Big Thompson
Elementary School Established 1921

The Big Thompson Valley has family roots that run as deep as the river that flows through it. Generation after generation has been taught and raised in this valley, sometimes in the same house or on the same land that great-great grandparents built and farmed.

Big Thompson Elementary School's history began many years ago on a piece of farmland donated by the Weldon family. In 1871, a 14X18-foot one-room schoolhouse was erected out of logs and dirt roof. Students sat on log benches along the wall. There were no outbuildings and students had to take turns carrying in water in a wooden bucket from the river. On nice days, the students would have their studies in the trees and could wade in the river. In the fall, the school was heated by a wood stove that stood in the center of the room. Students took turns refueling the stove when the temperature got too chilly.

Education was important to the valley settlers, and soon the volume of students outgrew the schoolhouse. A larger, stone schoolhouse was built in 1883 near the old log school, but it had factory made desks and cost around $800 to build. But the population continued to expand, and another four-room school was constructed on a piece of land offered by the Boothroyd family.

According to old records, the new building was completed in September of 1921, and 104 students quickly enrolled. The four-room schoolhouse had a central hall and a basement, which was used as a gym and auditorium. This is the historical part of the school that we call home today.

In 1950, the Masonville School and Big T joined together. This consolidation would result in three additions that make Big T the school we know and love today.

--Adapted from "Big Thompson Elementary: Educating Generations

school building 1890

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Big Thompson Elementary School • 7702 West Highway 34, Loveland, Colorado, 80538 • (970) 613.5600 • email us

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