Yorba Linda History

Historic Documents

Search for specific termsBrowse alphabetical list of titlesBrowse by subject category

close this bookYorba Linda - Its History
View the documentDedication
View the documentAcknowledgments
View the documentPreface
View the documentChapter 1 - The Indians
View the documentChapter 2 - The Hacienda Era
View the documentChapter 3 - Carlton
View the documentChapter 4 - The Pioneers
View the documentChapter 5 - The Business District "Down Town”
View the documentChapter 6 - Recreation and Celebrations
View the documentChapter 7 - Water
View the documentChapter 8 - The School Story
View the documentChapter 9 - The Library
View the documentChapter 10 - The Churches
View the documentChapter 11 - Organizations
View the documentChapter 12 - Incorporation
View the documentChapter 13 - Richard M. Nixon
View the documentChapter 14 - Famous Citizens
View the documentChapter 15 - A Forward Look
View the documentChapter 16 - Yorba Linda - What Now?

Chapter 8 - The School Story

  Open this page in a new window

As the settlers began to grow in numbers one of the first problems to present itself was that of a school for the children. In 1910 the very few pupils in Yorba Linda walked the three miles to Olinda to school, but plans were being made to have a school house on the tract. There was a rumor that the Janss people would put up a building for a school and the settlers could buy it when they organized a district, but nothing came of it and the good people discovered they must act on their own.

For two years they experienced frustration and disappointment. Two attempts to form a school district found them struggling against red tape and excuses from the County Superintendent's office in Santa Ana. Then they became angry.

In June of 1911, when they received a letter that the earliest possible date that they could open a school would be in September 1912, they replied with ire, stating that Los Angeles County was able to handle such situations and demanding to know why Orange County was so helpless. The story was told that Mr. R P. Mitchell, the County Superintendent of schools at that time, made the remark that "when he read that letter he felt as though a bear had hold of him and if that was the kind of people they had in Yorba Linda, he had better get busy."

From that time on things began to go better for our people. Mr. Mitchell contacted the trustees at Olinda and arrangements [68] ments were made for Olinda to furnish a teacher if the settlers would furnish a building. In typical manner these intrepid Yorba Lindans set about building a school house. Many gave sums of money ranging from $2.50 to $30.00. The Janss Company gave $50.00. A few pledged a certain number of days' work, others pledged loads of lumber, roofing, seats, windows, doors, gravel. All is listed in our Scrap Book History, from the writings of that earlier chronicler, Mrs. Bertha Brooks, in the Woman's Club archives.

Under "Interesting Items," our historian, Mrs. Brooks, wrote that when the outbuildings were being constructed for the school, Mr. Trueblood was so afflicted with boils on his right arm that he could not work as he had planned. Instead he acted as overseer of Furnas Trueblood and Edwin Brooks as they worked on these small buildings, but loyal Mr. Trueblood painted the structures with his left hand. The two boys with some help from their elders painted the flagpole.

So, in September of 1911 the children were able to attend school in their own town in a well constructed building that still stands on its original site on Olinda Street where the Water Company has been using it for an office since the time it was no longer needed as a schoolhouse. It is noted that these wonderful people at their planning meeting in "Conley's hay barn on Casa Loma St.," provided that the proceeds from the sale of this building, when it was no longer needed as a school, would be used as a fund for a school library.

The first teacher was Miss Amanda Longnecker. On the first day of school, September 18, 1911, Miss Talbert, principal of the Olinda School came to Yorba Linda and helped with the opening, as an outbreak of diptheria had closed the Olinda school for a short time. Workers were still busily placing the seats in the new school. So proud were the patrons of their school house that a social was held there on October 13, so that all could come and admire. Gingerbread, pumpkin pie and coffee were served. Some time later a box social was given and the sum of twelve dollars was given toward the building fund. [69]

The trustees, H. P. Turner, N. T. Brooks and Plummer Stewart, appointed by County Superintendent Mitchell, set about forming a school district. New families coming into the tract and some families settling near by and petitioning to be included in the district increased the demand for more space in the school, so as soon as the district was formed bonds were voted in the sum of $10,000. Later, when the bonds were put up for sale it was found that the taxable valuation was insufficient to allow for such debt, so it was necessary to hold another election at which bonds for $8,000 were voted and later sold. The electorate chose E. R. West, H. P. Turner and J. W. Quigley for their board and soon work was begun on a new school house to be built on School Street.

In the meantime the one room school house constructed by volunteer labor was being used to the utmost. Church services and Sunday School were held there. A literary society conducted meetings there. A Citrus Association and Chamber of Commerce were born in this same little building.

School opened in September of 1912 in the new schoolhouse on School Street and the population had so increased that it was necessary to employ two teachers. They were Mrs. Henrietta Compton and Miss Cora Marshburn, daughter of Dr. William V. Marshburn. A Parent Teachers' Association was organized early in the fall of this year with a membership of fourteen. It was in this building that the Yorba Linda District Library was born in December of 1913. The full story of this is found further in the book. The first eighth grade commencement exercises were held in June of 1913 in this building, two young people graduating. They were Homer Bemis and Marion Oliver.

In the fall of 1913 three teachers were hired. Mrs. Compton became principal and Miss Dessie Jepson and Miss Edith Bemis (Mrs. Chauncey Eichler) taught the primary and intermediate grades. They graduated Howard Buckmaster, Walter Long, Lorena Vetter, Merlyle Rollins and Maria Walker in June, 1914.

It was in the year of 1913 that the Yorba Linda Federation of Women (later to become the Woman's Club) placed a [70] piano in the school house at a cost of $135 with the specification that it was to be used by the school and by any organization holding meetings in the school house. A document was prepared with the signatures of the four ladies from the Federation Committee and of the three members of the school board, stating that since the "school district had contributed sixty-nine dollars and fifty cents, $69.50, to the purchase of the piano, either organization could, by purchasing the share of the other, become sole owner of the piano." (Careful and far-sighted people!)

The following year at commencement time (1915) little remembrance booklets were printed and issued. Our Scrap Book History has one. We see some very familiar names and one famous name listed. We list a few. In the first grade were Franklin Marshburn, Homer Morris, Murray Walker, Roy Knight, Helen May among others. Second graders were William Sovain, Paul Ryan, Helen Johnson, Oswald McCracken, George Buckmaster, Josephine Pike, Luella Cole and seven others. Among the third graders were Margaret McFadden, Emmett Pike, Sallie Kinsman, Arnold Quigley with four others.

Harry Barton, Harold Kaub, Clifford Marshburn, Willard Morris, Lois Jacobs, Sarah Logsdon, and Nellie Shepherd shared space with three more in the fourth grade. Lorin Brown, Penn Marshburn, Esther Sparks, Margaret Stewart, George Ryan and Dwight Thing were one half the fifth grade. Julia Buckmaster, Myron West, John Buckmaster, Clarice Jacobs, Lester Vetter and Mary Marshburn were listed with two more as sixth graders. Seventh graders were Harrison Acker, Viola Bemis, Marjorie Hileman, Marion Thing, John Bertram, Grace Grubbs, Gladys Ryan, Paul Trook and Louis (Tad) Vetter.

The eighth grade that year graduated a girl destined to become renowned in her country as the author of a best selling book, The Friendly Persuasion. She was Jessamyn West. Graduated with her were Louise Holloway, Alfred Knight, Ruth McDavid, Walter Prather, Helen Holloway, Nettie Mozier, Bernice Pike and Harold Van Patten (father of our present citizen of that name.) [71]

It was in the fall of 1915 that Mrs. Mable Paine came to Yorba Linda School. She had formerly taught at Olinda. She took the position of principal at Yorba Linda School and held it for thirty-two years until her retirement in 1947. She had unusual executive ability and maintained a well-disciplined school throughout the years. It was my privilege to teach for two years under her supervision.

It wasn't long before the building on School Street was inadequate to house the increasing number of pupils. In 1926 was built the building that stood on Yorba Linda Blvd. and was razed in 1954 to make room for the present Richard Nixon School. The contract for the building was let to T. Means of Santa Ana for $45,175, the heating to S. Hill & Son at $1,500 and the plumbing to Charles F. Carlson for $5,126, for a total price of $51,801. The building contained seven standard sized school rooms and one extra large room, used for the eighth grade. There were also a principal's office, storage room, library and work room, restrooms and cafeteria. Generous sized halls ran throughout the building.

The State condemned the old building as not being earthquake proof. Many people who liked its beauty mourned its passing. Some of the teachers who taught in Yorba Linda for many years began their service in this building. Among them were Elizabeth Worsley, a woman with unusual artistic ability, Lois Hall who taught in the primary grades for many years, and Lucille Lodge, recently retired after twenty-one years of service.

In the fall of 1914 Yorba Linda citizens voted 85 to 11 to join Fullerton Union School District. It was an impressive decision for our pioneers to make and they were proud of it. Quoting from a newspaper article of October 1914, (The Star?) we give you the following: "For the first time in the history of Yorba Linda, the big auto bus of the Fullerton High School moved in its stately manner, Monday morning, about the tract and gathered up more than twenty high school students." This union with Fullerton [72] High School District has proved to be a good one over the fifty-four years it has been in force.

As we get along into the second half of the twentieth century we follow with interest the rapid growth of our school system. After Mrs. Paine's retirement as principal, in 1947, Lowell Jones was chosen as head of the school. He served for five years and was the first to bear the title of "Superintendent." Following him was Jerome Edwards and after him, John Miller. Dr. Sterling Fox followed Mr. Miller and is the present head of the school.

At this time (Spring of 1968) there are seventy-one teachers on the entire staff, counting the band teacher. There are also a nurse and a speech consultant. Housing the 2,170 students are four modern school buildings, the Richard Nixon School on Yorba Linda Boulevard, the Mable Paine School on Plumosa Street, the Rose Drive School and the Junior High School on Casa Loma. Four school secretaries take care of the multitudinous jobs that fall to the persons holding these positions. They are Regina Gallienne, Superintendent's Secretary, but deceased before the publication of this book, Mary Yurashus at Mable Paine, Mae Nicholson at Rose Drive and Beverly Cooke at Jr. High. Thirty-seven people are classified personnel. They include bus drivers, gardeners, maintenance people and secretaries. Jack Waldron served as custodian and supervisor of maintenance work for 25 years, the longest term for personnel workers. The yearly budget for 1967-1968 is $1,224,598.

Some of the outstanding features of today's Yorba Linda School System are (a) the Educable Mentally Retarded Program at Rose Drive; (b) the Speech Program, by which children with speech problems can be helped; (c) the use of teacher aides by which teachers relieved of many tedious tasks are able to devote their time to more important duties; (d) the psychologist, who comes regularly about once a week, assists in diagnosing mental or behavior problems and suggests treatment; (e) Team Teaching, a popular departure from single teacher work in certain classes; (f) Use of machines such as tape recorders, listening posts, visual aids for speed reading, television sets for [73] using the learning programs on the air; (g) Wood Shop and Home Economics programs.

Envisioned for the future is a plan to divide the school somewhat differently than is now done. Grades from kindergarten through sixth grade will still comprise the elementary school and intermediate school will be composed of grades seven and eight, but there will be an emphasis on gifted students. Thought is being given to the possibility of having a credentialed person in the class room with the teacher so that the teacher could pursue situations and projects with part of the class while the remainder of the students would continue their regular assignments without interruption. There would be ever increasing work on the age old task of eliminating reading problems of many students. There are plans for growth of special education programs, helping the handicapped students.

Viewing what is being done and what is in the planning for the future we are deeply gratified at the progress in our local school situation since its inception in 1911. [74]

to previous section to next section

Top of page