Southwest Fargo. The history of these two communities is relatively short. School District No. 6, of which these two communities are a part, was organized some ten years after the Civil War.
Sheyenne Street and 13th Ave
Operated From 1910 to 1923
The records show the original minutes of the organization meeting held October 9, 1876 at the home of Mr. Arthur Deacon. The minutes read as follows:
"Minutes of meeting held at Mr. Deacon house Oct. 9, 1876 for the formation of school district No. 6 in Cass County, the following officers were elected by majority. G. Fromke - Treasurer for three years. C. Farrell - Director for one year. A.A. Deacon - Clerk for two years. Voted to put school house on the northwest quarter 17, township 139, range 49 if the land could be procured. A.A. Deacon, clerk of said meeting on October 17, 1876."
The above board procured from a treasurer's bond the sum of $500 for the construction of a new school. Lumber was purchased from a Mr. White for $209.38 and hardware for the new building from a Mr. Porrits for $3.55. The records show that the lumber was hauled to the place of construction by several of the farmers in the community, and that a number of them helped in the actual building of the school. The location of this first school for School District No. 6 is on the land now occupied by the West Fargo MeritCare.
On Jan. 1887, Miss Nina Hall was hired to teach for a term of two months, beginning January 3. Compensation was to be 40 dollars and her board was to be paid by the district.
The first report indicates that there were sixty-one children in the district. Of these, only 14 (11 males and three females) attended school. This was before the day of any compulsory attendance law such as we have now and, apparently, only a few took advantage of the short school term offered. It is also interesting to note that the ages of the pupils in these days were much higher than they are today.
Built about 1923-24
Today a child graduates from the eighth grade at an average age of fourteen. The records show that a high percentage of the pupils of that day were from 17 to 20 years of age.
Summer terms, too, were often held for a period of three months, beginning May 1. The winter terms usually began the first part of November and usually ran for four months.
This first school was large enough to handle the pupils of the district until 1910 when it became necessary to build the Fairview School in the western part of the district. The two schools continued to operate until 1923.
With the coming of the Farmers Cooperative Packing Company, it became necessary to improve the facilities for education in West Fargo. A brick building, later known as the North School, was erected and had two classrooms and a gymnasium. It soon became necessary to make classrooms in the gymnasium due to the need for room. School was held in this manner until the fall of 1933 when the board had to think about building a new addition. In the fall of 1934, construction of this addition was begun and it was completed during the year. This addition provided for four more classrooms, which, under ordinary circumstances, would have provided ample room for some years to come.
With the coming of the Union Stockyards and an increased tendency for the employees of Armour & Co. to live out here, the board was again faced with a shortage of room in 1938. At that time the Fairview School was moved onto the North School property to provided an extra classroom.
Addition about 1933-34One year later, in 1939, the board was again faced with the same shortage and they decided to build a new facility some distance from the original school built in West Fargo. Today this building serves as the Clayton Loden Community Center & Public Library; however, in 1939 it housed grades 7-12.
An architect was consulted and conferences were held with the Works Projects Administration, and it was agreed that a building of monolithic concrete construction would lend itself best to the labor that was available. Armour & Company agreed to take care of sewage disposal. Work on the sewer was begun in February but the actual construction did not begin on the building until May 1939.
This briefly summarizes the history of the district. Much could be added concerning all the people who so faithfully promoted the cause of education in this district and community. It is to be hoped that the results of these facilities can be a worthy answer to their untiring efforts.
***Information compiled by Monica Spier***