GreenTimber Historical Society takes over ownership of GreenTimber School

The Fremont County School District recently deeded the old GreenTimber Historical Society the old Green Timber School. Plans call to seek grants to firm up the building’s foundation and do other repairs to the school.

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The GreenTimber Historical Society is now officially recognized as a 501©(3).

That designation gives the society the ability to seek grants to renovate the old Green Timber School. The Fremont County School District recently gave the society the school’s deed.

“To that end, volunteers are being sought to become members of the group to oversee the renovation of the building,” said historical society member Joyce Leonard.

The historical society plans a public barbecue to discuss potential upgrades to the school at 6 p.m., June 9, at Clen and Emma Atchley’s home located at 4054 E. 1300 North in Green Timber.

The old school was built out of wood framing, yet remains in fairly good structural shape, said the society’s director Emma Atchley.

“Our first and greatest need is to repair the foundation which was originally put in in 1906,” she said. “It’s just in need of some serious work. The foundation is critical. We need to repair that, so the building will be stable for the long term. Our first goal is to stabilize the building.”

Emma estimated that firming up the foundation would cost around $40,000. While the facility has electricity, it doesn’t have any running water or plumbing accommodations. The roof also needs work.

“There’s all kinds of things that have to be done,” she said.

The hope is to return the school back to its glory days when community activities such as voting and dances were held there.

“Our intention is to preserve it, and to make it a more useable facility for the neighborhood and to preserve the history of the area,” she said.

For decades, the old school has been used and maintained by the GreenTimber Good Fellowship Club in exchange for the Fremont County School District allowing its use.

Homesteader James King donated an acre of his 160-acre homestead for the Green Timber School to be built on. While he donated the acreage, he failed to legally provide a deed to the school district, but, at the time, nobody noticed.

Built by local servicemen hauling lumber from a neighboring ranger station, the school started accepting children in 1907 reports “Ashton, Idaho: The Centennial History, 1906-2006.” Following the construction of the school, officials crowned it with a 300-pound bell.

Grace Taylor and Rolla Corica served as teachers during the school’s beginnings reported a Fremont County School District History. Around 1912, the district added another room and built a firewood shed. It also built an outhouse, and an adjacent barn to accommodate students’ horses.

In 1943, the Fremont County School District combined all schools — including the Green Timber School — in the region into the one district.

It wasn’t until 2019 that the Fremont School District realized that the district didn’t own the property. The district later requested a “Quiet Title” on the property. According to law.com, a quiet title is designed to establish a party’s rights to real property against other claims and to ‘quiet’ any claims to the title.

When no one said they owned the school property, the school district took over and claimed the deed. As a result, the district was legally able to give the school’s deed to The GreenTimber Historical Society.

“The quite claim process was time consuming and had some costs associated with it. The school district kindly agreed to do that, so the GreenTimber Historical Society could take over the management and operation of that building. We’re very grateful for that,” Emma said.

The hope is that the community will join forces with the historical society in raising money for renovations.

“We will work hard to get that funding raised. We’re hoping that folks who may have gone to school there will be interested in preserving it,” she said.

The old school remains a huge part of local history, but what really sets it apart is that it is one of the few one-room Idaho schools that remains where it was first built.

“There have been a number of restored one-room schools or small neighborhood schools in the state. Most of them have been moved to a different site. This building still sits on its original site, and that is significant,” she said.

Once the building is renovated it may be used for community events such as weddings.

“It’s a very attractive building,” she said. “For people who want to use it for a party, it will be a very nice venue.”

Anyone interested in joining the GreenTimber Historical Society is invited to attend the upcoming barbecue. For more information call 208-652-3560.