Elbert County, Colorado History and Genealogy

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The West Lincoln School

West Lincoln School District #42, located about three miles west of the town of Elbert, was formed in 1909. The district built a small structure to house the school on an acre of land donated by Ed Clark. As more people moved into the community, it became necessary to build a larger schoolhouse. Local builder Jens Olkjer built the existing schoolhouse in 1913 and it was first used during the winter term of 1913-1914, better known as the year of the “Big Snow.” Bernice Gresham Roberts recalled walking on snow over the tops of the fences to get to school her first year of school.

The names of the students reflected the family names of the community: Gresham, Hoover, Murray, Brazelton, Clark, Gatewood, Dietrich, Squires and Dittemore. The second generation of the Gresham, Squires, and Murray families also attended the West Lincoln School.

The schoolhouse was the center of the Lincoln community. Dances, box lunches, and political rallies were held at the school. A literary society formed and a Sunday School met at the schoolhouse for a time.

West Lincoln School closed in 1945 and the students started going to the Elbert School.

The one-room West Lincoln School provided an education for 125 children over a time period of thirty-six years. The careers and lives of the students testify to the solid base of education they received. These included a college president and professor, an elementary school teacher and school principal, a county commissioner, a postmaster, a pilot, an insurance agent, and farmers and ranchers.


  1. Your description of the West Lincoln School could apply to so many similar schools of the time, Gayle! I remember reading of the literary society and the box lunches as I transcribed my mother's high school diary. The photo in your "header" is absolutely beautiful. I love your new blog and am proud to be your first follower!!!

  2. Thanks, Becky! This is the school that 2 generations of my father-in-law's family attended. It is very special to our family.