LOCAL HISTORY PROJECT

Elementary School Series 6
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Balch Camp school on the Kings River looking west down the river. When P.G.&E. started the hydroelectric project on the Kings River a community of construction people sprang up at Balch Camp, making necessary a school. A small school still runs at Balch, part of the Sierra Unified School District. It became part of Sierra Elementary and then went with Sierra into unification. The building pictured was scrapped long ago. Today a two room school and teacher's residence exist at Balch.

circa: 1928

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A "set up" picture of the interior of the old Balch Camp School on the Kings River. The teacher and students are unidentified.

circa: 1928

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The Mechanicsville School at Humphreys Station. Humphreys used to be called Mechanicsville until the turn of the century and the school retained the name until it joined Sierra Elementary in the 1930's. The school was situated about where Blasingame Fire Station is today until the 1920's when it was dragged up to the top of Pitman Hill. It fell apart from old age and disappeared in the 1950's.

circa: 1921

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Mechanicsville School at Humphreys Station. This school was the most crudely built of all the mountain schools, as can be seen in these pictures of it. Some of the old boards have been replaced with new ones, giving the building a zebra-like appearance. This picture is looking north, the trees in the background marking the bed of Big Dry Creek. The day is some kind of celebration, possibly graduation, which explains the several cars.

circa: 1925

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The entire school population of Mechanicsville School at Humphreys Station in 1925. The girl second from the left, front row, is Amantha Smith. She was the step daughter of stage driver Jim Parish. She graduated from Sierra Elementary after Mechanicsville joined Sierra several years after this picture. The other students and teacher are unidentified.

circa: 1925

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Manzanita School on Lodge Road. It was located on Lodge Road about one mile north of the site of Sierra High School near today's Sierra Hills Baptist Church. The school had an impressive bell tower and also had a feature no other mountain schools had, canvas window coverings. When weather was bad, the windows were closed. When it was hot, they were opened. Behind the school in this picture is Backbone Mountain. Some sort of barn is behind the school, left.

circa: 1922

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Manzanita School on Lodge road. Here the school is stained dark red, making the canvas windows stand out. The school joined the Sierra Elementary District in the 1930's and the building was abandoned. Never a well built structure, it fell apart from disuse in the 1950's.

circa: 1922

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Manzanita School showing some signs of wear. On the left is a stand to support swings and a tether ball. The ladder allows people to access the roof and work on the bell.

circa: 1922

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Auberry Valley School. The area north of Marshall Station and along Wellbarn Road was called Auberry Valley. The school sat about three miles north of Marshall Station at a site later called the Squaw Leap dance hall. The dance hall was actually the third Auberry Valley School building, the first two having been destroyed by fire. In the 1980's the dance hall also burned down. The picture is from a glass plate and the line across the picture is a crack in the plate. A Fleming family picture.

circa: 1895

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A close up of the glass plate picture of the Auberry Valley School. The picture features some kind of celebration, probably graduation. Note the number of adults and dressed up students. Auberry Valley School was the best built of the early mountain schools, featuring a large roofed deck on three sides. Fancy woodwork and wooden playground equipment with a gazebo were also impressive features.

circa: 1895

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This project was designed and created by
Bud Olson and Dan Resciniti
©1998-2001