Soap Creek Schoolhouse
Our cover school is the Soap Creek Schoolhouse, located in Soap Creek Val- ley, just 8 miles north of Corvallis in central-western Oregon. The one-room schoolhouse was built in 1935, during the Great Depression, and remained
in use until 1946. When it was constructed, schools were built close together to accommodate children who walked to school. The building boasts a wood-burning
stove, an outdoor spring for water, a bell tower with a rope, and a bell that can still
be heard across the valley. As was typical of schools from this era, the local residents
frequently made use of the building for community activities.
Soap Creek resident Pete Johnson built the school with a mixture of new and used
materials. This building is the third schoolhouse that was built on the site. Mr. Johnson followed the common design principles for schoolhouses at that time: a main
room flanked by a row of south-facing windows. Soap Creek School also has a front
and back porch and two coatrooms with storage shelves. Currently there are a few
student desks and tables inside the building. The school is maintained and managed
by the Soap Creek Schoolhouse Foundation. In addition, the Foundation seeks to increase awareness and appreciation for the history of Soap Creek Valley and to restore
the schoolhouse to its original appearance.
Prior to the building of the Soap Creek Schoolhouse, students in the area had to
walk or ride to the Tampico School. Charles Hindes and his family moved to Soap
Creek in 1928 and had to walk 3. 8 miles each way to the Tampico School. Hindes
recalls that the second year they went to Tampico School, a neighbor put a wooden
box over the bare chassis of his Model T truck to serve as a school bus, and Charles
enjoyed that much more than the walk in rain or shine.
Soap Creek, Oregon, was closely associated in its early days with the small town
of Tampico in Benton County. Situated in a narrow protected valley, the two towns
were homesteaded in the 1840s and were considered to be “rough” places. By the
time Soap Creek School was built, the town of Tampico no longer existed and people
considered Soap Creek to be a friendly, tight-knit community.
The Soap Creek Schoolhouse Foundation hosts a website full of more information
about the history of the area, the school, and the Foundation at soapcreekschool
house.org. The Foundation allows Soap Creek residents and members of the Foundation to use the building for small meetings of local interest.
Did you know that you can submit a photograph of a school for cover consideration? Send us several
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