We saw this morning that Rapelje school is going to have their all-class 100-year reunion.

Historic Rapelje, Montana school building from 1920
Credit: Rapelje, Montana Facebook

So that triggered my interest in some of the oldest schools in Montana.

As far as colleges go Rocky Mountain college here in Billings was established in1878 making it the oldest college.

Rocky Mountain College in Billings MT
Credit: Google Maps

What about some of Montana's oldest elementary and high schools?

Well, the oldest school building left is in Twin Bridges. It was built in 1867 and is still standing.

Records show though that Nevada City had the oldest established school put into use in 1863.

To find the oldest continuously used school you have to go to Philipsburg. Its tall brick building with an iconic bell tower is still being used and was built in 1896.

Philipsburg, Montana school building
Credit: Philipsburg Public Schools Facebook

Most of the older one-room schoolhouses around the state have succumbed to time and weather.

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Many of them had living quarters in the back where the teacher would live and most early students only went thru the eighth grade. Most back then would work or get married shortly after since people only lived till they were 45-50.

One room schoolhouse example with desks set up facing teacher's desk
Credit: wwing, Getty Images

Years ago I had purchased some property from an older woman, a pioneer in her own right, who lived through the toughest of times. She too only went to school until the eighth grade but didn't finish. I was curious as to why and she told me that she had someone who wanted to buy her horse. It was 1932 and times were tough so she sold it at age 13, that was the end of school.

See you tomorrow at 5 a.m. for another lesson.

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