Early Sandy Schools
Sandy’s first school building, a single room, was constructed on this property in 1881. However, the community’s first classes of learning were held somewhat earlier at an unknown location in a log cabin.
Dimensions of the first school, painted blue, were 25 by 45 feet. Furniture included a number of chairs and a few long benches. Seats were paired side by side in three rows. The teacher’s desk and a stove were also in the room.
During the colder months the children took turns bringing in wood and coal to keep the fire burning in the stove. Older boys brought fresh water daily from the old well in Sandy’s business area. At lunchtime each boy and girl drank from the single long-handled dipper. Forty students of all ages attended Sandy’s one-room school the first year.
Sadie Tripp was the first teacher. She taught alone for two years, then was joined by a Miss Gibson and Flora Tripp. Later, John Smith and William M Stewart became part of the faculty. The first principal was James B. Jensen. Stewart’s contributions in Sandy and elsewhere were recognized by Dr. John R. Park, first president of the University of Utah, where he named the university’s elementary training school for the young teacher.
Books used in Sandy’s first school were The Pacific National, Wilson’s Readers, Ray’s Arithmetic, Penny’s Grammar, and the famous McGuffey Readers. Students furnished their own books, pencils and slates. Boys in the class cleaned their slates by spitting on them and then wiping them with their shirtsleeves. The girls were more genteel – they brought small bottles of water and rags from home to do the job.
In the evenings the schoolhouse was used for debates, spelling bees and town meetings. As time passed the school was expanded to two rooms – then more.
In the early 1890’s a high-ceilinged, two-story, dull red brick school replaced the expanded frame structure. Its eight rooms – four on each floor – met the area’s needs for more than 15 years (see drawing).
Construction of a new three-story, 12-room school at the east of Main Street in 1907-08 marked the end of most, but not all, of the elementary education on this site. Some of the smaller classes still met here whenever the new school became overcrowded.
As the elementary students moved out, their older brothers and sisters moved in. Area education leaders decided in 1908 the vacated grade school should become the first permanent home of Jordan High School. Until then the area’s high school students had been meeting informally in Draper, West Jordan and East Jordan. Jordan High became the first high school in the south end of the Salt Lake Valley.
Enoch Jorgensen of Provo was the first principal. Teachers were Ross Anderson of Ephraim, and Mill A.W. Brown of Salt Lake City. E.C. Hart taught a branch class at Bingham. Ninety students registered for classes on opening day, September 9, 1908 – 63 freshman and 10 sophomores at Sandy, and 17 freshmen at Bingham.
Jordan High moved to its new building on State Street in 1913. Since then the old school has housed the Sandy City offices, the fire department, an athletic clubhouse, a wedding reception and dance hall, a library, and currently, in just a remnant of the building, the Senior Citizens’ Center.”