Dry Creek School
Gallatin County, one of the original nine counties established in 1865 during territorial days, was Montana’s first extensively settled agricultural area. Homesteaders followed miners in the late 1860s and established schools in private homes or one-room cabins. Tiny one-room schoolhouses soon dotted the countryside, often no more than five miles apart. When the population grew, a frame schoolhouse usually replaced the original log cabin. Just north of this site, a simple log cabin comprised Gallatin County School District 9, established before 1896. The present building replaced the cabin in 1901 and the first classes were held in the spring of 1902. There were 45 students. The school was first known as Cedar View and, later, Hillsdale to correspond to local post office addresses. It became the Dry Creek School after 1909. Students dwindled to only four in 1945 and the school closed. District 9 later disappeared when it consolidated with Manhattan School District 3 in 1961. The school is a splendid example of balloon frame construction. Building materials were pre-cut and assembled on site at a total cost of $1,700, including classroom equipment. The utilitarian design mirrors the shape of its log predecessor with one significant change: a recessed entry provided protection against harsh weather. The cupola housing the school bell, a feature shared by only two other Gallatin County schoolhouses, proclaimed the building’s significance to the early community. Purchase of the building by the Jolly Neighbors Club in 1997 for use as a community center reconfirmed its value.