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.....The Cherry or Pratt School was the first to be held on West Cherry Creek. It is now a private residence. The school was built on land owned by the Gideon Pratt family. The building was completed in 1877 and was known a School District 20. The school had a flourishing literary society. Literary societies were intellectual organiztions for adults to get together in their neighborhood to discuss literature and socialize. The groups sponsored theatrical productions, held debates, did recitations and members occasionally held recitals of vocal music. Church services were also held at the Pratt School, as it was the only public building in the area.
.....The building burned in November of 1899 or 1911(sources vary). In 1912 another building was built, known as the Cherry School, which was open until 1952 when it consolidated with several other small schools to form Cherry Valley. A teacherage was built on the grounds in the 1940's, which was enlarged and used as a house at a later date.
Saves Children From Blizzard
.....The Jones brothers (fathers of the children
now stranded at the school without an adult) had gone to Denver on the train
to conduct some business. By the time they returned, they immediately headed
for the school, but the wagon got stuck and the horses had to be unhitched.
They walked with the horses to a nearby farm (Mr. Lambert's, who had offered
the ride to the children that had been refused) and borrowed a sleigh, hoping
that John had been able to get through from home and pick up the children.
He too had gotten his wagon stuck, and had been unable to reach them. The
Jones brothers reached the Pourprit farm (where the teacher was staying)
and spent the night, unable to reach the school.
.....Meanwhile, the children, when it became obvious that no one was coming to get them, had talked about starting to walk home, but decided to stay. They spent the night in the school, warmed by the stove and eating their leftover lunches. They melted snow for drinking water and had plenty of fuel for the stove, as well as their coats to keep warm. The next day, the men borrowed horses and carrying supplies, and reached the school. They found the children worried and hungry, but safe. Because there were no telephones, there was no way to get a message home to tell the women that the children were safe, so they continued to spend what must have been an extremely tense day and night waiting for word of the family. John, who had spent the night at home, finally made it to the school that day as well, but since the weather was still horrible, the whole group was forced to stay at the school another night. Because there was no barn at the school, the 2 horses that hadn't run away came inside with them The next day, the group walked back to the house, cutting across fields and walking on crusty snowdrifts. They made it home safely, and another community shaping event was remembered in the West Plum Creek Area. The story shows how hazardous snowstorms could be in rural areas. Schools were generally kept unlocked and well stocked throughout the winter in Douglas County, in case just such a snowstorm came up. School was closed at Cherry for six weeks following this storm.
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