Rittenhouse Elementary School

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SchoolhouseIn 1924, construction of a new schoolhouse began on Ellsworth Road, one-half mile north of Rittenhouse.   Classes were being held in an old cook shack that had once been used by muleskinners to clear the land.

The new school, to be named after Charles Rittenhouse, would be a three room U-shaped building, constructed of Arizona red brick with white trimmed transomed windows.  The oak floors were tongue and groove, and the blackboards were real slate. Two roll-down room dividers separated the three rooms, and a small stage was equipped with an abbreviated fly loft.

In 1936-37, restrooms and two more classrooms were added to the rear of the existing building.  The first heat was by steam from a boiler room under the floor with radiators in the rooms.  The rooms were then equipped with oil heaters, but these were later replaced with gas heaters hung from the ceilings.

Side view of schoolhouseThe school was placed on the Arizona Historical Registry in 1990, accepted by the National Register of Historical Places in 1998, and is undergoing restoration by the Society.[1]

Volunteers are needed to help with electrical, plumbing, woodworking, painting, landscaping and fundraising projects, in an effort to restore the building into a showplace for the community.  A thrift store is currently providing a useful service for the community.  Donations and volunteers are welcome.

Photos by Dave Salge, 12/01

Excerpts from the following were used for this article:

[1] Queen Creek: A History by Sue Sossaman and Janet Gordon (1996)