The Hood River County Sun, Hood River, OR., December 29, 1937, page 1


     Recent dedication exercises of the new addition at Odell High School, when persons connected with the early days of Odell schools appeared on the program, brought to mind to many pioneers of the region many interesting facts of former Odell school days. Following is an account of the history of the schools of the locality:
     The first school in Odell was located where Lenz station is now.
     This school in 1870 served the purpose for all of the east side, from the Columbia River to the Mount Hood district. This first school was an abandoned house built by Tom Corum. Mr. Goodel, the first teacher, lived in part of the house and had his classroom in another. The teacher taught three months for $20 a month, raised by popular subscription.
     School continued in this building until some time in the '80s. During this time the teachers had been Miss Thurman, Miss Fuller, Mr. Garrison, Mr. Pentland, Mr. La France, and Mr. Evans. During Mr. Evans term the school was changed to the log house on Charley Ekrck's ranch. At this time also, Pine Grove organized their own district. A Miss Smith followed Mr. Evans as teacher.
     The next year the location was again changed, this time to the Rumfeldt property. Mrs. Anne Shelley taught a term at this location.
     The following year the location was again changed, this time to the site of the present grade school building.
     There were so many new people at that time that the names of the teachers are not known in order. M.L. Howe, one of the speakers at the recent school dedication was also one of the early teachers in the old one room school house. Another teacher was Mrs. Odell. She taught for two years. About this time the terms were lengthened to six months. Rev. Troy Shelley taught for a term. Then, Mr. Andrews, Mr. King, and Mr. Strang in 1900.
     Soon after the turn of the century, a two room building was erected and the term lengthened to eight months. As the school continued to grow in numbers, two rooms were added to the building and the ninth grade added to the curriculum. Two teachers were added to the teaching staff. The following year another teacher was added.
     There was much agitation at this time for a four-year high school in Odell. Odell and Central Vale together voted to build a union high school. While the building was under construction classes were held in the I.O.O.F. Hall near the grade school.
     The grade school continued to grow. In 1940 another teacher was added and taught her class in the Christian Church across the road. This was done because of the crowded conditions in the school house. The following year the present modern stucco building was erected.
     The high school grew from the start. The building was built to accommodate 60 students or there-abouts. In 1935 there was a total of 115 students enrolled in Odell high school during the year. The same year the school was pronounced conditionally standard by a member of the State Board of Education. This meant that if no arrangements to expand were made within a certain time the school would be taken off the standard high school list of Oregon. This made it imperative to build an addition to the system. As the school system is at present, it is standard in every way except maybe for some minor details, thanks to the taxpayers of the county.

©  Jeffrey L. Elmer