Historical Colorado Schools
This month’s cover school is the Malta School built in 1902. Set in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, it is located in Leadville, Colorado, in Lake County. Not much is recorded about the Malta School. The cover photo was taken from
behind the school and reveals a carriage house to the left. Todd Coffin, Maintenance
and Operations Manager for Lake County Schools, said the one-room wood frame
school has two coat closets just inside the front entrance. The section built on the
back of the school has a dirt floor and encloses two horse stalls, which sets it apart
from most other one-room schools. The carriage house provides only one stall. Coffin said the bell on the top of the building is believed to be the original bell. The Lake
County School District owns the school today and uses it for storage. Lack of funding
has prevented the Malta School from being restored and opened to the public.
When Colorado became the thirty-eighth state under President Ulysses S. Grant
on August 1, 1876, there were already 217 permanent school buildings scattered over
341 school districts. Most schools built during this time were rural one-room schoolhouses that were made of adobe, logs, wood frame, or local rock.
One of those schools was Gold Hill Elementary School in Boulder County, Colorado, which makes proud claim to being the oldest continuously operating school in
Colorado. Gold Hill was the site of the first major discovery of gold during the 1859
Colorado Gold Rush.
In the 1880s and 1890s new schools reflected the building style of that time. Some
notable elements were decorative pitched roofs, arched windows, pronounced cornices, and prominent towers. As the nineteenth century came to an end, rectangular
schools with prominent central entrances were being built. Educators from the Progressive Movement were working toward making education more widely available,
and rural school buildings were constructed with the goal of being useful to the
entire community for a wide variety of functions.
The City of Aurora has preserved the Coal Creek School built in the 1920s so that
children can learn more about what it was like to go to school in a farming community during that era. A wonderful video showing the school and talking about
its move can be found at this link: photos.denverpost.com/2011/03/29/historic-one-
Cover photo image provided by Dreamstime.com
• centrales.stvrain.k12.co.us/old/ index.html
Did you know that you can submit a photograph of a school for cover consideration? Send us several
dead-centered photos with natural surroundings. The front or front/side view is best. If we select
your photo, we will need a 9 x 11 photo, negative, or digital image (300 dpi). If your photograph is
used, we will pay you $50 and feature your name as cover photographer. Send a digital image of your
photograph to Publisher@TheHomeschoolMagazine.com. If you are unable to send a digital image,
mail your photograph and details about the school to Cover Photo Search, The Old Schoolhouse
Magazine, P.O. Box 8426, Gray, TN 37615. Be sure to include your name, email address, and phone