On the Beat: A century ago at Blodgett School

Although Blodgett may be the smallest in the Philomath School District, the presence of education in the small community is certainly not short on history.

In fact, the local historical society calls Blodgett one of the oldest rural school districts still in existence in all of Benton County.

“Records were poorly kept, but there have been schools in three locations in the community for at least 150 years,” the Benton County Historical Society reports on its website.

The short write-up on Blodgett goes on to say that the old schools were sometimes used for church on Sundays. A few other schools in the vicinity came and went through the decades, including Devitt School (located between Blodgett and Summit), Mt. Top School (located at head of Gellatly Canyon, eventually merged with Blodgett) and Nois School (located 3 miles west of Blodgett, consolidated with Blodgett in 1948).

By the way, a source for the historical society’s information came from Marlene McDonald, who researched and wrote “When School Bells Range: Schools of Benton County.”

According to a quarterly published in 1925 by the Oregon Historical Society, the town was named for a pioneer settler, William Blodgett. The post office was established under the name of Emerick on April 3, 1888. Less than five weeks later on May 8, the name was changed to Blodgett.

Here are some century-old news items from Blodgett School from the 1920-21 academic year.

•September — Out at Mt. Top, the conditions were not quite satisfactory for a teacher, one could not be secured, and the pupils of that district will be transported to Blodgett, and even Blodgett is without a teacher because teachers desire some convenience and comfort.

• October — Harold Gregory will make his home with Mr. and Mrs. Rollie Davis this winter and also will attend the Blodgett School.

• October — Blodgett School District No. 12 has been unlucky in getting a school teacher so far, but there is hope of securing one soon.

• October — The Blodgett School has a teacher now and will commence Monday the 18th.

• November — Blodgett School was closed Armistice Day.

• December — School was closed last week on account of teacher’s examination. It will start up again Monday, Dec. 20.

• December — A Christmas entertainment and basket social were given at the Blodgett schoolhouse the evening of Dec. 24. About 20 baskets were sold and all enjoyed a good time.

• March — M.H. Lee, the Blodgett School teacher, was on the sick list a few days last week. School was closed for one day.

• April — Sidney Post of Summit is staying at the home of Ed Plunkett and attending the Blodgett School. Clyde Blodgett of Summit is staying at the home of Ike Blodgett and going to school.

• May — Some of the young folks of Blodgett went to Devitt Saturday night to attend the dance. They all had a nice time.

These short news items represent a snapshot in history in the small community west of Philomath.

(Brad Fuqua is publisher and editor of the Philomath News. He can be reached at [email protected]).