#Lookback: The Many Schools Of Dubois

    The main challenge of education in a rural community before the advent of widespread cars, paved roads, and school buses was making a place for students to learn that they could get to.  Dubois has always been a relatively rural community, with few students and large distances between them.  

    In the past, rural and ranching communities would compensate for the difficulty in educating the region’s children in several different ways.  Teachers would sometimes be hired by a specific ranch, tasked with teaching all the children on the ranch.  In other circumstances, children and a parent would go live somewhere with available education, such as Lander or Riverton.  A four-year high school was not available in Dubois until 1940, and many parents wishing for their children to receive a full high school diploma would send them to Lander or Riverton to receive it.

    Another solution, one settled on by many people around Dubois, was to designate a schoolhouse between a few ranches and hire out a teacher for some months, children riding in on horseback or walking through the snow.  Some of these schools were closer to town, such as the Green School, McMichael School, first grade school, and White School, while others were built nearby ranches with children, such as the Boedeker School, Jakey’s Fork School, Torrey Creek School, Circle School, tie camp schools, and Cross School.

    One schoolhouse illustrates the many purposes these buildings often fulfilled.  Up Horse Creek, a schoolhouse known as the Tinkle School was built, replacing the previous schoolhouse in the vicinity.  It was eventually replaced by the Boedecker School around 1917.  Eventually, the Tinkle schoolhouse was moved down to Dubois proper, where it opened in 1925 as the first high school in Dubois, teaching around twelve students Latin, American History, English, Algebra, and Geometry.  Following the construction of new school buildings, the old Tinkle schoolhouse was abandoned.  When Esther Mockler worked to establish a Dubois library, the old schoolhouse was converted into the area’s first library building.  The library soon outgrew the tiny schoolhouse, and a stone building was built to replace it.  After years of neglect, the schoolhouse was acquired by the Dubois Museum, where it now sits as testament to the many schools and schoolhouses in the Dubois area.

    (Picture Caption) First Dubois High School, 1927.  Left to right: George Green, Edwin Wright, Warren Beck, Evelyn Dinger, George Leseberg

    Next up for the Fremont County Museum

    August 26, TBA at the Dubois Museum, “Kids Corner: A Closer Look at the Night Sky” Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

    August 26, 9-2pm at the Riverton Museum, “J.B. Okie Manor Adventure Trek” Wind River Visitors Council Adventure Trek Series

    August 29, 9-2pm at the Dubois Museum, “Lake Louise Nature Trek” Wind River Visitors Council Adventure Trek Series

    August 30, 7pm at the Dubois Museum, “Music at the Museum: Packin’ The Mail

    December 2022-October 2023 at the Pioneer Museum, “Wind River Memories: Artists of the Lander Valley and Beyond” art exhibition

    Call the Dubois Museum 1-307-455-2284, the Pioneer Museum 1-307-332-3339 or the Riverton Museum 1-307-856-2665 for detail regarding their programs.

    The Wind River Cultural Centers Foundation has been created to specifically benefit The Dubois Museum, the Pioneer Museum in Lander and the Riverton Museum.  The WRCCF will help deliver the long term financial support our museums need to flourish.  In the current economic environment, the museums are more reliant than ever on donations from the private sector to continue to provide the quality programs, collections management, exhibits and services that have become their hallmark over the last four years.  Please make your tax deductible contribution to be used specifically for the benefit of the museum of your choosing by sending a check to Wind River Cultural Centers Foundation at PO Box 1863 Lander, WY 82520 or taking it directly to the museum you choose to support.  

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