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Moffat County High School – history repeats itself
In any growing town, the children hold utmost importance. One of the first organizations in Moffat County was a school district. Residents were willing to dig into their pockets to ensure that their children would receive a quality education.
With that thought in mind, Moffat County voters of the late 1940s approved the construction of a much needed high school. In 1946 they were originally presented with a bond issue of $415,000 that would have included a swimming pool and cafeteria as well as landscaping and other amenities, but they didn’t agree with the plan.
In a move similar to the one made by the 2007 school board 50 years later, planners went back to the drawing board to come up with a more modest proposal. The voters approved a $350,000 bond in July 1946 and construction began the following year.
The community knew that they had to stick to their budget – no overages would be permitted. During the time between the approval of the building and the beginning of construction, materials jumped 20% in price. Realizing that function was primary and aesthetics secondary, building committee members were prepared to leave the interior of the auditorium and band room unfinished if necessary to stay on budget. Air conditioning, a second boiler, second floor lockers and some chalkboards fell under the economic knife as did individual classroom thermostats. They knew that these things and other improvements could be made at a later date as funds permitted.
“Originally scheduled to have accommodations for 400 students, the new Moffat County high school, under the revised plans, will have room for only 250 students, which, it is believed, will be sufficient for the time being…The committee is bending every effort to get as much for the taxpayers’ money as is possible under the circumstances.” (Empire Courier July 2, 1947)
Work began on the plot of ground at 9th and Yampa in July 1947. The city donated the land and contractors from Grand Junction and Denver worked efficiently to have the building ready for use in the fall of 1948. ##image2##
##image3##The graduating class of 1949 was the first to finish their education in the new high school. The dedication page of their yearbook described their feelings about the new building; “We, the ‘49ers, dedicate this book, symbol of our efforts, to the new high school and to all those who have helped make a beautiful dream a reality. May the future classes profit to the fullest by the golden opportunity we can foresee in this new setting.” (Craig High School Yearbook 1949)
The summer of 1951 brought more prosperity to the county and the building received fresh floor paint as well as new desks, typing tables and landscaping. The football team turned out in new uniforms.
“Although the school was not in poor shape at the close of school, the building has had necessary repairs made in addition to improvements of the grounds and equipment.
“The stage has been refinished and the gymnasium floor cleaned and varnished with a large blue MC painted in the center circle of the floor.” (Craig Empire-Courier August 22, 1951)
By 1956, the high school committee was investigating the possibility of expanding the school. They went to the voters again, seeking approximately $150,000 to expand the gym and add classrooms. A year later, the committee reached the point of receiving proposals from architects.
Dedication of the addition was held in January 1959 and voters were invited to an open house to see the ten new classrooms, band room and enlarged gymnasium that they had approved. The 15,300 sq/ft wing was completed for $167,120.78 – or $10.60 per square foot.
A junior high school building was added to the 18 acre campus in 1964. High school students moved into their new building on the opposite side of Craig in 1981 and in 1996 the junior high – now known as Craig Middle School was divided to make Craig Intermediate School for grades fifth and sixth grade students.
Fifty years later, we are seeing most of that building taken down to make way for a new middle school to serve the needs of a new generation of Moffat County youth. A small part of the original structure will be incorporated into the new design. Over the years, poodle skirts, button down shirts and pressed slacks have given way to t-shirts and baggie jeans, but the core principles of education have remained constant.
The halls and floors that echoed with half a century of Craig’s youth will be gone, but the memories made in them will continue on as the town continues to grow and change.
Junior High School
Moffat County High School
Secretary to Mr. Townsend - Eloise Waters
A TEST FOR OLD FARTS
Every five years, as summertime nears,
An announcement arrives in the mail,
A reunion is planned; it'll be really grand;
Make plans to attend without fail.
I'll never forget the first time we met;
We tried so hard to impress.
We drove fancy cars, smoked big cigars,
And wore our most elegant dress.
It was quite an affair; the whole class was there.
It was held at a fancy hotel.
We wined, and we dined, and we acted refined,
And everyone thought it was swell.
The men all conversed about
who had been first
To achieve great fortune and fame.
Meanwhile, their spouses described their fine houses
And how beautiful their children became.
The homecoming queen, who once had been lean,
Now weighed in at one-ninety-six.
The jocks who were there had all lost their hair,
And the cheerleaders could no longer do kicks.
No one had heard about the class nerd
Who'd guided a spacecraft to the moon;
Or poor little Jane, who'd always been plain;
She married a shipping tycoon.
The boy we'd decreed 'most apt to succeed'
Was serving ten years in the pen;
While the one voted 'least'
now was a priest.
Just shows you can be wrong now and then.
They awarded a prize to one of the guys
Who seemed to have aged the least.
Another was given to the grad who had driven
The farthest to attend the feast.
They took a class picture, a curious mixture
Of beehives, crew cuts and wide ties.
Tall, short, or skinny, the style was the mini;
You never saw so many thighs.
At our next get-together, no one had cared
If they impressed their classmates or not.
The mood was informal, a whole lot more normal;
By this time we'd all gone to pot.
It was held out-of-doors, at the lake shores;
We ate hamburgers, coleslaw, and beans.
In our comfortable T-shirts and jeans.
By the fiftieth year, it was abundantly clear,
We were definitely over the hill.
Those who weren't dead had to crawl out of bed,
And be home in time for their pill.
And now I can't wait; they've set the date;
Our sixtieth is coming, I'm told.
It should be a ball, they've rented a hall
At the Shady Rest Home for the old.
Repairs have been made on my hearing aid;
My pacemaker's been turned up on high.
My wheelchair is oiled, and my teeth have been boiled;
And I've bought a new wig and glass eye.
I'm feeling quite hearty, and I'm ready to party
I'm gonna dance 'til dawn's early light.
It'll be lots of fun; But I just hope that there's one
Other person who can make it that night.
Life is Wonderful. Don't forget it!
Praise The Lord, we've made it this far!!
This tradition seems to be a spinoff from when baby shoes were first hung from rearview mirror in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. These shoes signified that the young married couples little baby had outgrown their first pair of shoes. From there fuzzy dice filled the gap for those couples that were just dating. It was a symbol of them being a couple or going steady. The dice were made by the girlfriend and the guy who owned the car. They were constructed from angora yarn wrapped around a square block of foam or cardboard. This same angora yarn was wrapped around the guy’s oversized class ring worn by his girlfriend.
Fuzzy dice was popular throughout the 1960’s and later replaced with rubber shrunken heads, graduation tassels or shaking hula dolls. The dice were first offered for sale by J.C. Whitney (a popular automobile parts mail order company) as “Giant Dice” and sold for $1.49 in their 1962 catalog. J.C. Whitney also sold other novelty items such as fox tails, lucky 8-ball gear shift knobs, the Cattle Caller horn and shaggy rear deck matting.
Today, fuzzy dice have made their way back into the classic cars as a statement by the owners that their car, their passion and their attitude clearly reflect their young adult days back in the 50’s and 60’s.