Tuesday, May 30, 2023

History of Sylvanite School recalled by longtime resident

| February 22, 2007 11:00 PM

To the Editor:

I keep reading about Sylvanite School being 110 years old. I know this is not true. Maybe the district is that old, but not the existing school.

The first school was built in and around the late 1800's or the early 1900's. There was a thriving town there that they named Sylvanite and they got that name from a scholar who happened to live there at the time.

This community needed a school for the large amount of children there, so they got together and established a district. Then they built a much-needed school.

This little town was not as small as some people thought. At one time Sylvanite was about 12,000 people and children. Not where it is now, but down the road from the existing one.

If anyone wants to find the truth about this community, they can look up the old records in the courthouse, or look at the old school records, if they still exist.

The fire in 1910 swept down from Canada and destroyed everything in its path. The town of Sylvanite no longer existed.

Some of those who lived came back and started over, but it was not the same. Many just disappeared because they couldn't accept the fact they had lost everything they had.

The first school was down the road from where it is now. It was built by the miners about a mile down the road from where the first ranger district house stood.

If anyone wants to find out for themselves they can trample the area like my husband and our children have done.

The miners got together again and built a school, but ran out of funds to rebuild they way that it had been.

My husband and his siblings had to walk a couple miles to Seventeen Mile bridge to a very small log cabin that they turned into a school for several years, until two brothers came to the area and bought land from the mining company. They built a sawmill and they too had school age children who needed to be educated, so these two brothers gave some land to the school district to have a school.

They not only donated the land but all of the lumber from their mill to build the schoolhouse that was badly needed. They did not have inside plumbing at that time for the school or the homes that were built for the mill workers and family.

In 1960 my husband was named chairperson of he school district. The guys started to find out where the water run off was coming and they did. They dug ditches to bring water down the mountain. They worked hard that year to bring water to the homes and the school.

While my husband was chairperson of the district they put inside plumbing to the school.

So you see, this school building could not be 110 years old. I'm certainly not that old and I was there for years. My children grew up there as did their father. The teacherage is not as old as the schoolhouse is.

Lois Albert