Monday, June 22, 2009

The Last Schoolhouse

This is the last active schoolhouse in this area. It closed about six years ago. For the last couple of years there were two students. Most of the time they came to school on horseback.

There are no more schools like this. Now kids (if there are any kids) drive or are driven into the nearest consolidated school. In the winter they usually board in town. Depending on circumstance, they might stay in town for the whole school year, coming home only on holidays.

Just another example of this region as a "dying culture." There just aren't enough families to make for a real community any more. The local community center, plumb-dab in the middle of the prairie and miles from anything, is pretty much boarded up and there hasn't been a dance, or a wedding, or a fist-fight there for years.

The future is clear: ranchers will get older with the kids already off to the big city. They'll finally sell out to the big boys, and the population will decrease some more. It's inevitable. It's already happening and has been for a while now.

It was damn good while it lasted.


BobG said...

It's sad seeing a whole way of life disappear. There are a lot of younger people who will never see or be able to imagine what a lot of this country was like at one time.

Rio Arriba said...

You're sure right about that, Bob. We live in such a time of cultural overlap: gang-bangers all over the map and out here the "cowboy way" still rules. For a little while longer at least. These sure aren't the kind of folks I want to see go extinct.

Anonymous said...

The same thing is happening in the mountains here. No work, so couples of the age to have children are leaving. As the population gets older demographically, the chance of getting funding for schools through splost and the like diminishes. I ought to go around a take some pictures of all the old homeplaces here that have been abandoned and are falling into ruin.

Anonymous said...

It'll come back. Once the big die-off happens and the survivors are reminded of their mortality and inherent weakness, they'll come back.

Like Mr. O'Hara used to say, "Land. It's the only thing that lasts."