Sioux County -- West Branch No. 1 Photos
West Branch School Dist. No.1 - 1934
The school building at the intersection of Ibex Avenue and 400th Street may be long gone, but Yette Te Paske, 89, of Sioux Center remembers the school before its windows were even boarded up. Te Paske, who grew up on a farm almost a half-mile north of the former county school on Ibex Avenue, was a 1934 eighth-grade graduate of the school.
"As a matter of fact, I went to school on a pony when the weather was right," she said. "The pony would take me and my sister to school, we'd get off and then turn the pony around and he'd go home."
One teacher taught all eight grades. "I do remember we had a teacher live with us during the winter one year," Te Paske said. "The teachers would also live in other homes because they didn't have their own vehicles to go back and forth from school."
Although the school was just a half-mile north of Sandy Hollow, Te Paske said no class trips were made to the ponds. "The teacher probably couldn't swim so why would she dare do that," Te Paske said. "We never went down there while in school, but I do remember enjoying recess, playing out on the school grounds."
Unlike some country schools, Te Paske remembers having indoor plumbing. "Oh yes, we had indoor toilets, and they might have had some solution in them because I don't remember there being a bad smell," she said. "And it was a flush stool as 1 recall, too."
The basement under the schoolhouse, however, is what Te Paske remembers the most. "Down there was a coal room for heat. We'd take potatoes to school, and we'd bake them in the coals," she said. "I'll always remember the baked potatoes as being such a treat." Te Paske's father, Henry Ramaker, owned the acre surrounding the schoolhouse before it was built in the mid-1920s and it was deeded back to the family once the school closed, Te Paske said.
Although the year of the school's closure is unknown, Peter Mouw writes in "Sioux Center's First 75 years" that district reorganization in 1958 closed all country schools in the Sioux Center School District.
~Source: The Sioux Center News, November 2, 2011