A History of NCCS


North Cow Creek School was first called Bell School after Mr. J.H. Bell who donated 2.7 acres of land for one dollar to the district for a school ground. By 1920 the name had been changed to North Cow Creek School. At that time there were about thirty-five students and one teacher. As a few of the students came from quite a distance, they rode horseback, so there were usually two or three horses tied at the back of the schoolyard every day. One teacher came in a horse-drawn buggy. If the teacher was not a local resident, they usually boarded with one of the families in the district.
The original building was roomy with a large front porch. There was a well on the porch with a hand pump for water. There was a big stage with a library on one side and an ante room or storage room on the other side. The school building was the center of all neighborhood functions, such as programs, parties, dances, and literaries furnished entertainment for all. Sunday school was held each Sunday. Basket socials were also enjoyed. This first building burned in the late 1930's.

Interview with Adair Boyle (85 years old) September, 2009

"There were about 12 or 13 students, all grades, one great big building with a big stage and a porch with a water pump. Mrs. Turner was the teacher. We had lots of programs which used the stage. The school burned because it was filled with cardboard boxes and they caught fire and luckily, most of the books and the desks were saved but not the building. So then I had to attend school in a tent for a month until school was out. We had to be in a woodshed in the fall until the building was rebuilt.
The neighbors got together and remodeled the wood shed for a school room. School was held in this room until a new building was erected in 1941. This was the first time North Cow Creek had indoor plumbing. As attendance was only about twenty students, one building was sufficient until the mid forties and then two teachers were hired. The lower grades were in the small room (woodshed) and the upper grades in the new classroom.

I remembered going to school with the Garrisons and the Chathams. We brought sack lunches to school. Of course, there was no air conditioning. We had a maypole dance at the Junction school where everybody met on the first day of May. The teacher made crepe paper dresses for all the girls to wear for the dance and we all had big crepe paper bows in our hair. 
All three of my daughters graduated from North Cow Creek. My husband, Carrol Boyle also graduated from North Cow Creek. His brothers all graduated from NCCS as well." - Adair Boyle attended North Cow Creek in the 1930's.

Article from the Cow Creek Chronicle (March 2004) by Olivia Mitchell

Pauline Miller
"My great grandma has something extra special about her. She was a teacher here at North Cow Creek School in the late 1940’s.
My great grandma’s name is Pauline Miller and she was born in 1910 in Carbondale, Illinois which makes her ninety-three years old. She was born and raised in Illinois and attended Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. Her  father worked there as a professor of Industrial Arts and her mom was an elementary school teacher. Her dad came from Denmark and her mom from New York State. She had three brothers that all graduated from Southern Illinois University, She wanted to be a teacher ever since her freshman year.
When she taught at NCCS, it was a one room classroom with kids in grades first through eighth. She taught English, literature, history, math and a little science and art. Not only did she teach almost every grade, she was also the principal. She also said what she liked best about the kids was that they didn’t need much discipline. There were no sports at the school at all. Although, when it was too hot they would have to take school outside. On snow days they already knew to stay home, but when it was cold, they had a girl that tended to the fire. My great grandma taught and was responsible for thirty-eight students, but when there got to be too many, they hired another teacher. Sometimes kids would forget their lunches so she always brought extra sandwiches. At school, the girls had to wear dresses and when punished they had to stay after school and clean the erasers and dirty windows.
She made only $1,500 a year.
Most of the time kids walked home or parents would pick them up but one pupil rode home on his horse. One of the school board members was the janitor. My grandma also taught school in the city of Shasta Lake.
She, her husband and their four children lived on a dairy farm where the house is still located on 299 East. Their dairy wasn’t successful, so they moved to San Jose. When they moved to San Jose she continued teaching. In all she spent nineteen years in teaching and retired in 1971. I have the opportunity to have her live with us every five weeks for two weeks. My mom’s family takes turns caring for her. I am so lucky to have my family history at my elementary school." (Mrs. Miller has since passed away and is very much missed by all her family)

Interview with Nola Shoup

"In the years 1951-52, there were two teachers in the whole school; one of them, Mary B. Harris also was the principal. These two teachers taught about 28 students in a classroom and a woodshed. The grades ranged from first to eighth. Only two eighth grade students graduated that year, two boys. A regular school day for the first to third graders lasted from nine o'clock until two o'clock. Fourth grade lasted until three-thirty. School started at the beginning of September and lasted to about the end of May. They had the normal school vacations like Christmas for two weeks, Labor day, Easter vacation (spring break), Veteran's Day, etc. They had the normal subjects like math, spelling, language, science, PE, and social studies which was combined with geography. The students had a very fulfilling education." - Nola Shoup
In the 1960's there again was a fire. The building was severely damaged but not burned to the ground. The remainder of that year the students were bussed to Palo Cedro and school was held in a two-room building that belonged to Millville Grange. When school started again in the fall, the building had been repaired and newly painted.

Former student 1981 graduate, Cheryl Blankenship:

"I had Mrs. Fischer, Mrs. Edwards,  Mr. Cropsey, Mrs Caesar, Mrs. Tinkler, Mr. Helm, Mrs Silva, Mrs Peterson. When I started at the school in May of 1974 as a first grader I was the 50th student at the school. That was back in the day when our moms made hot lunch 2 days a week and Mr. Jones was our Custodian, Mrs Goodman our Principal.  We, as girls, had designated Fridays we could wear pants. Kids that went to NCCS were bused to Junction for Kindergarten. 
It was always such a caring community.  When I tell my big city friends about my little country school, I share with them a story about being new to the school and the principal calling me to her office.  She asked me if I had had breakfast with my father that morning.  I said no, I didn't and went back to class.  It turns out a police officer with the same name as my father (Ron Blankenship) had been shot and they assumed it was my dad and rallied the troops to start bringing food to our home.  Fortunately I did not have breakfast with my dad because he was on a construction site in Alturas!
I still well up with tears when I think about each of us that went to school there when the gym was built getting to put our little handprints in the sidewalk that led to the gym/multipurpose room.
My dad built the ramp to the 2 room building.  He took the boards down from the side where the ramp would be and never letting anything go to waste, brought them home where we removed the blue/green paint and stained those boards, full of carvings of schoolchildren and pencil holes and used them as shelves in our home for years.
Thanks for the memories!" - Cheryl Blankenship
Later another building the same size was built back-to-back to the existing building and the same small building was no longer a classroom but was used for storage. Since that time many new classrooms and a library have been built as well as a gymnasium with kitchen facilities. A science lab and new 5th grade classroom were built. Today the science lab is the home school room.
A new non-permanent building was built in 1996 for the second grade class. In 2001 it was converted to the music/choir room. And in 2001 the room was again changed, and became the 5th grade classroom and the 6th grade classroom the following year.
In 1999, the Jones Valley Fire ripped through Palo Cedro and almost engulfed North Cow Creek in flames. But due to the bravery of three individuals - Rex McClung, Kyle Miller, and Mark Walcott - the school was saved. Only parts of the school property was damaged, mostly grass and a sign, and no buildings were lost. The fire did, however, burn down many nearby homes. See pictures of the fire at right.
In 2001, two brand-new classrooms were built for one 7th grade class and one 8th grade class. Along with the classroom came a new cement quad area with picnic tables and round benches that serve for sitting and to hold dirt for trees.
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