Highlandlake School

Photo taken around 1900 showing six people working on the inlet ditch to Highland Lake. There is one woman and two boys including in the photos.
Highlandlake School 1877-1920
Pauli Driver Smith

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1880s class photo of students inside the Highlandlake school.The Highlandlake school had its beginnings in 1877 when L. C. Mead called a meeting, held in the Oviatt home, for the purpose of discussing a school district. By a voice vote of 23 - 0, it was decided to petition the County for a school district. The County obliged and School District 33 was formed later that year.

The first year, until the new schoolhouse could be built, school was held in the Hubbell home near the northwest shore of the lake, just south of what later became the Pioneer cemetery. Emma Hubbell was the first teacher. It was recorded in the June 12, 1953 reunion minutes, that "Emma Hubbell Shumway, the first teacher at the Highlandlake school (1877) passed away during the past year." (Reunion Records 1953-1980) For many years the Hubbell homestead was also known as the Art Anderson place. Art Anderson often related this story that he had heard as a small child.

In the spring of 1878, a cry went out and school was suddenly dismissed. The students joined the rest of the community in rushing out west of the lake to the unbroken prairie to watch a herd of buffalo pass by. As far as I can tell, this is the only time that buffalo were ever seen around Highlandlake. ~Art Anderson

The new schoolhouse was built on a half acre of land donated by Deacon George Davis for a school. This lot is located just north of the old red barn in the southeast curve of Weld County Road 5, (formally Main Street). Some of the old foundation stones are still there about 5 feet north of the barn.

In 1886 there was a series of fund-raisers to purchase a bell for the school. Mrs. Melissa Waite was actively involved in raising the funds as were other community members. The tower had already been built by July of 1886 by Mr. Frank Brown.

In December of 1886 the school enrollment was 43 students. By the turn of the century, the enrolled students had increased to nearly one hundred.

School sign from the Highlandlake School. This was the second sign after the school was merged into the Mead School system.In the fall of 1906, Paul Mead removed the newest schoolroom and moved it to the new town of Mead. It became part of the new two-room schoolhouse he built on the Corner of Palmer St. and what is now known as Weld County Road 7.

In about 1908, the Highlandlake School was consolidated with the Mead school. The elementary students from Highlandlake continued to attend the Highlandlake school through 4th grade and then went to Mead to finish their elementary schooling.

In 1913, the school district was pressing for further consolidation, and the campaigning to close the Highlandlake school permanently was in full swing. After classes closed for winter break in 1920, the end of an era also closed with them. When the children returned to school, it was to the large Mead Consolidated school in Mead.

The original Highlandlake one-room schoolhouse is now a preschool.Once the Highlandlake school officially closed, the original one room section of the schoolhouse was saved by the Brossman family and moved down the road to their home, where it was used for many years for storage and eventually a garage. In the 1990s, the building was converted into a preschool, thus bringing the old schoolhouse full circle once again. Today children come from all over the Mead area to attend this school, and their annual Christmas programs and graduations held in the Highlandlake Church draw crowds of proud parents and relatives. The rest of the schoolhouse was pushed into a pit, burned, and then covered with soil. Iron pieces from the old desks and benches are still occasionally heaved up by the frost, and a damaged, but still usable glass paperweight, is now in the collection of Historic Highlandlake.




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