Bethel Elementary School


Bethel District, one of the older outlying communities, is situated about five miles east of the city lim- its on State Street. In the early days this locality was covered with very large timber, and a sawmill owned by Dan Early was operated on the present site of the school building. The commercial timber be- came exhausted and the sawmill was torn down.

Dan Early, who died in 1953 at the age of 92, gave the site and provided the lumber for the Bethel Church which was built by the Dunkards. These people sought an education for their children and maintained a “subscription school” supported by contributions from the pioneer families. As the years passed some of the leading fam- ilies of the church moved away, and the remaining families found themselves unable to maintain the church.

In 1903, a new school district was formed from territory taken from Fruitland, Macleay, and Rickey districts. The unused church building was purchased and became Bethel School. School was conducted there for many years. In September of each year, a reunion is held for the old time pupils and their families. The old school bell, which summoned them to their studies in the long-ago, its voice silent for twenty eight years, now is rung electrically, and welcomes them back to their familiar district.

The present school building was erected in 1925. In 1934 a full-size, all-modern basement was added. Small additions were Made to the district at various times. In 1953, Oak Ridge District, who was transporting to Bethel, was added to the Bethel District. In 1955-56 school year, it was necessary to employ two full-time teachers. So in the 1956-57 school year, a new primary room with basement was added to the school house. Bethel School serves the community as its social center.

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