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The Ross Lake School District No. 4487

Heritage of the High Country
A History of Del Bonita and Surrounding Districts,
Pages 152 - 153

In the 1920's six sections of land on the west brow of Milk River Ridge was opened for settlement. This brought about twelve families into that area. Their closest school was Jefferson. In 1930 the people of the area petitioned the Department of Education, and Ross Lake School District No. 4487 was established on April 1, 1930, with Mrs. L. Smith, whose address was Woolford, as senior trustee. The school was named after Ross Lake which was a few miles away. The district comprised the following lands: Section 31, and that portion of Section 30 lying north and west of the north branch of the Milk River in Township 1, Range 22; Sections 25, 26, 33-36, north half of Section 27, northeast quarter of Section 28, in Township 1, Range 23; Sections 6, 7, south half of Section 18, in Township 2, Range 22; Sections 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, 12, south half and northeast quarter of Section 4, east half of Section 9, south halves of Section 13, 14, 15, southeast quarter of Section 16, in Township 2, Range 23, all west of the fourth meridian.

The school, a sixteen by twenty foot structure, was located on the N.W. of Section 3, T-2, R-23, W4th. Some of the men who worked on the building included John Woolford, Harold Westfall, Cy Westfall, Holgar Stahr, Frank Johnson, Will Taylor, Alvin Vance, Heber Sheffield, and Hans Stahr. School opened the first part of September 1930 even though the building wasn't quite finished. The first teacher was Miss Theodore from Coutts. There were eleven students, namely Elena (Molly) Smith; Tomene and Priscilla Woolford; Lawrence and Leland Vance; Mary and Betty Woolford; Delmar Westfall; Adra, Myron, and Philip Taylor. There was no fence around the school yard in 1930. The only saddle horse brought was the one ridden by Miss Theodore and Molly Smith.

The establishment of Ross Lake School made it possible for all the students except Molly Smith to walk to school. Will Taylor said, "I've finally lived in this country long enough to see the last of my family walk to school. " The Johnny Woolfords, who had formerly moved to Cardston for the school months, were able to stay home and send their family to school. The building was used for community activities, such as card games and dances.

The second teacher, Muriel Matkin, taught Ross Lake School 1931-32, Rachel Low 1932-33 and Mary Hegenberg 1933-34. Some of the later teachers were Greta Carlson, Marvella Duce, Leila Rice and Jean Keeler.

In 1934 the school was moved to a more central location on the top of the hill on the S.W. Section 2, T.-2, R-23, W4th, where it still stands. A basement was dug and the building was enlarged.

On October 3, 1936 the Ross Lake School District No. 4487 was included in Subdivision No. 3 of the St. Mary's River School Division No. 2.

In 1941 Ross Lake School was closed and the children were vanned to Jefferson School .

On October 23, 1941 approval was given to dispose of the school house located on the school grounds of the district. Sam West purchased it. Like so many rural schools, it was used for a granary.

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Mary Tollestrup