The first school in Gallatin County was taught by Samuel Anderson, in the winter of 1865 and ’66, in the back room of a log store in Bozeman, the store built and owned by Squire Fitz, being on ground where the Fechter building was erected a few years ago. The second school was taught by Miss Florence Royce in part of a log house where the Commercial National Bank building stands. This school was in the winter of 1866 and ’67. These two teachers were paid by subscription. The following year, Miss Royce taught the first school outside of Bozeman at Gallatin city, and was paid from public funds. Davis Willson was the first teacher in Bozeman to receive public money. He taught during the winter of 1867 and ’68 in part of a double log house on Bozeman Avenue North, where the Frazier house was built later, across from the present library building. According to the records of School District Seven, which includes Bozeman, a tax of five mills on each dollar of tax-able property in the district was levied for school purposes in 1868.

First School Building

The first school building in the county erected with public money was in the winter of 1868 and ’69 on the corner of what is now Tracy Avenue and Olive Street, a frame structure costing $500, W. J. Beall being the architect. This building used for about eight years for school purposes, was later remodeled into a residence, moved east about half a block, and still stands at 9 East Olive Street. The first brick school building was erected in Bozeman in 1877, and was replaced ten years later by a larger building, now called the Irving School.

Two teachers were employed for the Bozeman School in the winter of 1873 and ’74, when T. B. Gray, who had served as treasurer of Gallatin county for one term, taught the upper grades in the school building, while D. B. McMurray taught the lower grades in a log house on Babcock Street near Black Avenue. The following winter, Mr. Gray again had the upper grades and E. D. Ferguson taught the lower grades in the log house.

School System Changes

In the fall of 1878, a change was made in the school system, when Prof. W. W. Wylie was employed as principal and planned a definite course of study, establishing a high school course. Other teachers employed that year in the new brick school building were: A. D. Maynard, Miss Amy A. Sweet and Miss Mamie Evans. Other teachers were added to the force as the population of the district grew and the school census increased, the high school continuing with the grades in what was known then as the West Side School Building.

The East Side School House, later called the Hawthorne School, was built in 1883, the Longfellow School on the southeast being built later, and the Emerson Junior High School somewhat centrally located on Grand Avenue between Babcock and Olive streets. There are in 1932, 38 teachers with D. S. Williams superintendent.

School Census

No official record could be found of a census of school children in the county before 1883, but the records of Bozeman School District, Number Seven, show a bill allowed, October 26, 1872, by the board of trustees to J. H. Taylor, clerk of the district, for $39.90, for taking the census of the district and other expenses. The report does not show the number of children listed.

The first official record on file is dated December 15, 1883, and shows the number of male children in the county between the ages of 4 and 21, to be 1,101, and female, 919, making a total of 2020. Number attending school: 1,012. The number under four years of age included male, 301 and female, 285. The report shows at that time, 32 organized districts, with nine male teachers and 20 female teachers employed. The average number of days of school taught was 90. Two private schools were reported with 29 pupils. In 1883, there were two brick schoolhouses in the county, both in Bozeman, and there were 29 log schoolhouses.

The census for 1884 showed 2,244 children between the ages of 4 and 21, and 706 under four years, with 1,370 attending school. There were 18 male teachers and 25 female teachers employed, the average number of days of school taught was 120. There were two graded schools and 41 ungraded.

The census report in 1884 shows the towns of Big Timber, Chico, Chicory, Cooke, Gardiner and Livingston included in the list of districts, as these towns were then in Gallatin County before the formation of Park County in 1887, and other counties later from Gallatin County.

The school census in 1932 showed 5,247 children between the ages of 6 and 21, the present school age in Gallatin County, and 1,656 children under the age of six grew and the school census increased, the high school continuing with the grades in what was known then as the west side school building.

The east side school house, later called the Hawthorne School, was built in 1883, the Longfellow School on the southeast being built later, and the Emerson Junior High School somewhat centrally located on Grand Avenue between Babcock and Olive streets. There are in 1932, 38 teachers with D.S. Williams superintendent.