Tales from the Tread: Fly Gulch School doors to reopen | SteamboatToday.com

Tales from the Tread: Fly Gulch School doors to reopen

Karla Setter/For the Steamboat Today

Fly Gulch School is a historic one-room schoolhouse sitting on the picturesque Strawberry Park Elementary School campus.

As with many of Routt County's one-room schoolhouses, Fly Gulch School's history is rich. The building's original 1917 location was about 10 miles northwest of Steamboat Springs near the junction of Routt County Roads 44A and 44.

Locals remember stories about students skijoring behind horses to the schoolhouse and back home again. Social gatherings were important in the lives of surrounding neighbors, so the school building also held meetings, plays, parties, dances and other events. Sometime after the consolidation of Fly Gulch School District with Steamboat Springs in 1949, the schoolhouse was converted into a granary.

After many years of storing grain, in 1992, an enthusiastic group of teachers and community members saved the schoolhouse and teacherage (living quarters for the teacher) by moving the two buildings to the Strawberry Park Elementary campus.

Volunteers rehabilitated the schoolhouse true to its historic characteristics and refurbished the interior with time-period-specific desks, school books and an organ.

For many years, it was used as a rural one-room schoolhouse interpretive display, and elementary students visited the schoolhouse for Routt County history lessons.

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Although the Steamboat Springs School District has invested in the schoolhouse upkeep, moisture issues in the schoolhouse require mitigation and foundation work. The building has not been habitable for students and other community visitors for many years now.

Local teachers Anna White and Lisa Adams are leading an initiative to reclaim the schoolhouse as a teaching tool to create a place for people to truly engage in local history. Strawberry Park Elementary teachers plan to engage students in kindergarten through fifth grade in local history projects including an interactive timeline within the Fly Gulch School.

The Tread of Pioneers Museum is eager to offer educational programs in the schoolhouse to students, community members and tourists.

White explained the impetus for this project: "Students in our school are growing up in a valley with rich history, and we want them to know where they are from. When all students know the history of their community, they have more reasons to then care for their spaces, get involved in local organizations in the future and feel a sense of belonging."

The school district has raised $42,214 for costs to preserve the schoolhouse but still needs to raise $2,500 more by the end of January for summer 2015 construction.

If you feel passionate about preserving this gem of Routt County history and bringing local history to life for children and community, consider a tax deductible donation to the Fly Gulch School effort.

If you have questions about this project or about making a donation, contact Karla Setter at 970-871-3170 or ksetter@ssk12.org. Donations can be sent to Steamboat Springs School District, Attn: Karla Setter, 325 Seventh St., Steamboat Springs, CO 80487.

We will be delighted to acknowledge you as a contributor to this important local history project.

Karla Setter is a grant writer for the Steamboat Springs School District.