Wednesday, July 25, 2007

New Solum School District

We know from pieces of information that the New Solum Township had five schools. Let's try to piece these scraps of information together to get a better feel for what they were like. We know that Columbus School as we know it, still stands and is used as a town hall.


New Solum District 34 was organized in 1886. The first building was located near where the Soo Line Railroad track and the Lilac Ridge Road are now, this became known as Columbus School. Half of the school year was held in this building and the other half was held in the Tollof Groseth homestead cabin in Section 28 . . District 34 was comprised of Sections 28,29,30,31, 32, 33 and 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 in the Strip. As you can see, we really DO need a map!

A new school was built in the southwest corner of Section 28 in the summer of 1896 at a cost of about $200.00, with several donations of material and labor. The new building was located to the west of the present building and served until the summer of 1923, when it was sold to a man named Carlson for $173.75. He moved it to Section 1, Viking Strip, where it was used as a living house for a while. No sign of this building remains, the stone foundation was found when the land was cleaned up in the late 1970's.

The present building was built in 1923 by Benhard Ranum and Ted Thompson at the total cost of $2,800.00. It was financed with State Bonds for $2,400.00 and the remaining $400.00 was borrowed from John Halvorson. (according to the newspaper, it was in 1931).

The original West School House was used until 1907, when a new building was built in the northeast corner of Section 31. This origin of the first building is not known to author. A 10' x 10' shanty
and new chimney were added in 1892. The school was torn down in 1907, as Thomas Eide was paid for hauling used lumber to the new site.
The new West School was built by Ole P. and Jens Johnson with the total cost of lumber and labor around $600.00. This building was sold to Gordon Elseth in 1945 for $425.00. He moved it to Newfolden and it is now the home of Keith Rud.

The school name, Columbus, was chosen by the students in the 1920's. District 34 operated continuously with half the term in each school building from 1886 until 1943, when the school board couldn't find a teacher. This was partly due to World War II. They then paid tuition and transportation to Newfolden School, until the spring of 1951, when they joined the Newfolden and Viking District.

At a special meeting on April 4,1951, John Thompson made a motion to sell the East building to New Solum Township for $150.00. Since the vote was unanimous, we still have it for the town hall. Does this seem to mean the school was called East, West, AND Columbus?

Mike Johnson states, "The records for District 34 are complete and in good shape. They are kept in the township fireproof file and anyone needing information is welcome to inspect them, as they are public property."
For those of you on a search for information regarding schools, take this information into consideration. Let's hope the school records for the ancestor's you search for are, indeed, preserved.
And I bid each of you good old golden rule days.

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