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Fun Fact-The First Students of Sandpoint


 Sandpoint’s first schoolhouse
Sandpoint’s first schoolhouse, which went by two names—Defenbach and Central School, on the left, and the teacher's cottage to the right, 1898-1899. Photo by Lucille Brisboy. Photo courtesy of Bonner County Historical Society & Museum.

Brought to you by the Bonner County Historical Society & Museum|Photo by Lucille Brisboy


As kids drag their feet back to school and dream of a world where they can live like Peter Pan, there was a decent length of time where there was no school in Sandpoint, and children were considered running wild.

In 1880, a settlement called Pend Oreille was established. There was no official school at the time, but Pappy Smith was considered Sandpoint’s first teacher starting in 1883. Pappy’s “school” held classes where they could—homes, retired saloons, and more. Believe it or not, it wasn’t until 1892 that education for children became a concern. An article was published stating that “There are fifty children here, and why it is we are not favored with a place in which to educate them instead of letting them run around the streets and acquire bad habits is a matter of proper authorities should be brought to account for.”

Sometime soon after this article was published, the first official schoolhouse was erected at the northwest corner of First Avenue and Church Street.


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