First Imperial Valley School (replica)

This replica of the original Arrowweed Ramada was constructed on September eighth, 1991 on the museum grounds almost 90 years after the original was built. The original school Ramada was located near the side of the Main canal, southwest of Heber, and served as shelter from the harsh desert sun for the inaugural class of the very first school in the Imperial Valley. The school was founded by J. E. Carr, an extremely influential figure in early Valley history who went on to become one of the very first superintendents for the new school districts.

First School Ramada and tent.

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Photo of First school Ramada and tent from a distance.

To accommodate an initial class size of fifty young boys and girls who would travel up to four miles every day, just to come to class, the original Ramada was roughly thirty feet long, fifteen feet wide, and ten feet tall, supported by eight wood poles covered by an Arrowweed roof, and was accompanied by handmade benches and chairs alongside a tent that held classes whenever it rained. The Ramada was soon retired in favor of the newly built Imperial School to better meet the valley’s growing need for education, with two additional Ramada schools established three miles East and West of the original’s location in 1902.1

  1. ~Imperial Valley History – Pages 159-161
    ~Early Schools of Imperial Valley – Pages 4, 16
    ~Story of the First Decade – Pages 67, 204
    ~Past Perfect – Object IDs [P1996.84.1] / [P1996.106.18] / [P2001.12.1] [P1991.70.1] 
    ~Photos by G.W. Donley
    ~Upstairs School Gallery – Banta Family Photo of First School.
    ~Upstairs School Gallery – Map of Early Imperial Schools
    ~Upstairs School Gallery – Photo of First School ↩︎