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Fruita Schoolhouse

The Fruita School house is one of the few remaining early structures in this region of Utah. Because of the geographical isolation of the valleys of Sulphur Creek and Fremont River, this section of the state was the last to be explored and settled. The first permanent settler, Niels Johnson, located a homestead near the junction of the streams in 1880. The tillable land in the narrow valleys could support only 8 to 10 families, and the almost impassable roads isolated the community from the outside world.

As the earliest school house of the area and typical of certain log structures built. at the time, it is a significant building. It is a well constructed building of squared logs; the sturdy structure, and fine detailing of window and door trim is a tribute to the local builders who probably had little professional assistance.

The one-room school building was built by the pioneers of the community who were largely members of the L.D.S. Church. It was constructed on the site where it now stands in the early 1890s. Elijah Cutler Behunin donated the ground before 1892, and inquiries indicate that Behunin and others of the community built the structure in 1892, or possibly as late as 1894. Nettie Behunin, daughter of the above, was the first teacher, and eleven children of Behunin, Pierce and Pendleton families were enrolled early. In 1895 the district was organized and known as the Junction School Precinct. It continued to be used as the grade school of the community until 1941. Since that date it has remained unoccupied.

The Schoolhouse is located in Capitol Reef National Park and was added to the National Historic Register (#72000098) on February 23, 1972.