School in this area was first begun in the year 1878, in a building at the Sanford Lyon home, located at that time at what is now 18763 U.S. Highway No. 99.
The first teacher was Miss Kate A. Caystile, the present Mrs. Boroff of San Fernando.
Lacking one pupil to total the necessary seven for the establishment of a school, (Mary) Betty Mitchell, whose home was in Soledad Canyon, at location of present Sulphur Springs School, was brought from her home to board with the Sanford Lyon family.
With the temporary absence of the Lyon family, a school was built in the town, the exact time not known, but believed to have been in 1879. Its site was the northeast corner of 9th and Walnut Streets. Of two story construction, the first floor was used as a classroom and the upstairs as a hall.
Earliest County records available are for the year 1879-80, showing the number of children for the district between the ages of 5 and 17 years as 53. The number of children between those ages who attended school at any time during the year was 13. Of this number, 9 were boys and 5 were girls [sic]. The average daily attendance was 7. School was maintained for a period of 6 and three-quarters months at a monthly salary of $75.00. Name of the teacher for the year was not given, but was listed as being a woman.
Valuation of school property was $1,050.00, with Mr. D.W. Fields as District Clerk.
In May 1890, a fire, originating in the process of weed destruction, razed the building. A residence at 719 Spruce Street was used as a substitute housing, while reconstruction went on at the school's previous site. When completed, the building's plan, though larger, was much as before. Classroom below and hall above. The Ninth Grade was maintained until approximately 1898 or 1899, after which time it was discontinued.
In the term of 1892-93 the School became two-room, with Mr. John Wright as Principal and Miss Grace Johnson, Assistant [sic: s/b Mary E. Johnson]. At this time enrollment was 60. Valuation of the school property was set at $3,250 and District Clerk for the year was Mr. John T. Gifford.
In the year 1902-03 (being ten years later) total enrolment was 48, with Alice R. Smith and Lucy R. Richards as teachers. Valuation of school property was given as $2,625.
This site being too small to allow for expansion, a new one was secured at the northwest corner of Newhall Avenue and Pico Road, and a frame building was erected there in 1911. This was also of two-story construction, with the number of rooms not known, possibly three. Mr. Baker is remembered as first principal.
After outgrowing itself, a new building of Class C construction, with concrete walls, was erected in 1926 and 1928 at an approximate cost of $60,000 at 1113 Walnut Street. It consisted of ten rooms, with an auditorium in addition, seating 340.
Four entire blocks being devoted to building and grounds, it is bounded by Walnut St. on the east, Newhall Avenue on the west and Eleventh and Thirteenth Sts. on the south and north.
For the second time in the school's history, fire, this time of undetermined origin, early on the morning of Feb. 14, 1939, levelled all but the north wing.
Two temporary buildings, hastily erected, served, together with the Woman's Club House and other small buildings on the school grounds for use during the balance of the term, students having half-time sessions.
During the summer vacation period, two further temporary accommodations were added and two remaining rooms of the old building renovated, enabling full-time classes to be resumed in the fall.
The new building erected at 1101 Walnut St. was occupied for the first time on May 10, 1940, and has six classrooms, offices, storage rooms, lavatories, nurses room and teachers' rest room, all of which is part of a ten-room plan.
Of modern school architecture, it is a Class A building of reinforced concrete and its cost is approximately $6,500.
Attendance in the grades is 277, and in the kindergarten, 21, with ten teachers in charge.
At present a school orchestra is conducted by one of the teachers daily, from 2:10 to 3:30 p.m.
Teachers lead in Girl Scout, 4-H Club and Cub Scout movements. Plans for a $55,000 auditorium with seating capacity of 700 are to be carried out, pending final arrangements with the W.P.A. authorities. Location for this is to be the north side of the recently completed school building.
Sources of information (June 6, 1940): Mr. L.C. Dalbey, Princ., Mr. Thomas Frew, Mrs. Sarah Gifford, Mrs. Pearl Pardee Russell, Mrs. Mabel Gifford Taylor, Mrs. Florence Powell Ziegler, Annual Reports of the Public Schools of L.A. County.
1. D.W. Fields was The Newhall Land and Farming Co.'s ranch manager.
2. John T. Gifford was the Southern Pacific station agent at Newhall.