The other Washington School

Washington School, 1916–D.M. Durst Collection
While many residents of the Honey Lake Valley were familiar with Washington School in Susanville, there was another Washington School in Big Valley that was established in March 1872. On Wednesday, November 12, 1887, the first school was destroyed by fire. The roof caught on fire from a defective flue while school was in session. The fire was not discovered until burning embers started to fall through the ceiling. Fortunately, no one was injured during the evacuation. In addition, everything was saved except for five desks, and, of course, the wood stove. After the fire, classes were temporarily held in John Finley’s house. A new schoolhouse was completed in September 1888, though it wasn’t until October 1889 that the voters approved a $550 bond measure to pay for it. The school closed in 1938 for lack of students and the following year it was annexed to Bieber. In July 1939, A. Jack purchased the abandoned schoolhouse for $35.

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