year for teacher salaries and other expenses. Also work on the farm affected the length of the term. This entry was taken from the School Board minutes:
"Nov. 16/28. Lund & Preston School Boards met in Preston to discuss the proposition of dismissing the high School 3 days during the potato digging season and it was decided to dismiss for 3 days as the majority of parents desired it also to close the 7th & 8th grades of the Lund District school for the same purpose, the time to be made up on Saturdays during the winter. Mrs. Belle F. Gardner (clerk)"
In 1929, the Lund School Board and a committee from the town met to discuss a proposal to petition the State Legislature in Carson City to enact a law that would enable the Lund High School to become a branch of the White Pine County High School. After some discussion, a petition was formulated and sent to White Pine County Assemblyman, Richard R. Swallow, after being signed by citizens of Lund and Preston. The necessary legislation followed and the Lund High School became a branch of the White Pine County High School in 1931.
The town, being in need of a place for activities such as athletics and dances, talked of building an amusement hall. The School Board met and decided that if an amusement hall was built it should contain a kitchen and dining room that could be rented for high school Home Economics. They also discussed the need for an addition to the school shop for the Vocational program. The amusement hall was never built. Instead the discussion led to a plan to construct a high school. Before this could be implemented, state and county support were needed. With Loraine Ivins as spokesman a number of meetings were held with county commissioners, county school superintendent, state Department of Education, and state legislators, to get backing for the project. It was largely due to the efforts of L. R. Ivins, the lobbying of Arthur Carter and County Extension Agent C. R. (Mud) Townsend, backed by the local school trustees, Belle F. Gardner, Will Hutchings and James Wakeling, with George Fawcett Jr. as committee member, that the necessary approval was obtained and the go-ahead given for a high school building. A site was chosen and the lot purchased in 1930. By 1931 the Lund High School building was complete and ready for use.
Both school buildings are still in use with only a few minor changes and additions, such as putting in a furnace, water system and rest rooms at the Grade school and adding more rooms for classes at the High School. The addition of trees and lawns has made them more attractive and provided places for outdoor athletics.
In 1955 the Peabody plan was put into effect in Nevada and local school boards were superseded by a seven-member county board and a county superintendent with an administrative staff. As has been noted in another section of this history, Arthur N. Carter and Philip Carter have both served on this county school board. Under the new plan, all the area schools were consolidated and the White River and Preston students were bused to Lund. Since a bus was already bringing high school students this presented no great problem.
One favorable result of this change in policy was a more equitable share of county school moneys and as a consequence the broadening of the school program to include art and music with band. Before this the small Lund school had been unable to pay or attract a band teacher except for a brief period 1942 to 1944 when Grant Harris who had been hired as grade school principal was also qualified to teach band. Under the Peabody Plan, the White Pine County school board provided a part time art teacher and a part time teacher for music and band. In 1962, Sherman Hawkins began teaching music and band, dividing his time between the Ruth school and Lund. This program, under Mr. Hawkins, has been very successful. The band has grown to include Lund High school students and periodically combines with the Ruth band to provide broader experience.
Because of its relative small size and the expense of providing an adequate education for the students, the question of closing the Lund High School and busing the students to Ely has arisen several times. In 1948 when the matter came up, a special meeting was called by the P. T. A. to solve the problem. A committee was chosen to go to Ely to meet and discuss the matter with county and school personnel. As a result the school was retained.
Again, in 1960, because of the drop in enrollment, the question of closing Lund High School came up. A group of Lund citizens was sent to Duckwater in Nye County to talk with the parents there about sending their children to high school in Lund. The results were favorable and with the increase in enrollment the following year the school was not closed.
On April 10, 1975, after two previous meetings of the White Pine County School Board, the Lund High School was officially closed by a vote of four to three by the board members. At the first suggestion of closure, the White River citizens held a number of meetings to coordinate their efforts and plan strategy. They organized, appointed a committee, and wrote numerous letters to the superintendent, the school board and the Ely Daily Times. They appeared en masse at the school board meetings. One meeting had to be moved to the Ely Grade School auditorium, and another was held in the White Pine High School gym to accommodate the crowd. At the hearings, their protest stressed the advantages of a small school especially as opposed to lengthy busing and stressed the importance of the schools to rural life.
When these measures had no effect, the White River Citizens decided to hire a lawyer. They secured the services of Frank Schreck of Las Vegas, young, astute and enthusiastic. At a special hearing here viewed the case for the White River Citizens in a very professional manner covering every facet of the situation with testimony by students, teachers, parents and townspeople.
When the only response was another vote, four to three for closure, the Citizens group called for a court hearing charging the board members with arbitrary and capricious action. The court hearing was in many ways a repeat of the special hearing with an outstanding presentation by Attorney Schreck and witnesses and little effective response. Nevertheless, when the Judge's decision came back a week later, he had ruled against the small school.
The next step was an attempt to recall the four board members. This involved knocking on doors with a petition and the citizens approached it with great reluctance. Unwilling to give up, however, most of the people took their turn and secured the required twenty-five percent of voter signatures. When the validity of the petition signatures was challenged Judge Beko supported the people in their right to call for a recall vote. When, according to law, it came up for a vote two months later, the White River citizens received another defeat--by a narrow margin, but a defeat nevertheless. The school was closed. Trucks came to haul away books and equipment. The people were tired and discouraged. A few allowed their children to ride the bus to White Pine High School but most of the parents sent them to Alamo or Eureka as a form of protest.
This minority group in support of the small school had received verbal support from a number of prominent Nevadans, among them Senators Paul Laxalt and Howard Cannon and state senator Rick Blakemore. They continued to try to enlist the support of state policy makers-educational and government executives, legislators, state P. T. A. etc.
And most importantly, as it turned out, these people sent an appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court. In a decision handed down on June 7, 1976, the five judges of the Supreme Court unanimously ordered the reopening of the Lund High School. In its summation the Court declared: "The community of Lund has something very precious to American education which has been deteriorating in larger communities, and that is the close relationship of the home and the school."
Nowhere can this close relationship be shown more graphically than in the names of the many who served their community and school in this effort. Philip Carter, as school board member, coordinated and spearheaded the action. Michael (Mike) Gardner and Robert (Bob)Bartlett acted as committee chairman at different times and proved themselves to be competent and effective leaders. Other committee members were Margaret Gubler, Josephine Reid, Ronald Horsley, J. L. Whipple, Louise Reid, Margaret (Peggy) Gardner, Robert Oxborrow, Van Petersen, Marsha Gardner, Nancy Judd.
Some names stand out for special services: La Rue Carter for research, Louise Reid for handling the business and financial matters and acting as spokesman in confrontations when impromptu response was called for, Margaret Gubler for clear precise interpretation of the general feeling for publication and/or letters to public figures, Joan Gardner as an always available and willing typist, Ludean Carter as typist, copiest and general coordinator, quote by Philip Carter "Margaret Oxborrow for her letters, articles, etc." and many for work on the recall and fund raising projects: Bob and Gayle Bartlett, Mike and Marilyn Gardner, Frank and Louise Reid, Max and Kaye Reid, Robert and Geraldine Oxborrow, Norris and Joy Hendrix, Dean and Wilma Whipple, Sheldon and Darlene Reid, Gardner and Colleen Scow, Milton and Joan Gardner, Jack and Mary Lou Hendrix, Ricky and Diane Hendrix, Steven and Stella Carter, Van and Peggy Gardner, J. L. and Dawn Whipple, Kay and Josephine Reid, Ronald and Faylene Ivins, Neil and
Virginia Gardner, Van and Nieves Petersen, Ronald and Neva Horsley, Kenneth and Sharon McKenzie, Eddie and Arlene Mangum, Merrill and Wenona Gubler, Laine and Arlene Hendrix,Harold and Harriet Ivins, Lloyd Oxborrow, Marion Arnoldsen, Bud Hendrix, Milton and Nancy Judd, Karma Lewis.
In addition to the recognition they received from the Supreme Court, it is a matter of some significance to this history that at this time the White River citizens also received recognition from many sources state and nationwide, for their commitment. They received newspaper clippings, copies of editorials and messages of congratulation from many parts of the United States. Paul Harvey, syndicated columnist and television commentator, used their story on national television with a favorable comment. Two men from the University of Nevada, Reno, Michael Petkovich, Graduate Research Assistant, and C. T. K. Ching, Associate Professor, made an objective and detailed study of the case which they published in pamphlet form under the heading: Some Educational and Socio-economic Impacts of Closing a High School in a Small Rural Community.
In 1977 the federal government allocated a sum of money to White Pine County for Public Works projects. The White River Citizens, recognizing in this an opportunity to upgrade their schools, applied for a portion of this appropriation for a Community Center. The reasoning was that a facility adequate for sports, cultural and social events could be used by both the town and the schools and would add a much-needed dimension to the school program.
In order to qualify for the grant one requirement was that the town provide the location. When the Nevada Supreme Court ruled in favor of the White River Citizens in the return of their high school, the court also ordered the White Pine School District to reimburse them for court costs. Originally the citizens had used various projects to raise money for this fund, barbecues, rodeos, raffles, as well as voluntary contributions. When this money was returned to them the citizens elected to use this fund, together with their share of certain county tax moneys,supplemented by more private donations to purchase a two acre lot east of and adjacent to the high school for the proposed community center.
When they applied for the grant, Neil Jensen, County Recorder, and former resident of Preston, flew to Reno with his secretary and worked far into the night on the necessary forms in order to meet the deadline for the application. On the recommendation of the county commissioners, Dr. Kendall Jones, Douglas Hawkins and Tom Collis, the grant was approved and work on the building began in December, 1977 and was finished by the fall of 1978. The first use of the facility was for athletics for the 1978-79 school year.
A plaque with the names of County Commissioners, Dr. Kendall Jones, Tom Collis and Douglas Hawkins, and County Recorder, Neil Jensen, was presented at half-time at a basketball game in February 1979, by J. L. Whipple with Philip Carter adding some comments. Dr. Jones responding graciously, commended the Lund people on their public spirit and progressive attitude before hanging the plaque on the wall of the new building. Also present were Neil Jensen and District Attorney, Bob Johnson.
It might be noted again that the joint effort and multiple use in the plan for this building is not new in the history of Lund. It goes back to that first log building built by the townspeople to accommodate school, church, civic and social functions. It goes back to the use of school facilities for church, both the old and new buildings when extra room was needed for special programs, band, band concerts, hosting visiting schools, etc.
For the 1978 and 1979 school year the school board approved a kindergarten for the Lund area and this additional feature was included in the program. Mary Morley Harrison was hired to teach the half day kindergarten session. It is of some interest that while both she and her husband have lived in Ely all their lives, Mary is a descendant of George Morley, one of the early settlers of Preston and her husband, Gary Harrison, is a grandson of Moses and Louisa Harrison who were among the first pioneers of Lund.
To make room for this addition to the grade school, the seventh and eighth grades were transferred to the high school building where some remodeling was done to accommodate them. There they have participated in an expanded academic and athletic program.
It is unfortunate that the economic situation in White Pine County, with the closing of Kennecott resulting in a substantial reduction in school funds as well as a decrease in school population, has made cutbacks necessary throughout the county. The kindergarten, after one year, principally because of too few children, has been dropped at least for 1979.
Early in the history of the schools a relatively high proportion of eighth grade graduates continued their education elsewhere and many of them became teachers. Some of the first who came back to Lund to teach deserve mention here as pioneers in the educational field. Ethel Smith went to Brigham Young, Provo, Jessie Reid to Manti, Mazie Reid and LaVeta Harrison to Brigham Young, Logan, all in Utah. Qualifications for teaching certificates were varied. Superintendent Lightfoot asked Mazie Reid to participate in a teacher-training program in the county. About six young women took the course which was taught in Ely, and after a year of intensive training received "normal school diplomas" permitting them to teach. Another method of qualifying for a certificate was a series of state examinations for teachers. An average high enough to "pass" required a fair knowledge of a number of subjects, reading, writing, arithmetic, history, geography, civics, current events, English, music, drawing, hygiene, spelling plus a few theories on teaching methods. Over the years, many more became teachers. A list of local people who have taught in the local schools follows. Some who taught elsewhere are included in another roster.
Orrin SnowEthel Smith Matheson
Jessie Reid BurgessMazie Reid Ashby
Laveta Harrison GibsonBliss Ivins Jones
Mildred Reid Ivins Laura Gubler Hendrix
Maggie Reid HendrixWinnie Frandsen Carter
Pearl Olpin WhiteheadAda Hammond Reid
Loraine Redd IvinsLaRue Snow Carter
Helen Carter GardnerMargaret Reid Oxborrow
Ione Hermansen GublerLillian Funk
Ivy Gubler AndersonTillie Gardner Goss
Zina Harrison WarderMargaret Piercy Gubler
Leonora Gardner PerryKarma Reid Lewis
John AdamsLouise Peterson Reid
Robert M. OxborrowSharon Doke
Kenneth McKenzie Mary Morley Harrison
Elinor S. GardnerJames Jensen
Alice Egbert HendrixDoris Shellenberger Hutchings