Dedication of the Price/Sommers Schoolhouse
Members of the Price, Sommers and Ball families pose in front of the Price/Sommers Schoolhouse after the dedication ceremony on June 5th.
Photo of a picture on display inside the schoolhouse. Picture of the schoolhouse, teacher and students. Caption reads "Sommers-Price school on Green River. Irma Hill, teacher, 1923."
The Museum is open June through October 15th. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 12:00 Noon until 4:00 PM. Admission is by donation.
At the Green River Valley Museum in Big Piney
by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
June 7, 2008
On Thursday, June 5th, the Green River Valley Museum in Big Piney held a dedication for the Price/Sommers Schoolhouse. In addition to the dedication, they had a presentation by Mary Humstone, on "Beyond Classrooms: Historic Schools as Symbols of Community."
In the early 1900s, many areas of rural Wyoming had one or two-room buildings which served as schoolhouses for the families with children. It was difficult finding teachers, so they were recruited and brought in from other areas around the country to teach in the rural schoolhouses. When the children grew up, the schoolhouse buildings were often relocated to new areas to serve the needs of other families with young children lived.
The original building, the Ball/Dunham schoolhouse, was torn down, rebuilt by Eddie Edwards, and renamed the Price/Sommers Schoolhouse. The Price/Sommers schoolhouse was located on the north end of the Price land, next to the Sommers’ ranch land in the Upper Green River Valley. It served as a school during the 1920s. It was one of 30 schoolhouses that served the rural areas in Sublette County in the early 1900s. Once school busses started to be used, schools were consolidated, and the small rural schoolhouses were no longer needed, with the last rural schools, with the exception of Bondurant, being all consolidated by 1965 and 1966.
The Price/Sommers schoolhouse was donated by Charles and DeAnne Price in memory of Mary and Alex Price. The Price family contributed much of their family history which revolved around the schoolhouse to the Green River Valley Museum. The Sommers family also donated many items for the exhibit. Jonita Sommers shared many historic school photos she has collected through the years, which are framed and on display in the schoolhouse. Memorials were made to the Museum in the name of Verla Sommers in memory of her love of history and pioneer heritage. Members of the Sommers, Price and Ball families were present for the dedication at the Museum.
Last year, Cara Olson and Kim Tanner’s sixth graders contributed their earnings from the wax museum program to purchase an old-fashioned globe and old maps of Wyoming which are framed and are hanging in the schoolhouse. This year the sixth graders again donated their profits from the Wax Museum, giving more than $300 to be used for a flagpole to be erected next to the schoolhouse.
“The schoolhouse will always be a work in progress,” said Museum Director Carrie Anderson. “Community support and support from everyone has been very generous,” Anderson said.
The Green River Valley Museum was formed to perpetuate and preserve the history and culture of the Green River Valley. Its goal is to honor the many hard working families who have built a unique community. The Museum is located at 206 N Front Street in Big Piney.
The Green River Valley Museum is located at 206 N Front Street (US 189) in Big Piney. They are open during the summer from June through October 15th. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 12:00 Noon until 4:00 PM. Admission is by donation.
For more information, contact Director Carrie Anderson at 307-276-5343, PO Box 12, Big Piney, WY 83113, www.grvm.com.
Editor's Note: The Green River Valley Museum is a nonprofit corporation. Although it receives some support from county funds, it is largely dependent on donations from private sources and on the annual fundraiser, an auction which is held each March. All contributions, large and small, are welcome.