Built in 1901, Billings’ fourth school had six classrooms and an auditorium. A third-floor gymnasium, the first in the city, was added a year later. By 1906, 340 children attended Garfield School. The homesteading boom, the growth of sugar manufacturing, and the first oil boom brought more people to Billings’ south side, and more students to Garfield. The 1920 addition, designed by Billings architect Chandler Cohagen, doubled the school’s size. Constructed at a cost of over $65,000, the two-story brick addition displays classical details. Strong horizontal lines define its symmetrical façade. Decorative terra cotta ornaments the central stepped parapet, and terra cotta scrollwork accents the entrances. Between 1923 and 1925, the Great Western Sugar Company paid half the expenses for the school’s special migrant workers program. The program offered classes specifically for migrant workers’ children during the weeks the children were not working in the fields. In 1934, the Works Progress Administration provided funds to further expand Garfield School. The Cohagen firm designed two wings for the 1921 addition, tripling the school’s size. While adding the wings, the district also removed the original third-floor gymnasium after deeming it structurally unsound. In 1948, the school district constructed a final two-story brick addition to accommodate 900 students in grades one through nine. Demolition of the original 1901 building occurred in 1981, but the 1920, 1934, and 1948 additions still look much as they did in 1950. Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch purchased the building in 2007 from School District #2.

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3212 1st Avenue South, Billings, Montana ~ Private