South Tracy-South Black Historic District
Locals initiated their town’s most ambitious school modernization effort in June 1938. Despite the still-lingering effects of the Great Depression, they voted overwhelmingly to support dramatic improvements to Bozeman’s public schools. Workers erected a sizable addition to Emerson Junior High and three Moderne style elementary schools—Hawthorne, Irving, and this fine building—in the brief fifteen-months that followed. Federal assistance from the Public Works Administration covered approximately forty-five percent of the total cost. Architect Fred Willson created a single, forward-looking design for all three elementary schools, which expressed the cost-effective, democratic vision of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. His smooth, horizontal façade featured reinforced concrete construction, glass block, and “a modern, simplified design, devoid of meaningless decoration.” Each building also incorporated nine classrooms, a multipurpose gymnasium-auditorium, and special project rooms, where students could gain hands-on experience. On December 8, 1939, as Hitler’s tanks rolled across Europe, former Longfellow principal Leora Hapner dedicated the school to the democratic way of life, to education’s “enduring quest for truth,” and to an abundant life for all children.