The museum has 28 historic buildings on 6 acres. Instructor, Anne Hockenberry, has chosen the old Jutten Schoohouse for today’s painting “Painting History” lesson. Kids will learn that in 1883, Gerhard and Wilhelmina Jutten homesteaded near the former Fort Crawford military post. Wilhelmina was instrumental in getting a school established in the area, District No. 17. The school house was built on Jutten land and called Jutten School. In 1890, there were 23 students listed on the school census, 16 boys and seven girls, including Henry and John Jutten. In 1897, School District No. 21 was organized and a new one-room building of local reddish-brown brick was constructed one mile north of what is now Uncompahgre Road. Districts 17 and 21 merged in 1898, using the brick building known as Uncompahgre School until 1915 when a new building was completed on Uncompahgre Road.
When students were moved to the Uncompahgre School, early homesteader, Sam Topliss moved the Jutten school to his property at 69139 Vernal road. He raised the building onto runners and inched it through the field with a team of horses and a stump puller. The job took him all winter. The building was large enough to serve as a barn, with an upper story loft. The ante room and cupola, which had a bell that was purchased in 1870, was removed by Topliss and used for a rabbit hutch.
Rich Fike of Museum of the Mountain West, rescued the little ante room and attached it to a one-room building in order to replicate the original Jutten School. There is a bell in the belfry that visitors delight in ringing. The original hooks for coats — one row for taller students and a lower row for the little ones — are still on the wall, as well as initials of kids of an earlier day.
Read full story here about the Jutten School, authored by Marilyn Cox, retired columnist for the Montrose Daily Press. This column was originally published on April 2015.
See a video and hear Rich Fike describing the old school.