Brief by Central Staff
History – January 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine
The old Valley View School, a few miles west of Salida on County Road 140, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. This makes it eligible for grant money to assist with restoration to put it back into use as a school — an alternative high school.
Valley View started in 1904 as the typical one-room eight-grade country schoolhouse, complete with a teacherage, privies, and playground equipment.
There weren’t school buses in those days, so school districts were small, and the schools were built within walking distance (Wendell Hutchinson, profiled in the March 2003 edition of Colorado Central, walked with his brothers to Valley View, about a mile from the homestead). Thus there were more than 30 school districts in Chaffee County before consolidation.
Valley View had as many as 42 students at one time; there were 11 when it closed in 1942 and its students went elsewhere. The property was sold to private parties, and eventually it was owned by the late Roberta Koenig, a teacher.
Her estate representative, George Richardson, wanted it preserved, but also wanted to donate it to the school district. The district worked with Historic Salida, Inc., to get the National Register designation, which will make it easier to get grants for restoration.
No timetable has been announced, since the first step, after the property is transferred, is to determine what needs to be done to restore the building and come up with some cost estimates.