Parker Consolidated K-12 School
Location: From Mainstreet and Parker Road, drive east on Mainstreet for .21 miles to the schoolhouse at 19650 E. Mainstreet. It is now called Mainstreet Center.
The Parker Consolidated School (District 37) was built in 1914-15 to provide more room for the expanding Pine Grove School population, as well as to consolidate it with the Plainfield and Allison Schools. One of the principal contractors for the construction was William H. O’Brien of Parker. The site for the new school, on 1.15 acres, was obtained from Emma C. Lewis in November of 1914. Water was supplied to the facility by a well. Restroom facilities were two outhouses; a boys’ and a girls’, out back of the main building. They did not have electricity for the school until 1924 when an offer was made by Andrew Johnson, the local bank president, to hook them up to the Ruth Memorial Church generator next door. Mr. Johnson had donated the generator so that the church would have electricity and in anticipation of making the offer to the school sized the generator accordingly.
In addition to the school building, two outhouses and a combustible waste incinerator, the school property also contained a bus barn on the west side of the property. The barn housed the two school bus wagons and we presume the two horse teams that pulled the wagons. In January of 1925 the school board sold the old bus barn for $125, and the wagons for $750 and $850. Mechanized conveyances were coming to the fore at that time.
The school was built for grades one through twelve. In the first few years, high school classes were taught, but it was not until 1920 that a two-year accredited program of instruction at the high school level was established in vocational agriculture, shop practice, & domestic science and art. Finally, in 1924, a four-year program was established. However, it would not be until 1936 that the school would be given full academic accreditation on a provisional basis, and only in 1939 did the accreditation became permanent.
When the school opened it housed two grades to each room on the first floor for the elementary classes. The high school classes, an office, and an auditorium took up the second floor. In the 1940s overcrowding forced the housing of three elementary grades to a room on the first floor, and the moving of grades 7 & 8 to the second floor. The chemistry and typing rooms were moved to the first floor.
In October of 1925 the basketball court was lighted and buzzer bells installed throughout the school. Gravel tennis courts were installed in May of 1928. Sports, band, and pep club were a large part of the high school experience. Baseball, softball, basketball, track, band, and pep club were the main focus of student and parental extracurricular participation. Parents followed their team with great enthusiasm. In those days, activity buses were to be a thing of the future, so parents hauled their team members around the state in private vehicles to play away games. In the early days the basketball team did not have an indoor facility to play games, so most games were played at other schools. Their practice area was an outdoor court behind the school. Some improvement occurred when one of the old railroad warehouses became available for play, but many a splinter was obtained by players falling on the old wooden floors. One year the team used the second story of the old Deepe Hall building to play in. These poor facilities led to the drive to build an auditorium, which was accomplished with the building of the Community Center in 1950-51. The highlight of the sports programs occurred in 1953-54 when Parker played in the Bears Stadium in Denver and won the State High School Baseball Championship.
The first year for girls’ basketball was the 1940-41 school year. Six-man football was added to the sports program in 1955-56. The teams were known as the Buffalos and originally the school colors were green and white. However the school colors were changed in 1951-52 to blue and white.
Other school activities included the school newspaper and the annual staff. The newspaper was originally called the Foghorn, but changed its name in 1938 to the Plainsman. The first school annual was put out in 1937. The annual was initially called Le Resume, but in 1951-52, it changed to the Buffalo.
In 1958 the school board sent the high school students to Castle Rock for classes. The school was remodeled in 1960 to accommodate growth, but was closed for school purposes in 1966.
In 1970 the building was purchased by the United Methodist Church. During their ownership a large addition was made to the south end of the main building. The Methodist Church outgrew the building and in 1996 committed to the construction of a new building in the south end of town. The old school building, the Ruth Memorial Church, and the old church parsonage, were sold to the Town of Parker. In 1997 the town turned the old school into a town cultural center, and provided space on the second floor for the Parker Area Historical Society to open a Historic School Classroom and a small history museum.
Information for this brief was obtained from various articles in Record Journal, school records, and A Guide to Historic Sites in the Parker Area by Frank B. McLaughlin.
This building has been landmarked by the Town of Parker. It can be rented for events through the Town of Parker's cultural department, Parker Arts. Rentals cannot be arranged through the Parker Area Historical Society.
This brief updated in October 2015.