Moved to the museum at Fort Missoula in Missoula, Montana, in 1976, the Grant Creek Schoolhouse was originally located north of Missoula in the Grant Creek drainage. Built in 1907, by John Rankin, it served the farming community of the Grant Creek drainage until 1937.
The Grant Creek schoolhouse was named after Richard Grant, a man who brought his family to Hell Gate in 1858 and settled along the creek that bears his name today. Wood for the first school came from a sawmill owned by John Rankin, as did the wood for the construction of Fort Missoula. Three of the Rankin children – Mary, Edna, and Grace – attended the school and Harriet became one of the teachers. It is said that Janette Rankin, the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress, was also a substitute teach at Grant Creek School.
The school pictured below is actually the second Grant Creek Schoolhouse. The first school was probably built before 1880, and the second school replaced it in 1907. Many of the teachers for the school lived on nearby ranches and farms.
The attached porch was used as a cloakroom and storage for wood for the wood burning stove. There was no well or indoor plumbing and students had to carry in buckets from the nearby creek and use outhouses that were located behind the school. In the classroom itself, there were teaching aids such as a globe, maps, and a piano and during recess the children could play on the swings or in the baseball field. Students who rode horses to school, tied them to the trees that surrounded the school.
Today, the school has been restored to its 1920s appearance and the porch has an exhibit on the history of the school and provides a view into the restored classroom.
Until the next adventure…