Community works to ensure school remains center of community

Sublette Historical Society photo The Daniel School was built in 1920 and was used until 1939 when School District No. 8 was combined with Pinedale School District No. 1. The building is 28 feet by 56 feet. 100 years and still used as a community center. The picture shows the school around 1935.

When you list an event at the Daniel Community Center, there’s no need to post its address at 18 Schoolhouse Lane, Daniel. Built 100 years ago, people from hundreds of miles know it as a com- mon gathering place, a school and a place of fond memories and major life events.

Located in the center of Sublette County, the school house doesn’t split the county north or south – instead it serves as a cen- tral gathering location for all Sublette County residents.

According to information from the Sub- lette County Historical Society, the Daniel School was constructed in 1920 by A.F. Atwood, General Contractor and Builder, from Big Piney.

Known for its location between Green River to the north and Horse Creek to the south, the area was also the location of sev- eral historic Green River Rendezvous that took place before 1840.

When the school was built, the county only had a few large ranches spread out. Providing Sublette County’s children an education was challenging due to poor transportation and long winters. One-room schools were created to serve a few nearby ranches. Classes were often taught in bunk- houses or other adapted buildings, or in small one-room log schools that could be easily moved from one location to another as needed.

As the region became settled, more sub- stantial permanent school buildings were constructed.

Larger schools were built at Big Piney, Pinedale and in the smaller communities of Boulder, Calpet and Daniel. A modest fa- cility, the new schoolhouse was a substan- tial improvement over the one-room log school that it replaced.

Although Daniel had a population of less than 100 people in 1920, the School Board of Directors advertised for sealed bids in the Big Piney Examiner for the construc- tion of a new school at Daniel in July 1920. The advertisement called for the building of a frame schoolhouse measuring 28 feet by 56 feet with two rooms, a shingled roof, lathed and plastered on the interior, a brick chimney and a cement foundation. A box supper was held in September, and a large sum of money was raised to purchase desks for the school, still under construction.

In the school year of 1921-1922 a musi- cal party was hosted at the school in March in order to raise money to pay for what was still owed on a piano bought for the school. The orchestra, directed by Daniel storekeeper Elwood W. Albert, had a piano, trombone, comb, coronet, drum, flute and cymbals.

The Daniel School was one of only four rural schools in Sublette County to meet

By Holly Dabb, [email protected]

Sublette HiStorical Society pHoto

The Daniel School was built in 1920 and was used until 1939 when School District No. 8 was combined with Pinedale School District No. 1. The building is 28 feet by 56 feet. 100 years and still used as a community center. The picture shows the school around 1935.

room for social functions. The building is situated facing east on a concrete founda- tion. The exterior walls are covered with narrow clapboard siding and cornerboards. There is a shallow gable-roofed closed porch centered in the east with twin wood paneled doors that form the main entrance. There is a tall rectangular bell tower with wood louvres and capped with a wood spire centered over the closed porch and entrance. The bell is still in place in the bell tower.

A gable-roofed open porch was added to the east side of the closed porch sometime after 1973. This is the only significant ex- terior alteration from the original design. The roof of the open porch is surfaced with wood shingles and is supported with thin square wooden columns. The window openings remain the same, but the windows have been changed to

One hundred years later, the structure has only had minor changes and looks much the same as it did in 1920. An open extension was added to the original closed front porch. Interior paneling and a lower false ceiling with new lights were added in 1974. In the process, the north windows were covered and the south windows al- tered to accommodate kitchen cabinets.

Finally, bathrooms and a new bell were added in 2001. The original hardwood floor has been retained along with some of the original trim and wooden baseboards. A portion of the original blackboards remains on the west wall.

The Daniel School is used today for many community events and activities including wedding receptions, elections and funeral receptions. At least one Pine- dale Elementary teacher used to take her students on field trips to the Daniel School and hold classes there to give them a one- room school experience of a bygone era. The Aniel Daniel Chili Cookoff, first held at the Green River Bar in 1982, is now held the first weekend in April at the Daniel School. The Old Timers’ Picnic, first held at the David Ranch in 1980, is now held the third Sunday in July each year at the Daniel School.

This year, a Centennial Reception is planned for July 18.

Timeline

1920 – Schoolhouse built

1939 – Last days used as a school- house (for the first time).

1940 (fall) – Students were bussed to Pinedale.

1956 – Schoolhouse deeded to the Daniel Homemakers’ Club

1974 – The homemakers, also known as the Daniel Do Mores and the Daniel Dandies 4-H Club, rewired the building, replaced windows remodeled kitchen to add cabinets.

1978 – Homemakers became a com- munity club no longer affiliated with 4-H and become a nonprofit.

1979 – Property deeded to Daniel Homemaker’s Club.

1982 – Club opens membership to men.

1990 – The schoolhouse was added to the National Register for Historical Places selected because it was in good shape and “unique architecturally.”

The original advertisement in the Big Piney Examiner calling for bids to build the school.

2020 – Community Center celebrates Centennial as is used for public events and rented out for events. Base fee $25 an hour, tables $50, chairs $75.

state requirements for standard schools. Big Piney and Pinedale also met the require- ments, but were considered urban schools. In 1938, Jerome Deveraux, superintendent of District No. 9 schools in and around Big Piney, conducted a survey of rural schools in Sublette County for his master’s thesis from the University of Wyoming using sta- tistics gathered in 1936.

At the time of the survey, the Daniel School had 20 pupils’ desks, two teachers’ desks, blackboards, a library, a coal stove for heat, individual drinking cups for water, artificial lights and swings and seesaws in a fenced playground. The building had an

estimated value of $1,500, $100 worth of furniture and $250 worth of books.

Consolidation brought an end to the Daniel School. Starting with the 1939-1940 school year, District No. 8 was incorpo- rated into District No. 1, and Daniel pupils were transported to Pinedale for classes. The Daniel School stood abandoned for years until the Daniel Homemaker Club, or Daniel Do Mores, acquired it. This commu- nity organization repaired and remodeled the building.

The interior of the Daniel School was divided into two rooms by a moveable par- tition and was easily converted to one large

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