Central School

East Side Historic District

Kalispell residents exulted over the construction of the community’s first permanent schoolhouse, and the Inter Lake proudly declared that “nothing decides the intellectual status of a town or city as surely as its schools.” The Richardsonian Romanesque style brick building, designed by William White of Great Falls, welcomed its first students on January 1, 1895. Four teachers had charge of almost 200 high school and elementary students; a fifth teacher joined the staff a month later. The high school graduated its first six students in the spring of 1898, but it moved soon after 1900, leaving Central School’s eight rooms to the lower grades. The school became Kalispell’s first junior high when elementary students relocated and seventh and eighth grades moved here in 1929. All other city schools were renamed in 1940, but as the hub of district activities, Central School kept its original name. Administrative offices remained here until 1969. In 1927, city officials declared the workmanship of this splendid building a lesson in “old-time thoroughness and pride … worthy of emulation.” So it remains today.

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124 2nd Avenue East, Kalispell, Montana ~ Public