Zena Elementary School


In the late 18001s and early 1900s there existed at the cross roads of the Lincoln, Bethel, Brush College and Spring Valley roads a busy little town called Zena. According to legend it was named after the daughter of one of the early pioneers. At one time the town boasted of post office, church, store, hall, grange hall, blacksmith shop, wagon shop, school and houses. 79

After Rural Free Delivery was established the pest office was closed. The other buildings, with the exception of the church, were torn down or moved away. On June 30, 1888 a petition signed by James R. Shepard, George T. Wait, M. V. Mann, W. A. Pike, William Madden, Charles Phillips, S. S. Gimble, Samuel Phillips, John Wamckie, J. E. Phillips, C. C. Walker, P. F. Clark and D. G. Henry was sent to the Polk County School Superintendent’s office asking that the boundaries outlined in the petition be established for the district.

The first school was built near the junction of the Bethel and Spring Valley Roads. How long it was used and why it was moved is uncertain. A second school was built on land donated from the Walling donation claim. The sills of this building are still there in what is now the yard of the late James S. Mott. Some of the old seats are treasured there, too. The school was moved once more to land donated from the Crawford claim. This land will revert to the Crawford estate when it ceases to be used for school purposes. That was also true of the land on which the second school stood. This third school burned.

The present building was erected in about 1922. At this time the school had its largest enrollment making it necessary to have two teachers. When a few of the large families moved away it became a one room school again and continued so until it became a part of District 24CJ, on January 1, 1952.

At that time Lincoln also voted to become a part of the Salem School System. Two years later Spring Valley voted to join also. Zena became a primary school with grades one, two and three. Lincoln took the intermediate grades. The Spring Valley School building was sold to the Lincoln Community Center Association and is used for all community activities. The children of the three districts are transported by station wagon to Zena and Lincoln.

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