The “Little Red Schoolhouse,” still observable on Highway 101 opposite Dry Lagoon and Stone Lagoon about thirteen miles north of Trinidad, operated with one teacher for over half a century. It was located across the highway closer to the lagoons until the Brindle family (owners of the former Redwood Trails Campground) moved it to its present location in 1981. School records indicate that there was a school as early as 1893 in the Stone Lagoon area. It was a log cabin and was named “The Blaine School” since the area was known as Blaine (named after a prominent statesman of the time, James Gillespie Blaine).
“Schoolma’am, The Letters of Eleanor Ethel Tracy,” was compiled and arranged by Harriet Tracy DeLong in 1978. The charming letters tell of Eleanor Ethel Tracy’s life as teacher during 1903-04 when she traveled to the remote school, lived with the Foss family, and began her first day teaching one student, the Foss boy. Tracy wrote in her letters that there were only four families who sent their children to school. She had received her teaching diploma at Dr. Kildale’s Preparatory School in Eureka (the same school where Shirley Hannah studied a few years later). She loved the sound of the bell in the school tower and the school organ. Mail delivery was three times a week and Tracy frequently wrote to her Eureka family asking for marbles for indoor play for the boys on rainy days, film for her newly purchased camera, and more books and “Youth’s Companions” and “American Boys” periodicals for her eight students, all boys. In November 1903 she wrote to her mother, “Next Thursday is Thanksgiving…I am getting up a concert to give at the schoolhouse. Every family on the Lagoon is asked to contribute one number to the program. I only hope the people won’t fight or get drunk. That is all I ask of them. My boys are enjoying the marbles very much. I let them draw two games on the floor with chalk-one for the little boys and one for the older ones. The other morning I played with the little boys and beat! They think I am quite a player.”
Teachers at Stone Lagoon were required to do everything, including janitorial work. In May 1904, Tracy wrote, “This is the most perfectly glorious day. No wind, warm sunshine, no dust, everything clean and green, and all the flowers seem bursting into bloom and the bees are swarming. I got up early, ate breakfast…then I went to the schoolhouse and gave it a good cleaning. I washed the blackboards, straightened the seats, dusted the wainscotting, and sprinkled the floor and gave it a hard sweeping. Then home to wash my clothes for two weeks… I hung them on the raspberry bushes in front. They look nice and white.” Tracy continued, “My boys have been so most exceptionally good for the last day or so! I am expecting Superintendent (George) Underwood every week from now on. I only hope the good behavior will continue. I don’t dread his visit at all; in fact I am rather looking forward to it.”
Teachers at Stone Lagoon School between 1893 and 1957 were Alvina Flaming, Miss Murray, J.E. Hodgson, Effie L. Blair, Alberta Franks, Melvina A. Hufford, J.N. Davies, Olive H. Hannah, Ettie Logan, Eleanor Ethel Tracy, Grace McGeorge, Nina G. Lindsey, Edna G. Hill, Edith L. Mitchell, M. Pearl Hepler, Alice M. Gordon, W. Logan Bailey, Zena Witt, Karen Holmes, Hildegarde Carlson, Lola McLaughlin, Elna Kring, E.K. Simpson, Susan J. Reynolds, Helen Reas, Aileen McAllister, Elizabeth H. Feheley, Thelma Hufford, Zelma Franzoni, Gail Buchanan, Pearl McCombs, Betty Hancock, Nellie S. Milton, Carlene Reager and P. Sjoli. In 1901 there were 10 primary and one grammar schoolers, twenty seats for the children and 213 library books. In 1902 “The water supply was not good and water had to be brought in to the school. There were 237 library books.” In 1955, the average daily attendance was ten students.