Historic Westcliff School, District 24

historic Westcliff SchoolThe handsome historic Westcliff School building is located in the town of Westcliffe, Colorado, on 4th Street next to Memorial Park. Townspeople call it the “Rock School.” Built of concrete and fieldstone, this one-room schoolhouse was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1989 and refurbished in 1990.

Enter the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad

In 1881, the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad built a narrow gauge line into the area, and as residents built their homes around the terminus the town of Westcliffe was formed and incorporated in 1887. Of course, the town needed a school, and one was built with an inscription above the door “Westcliff School 1891.” Looking at the name of Westcliffe spelled without the e seems strange today, but at the time it was spelled three different ways.

At recess the school children played many group games but the favorite was, “Walking the School Ledge.” The object of the game was to walk the length of the foundation ledge without falling off. If you did fall off, you had to go to the end of the line.

District C1 and the historic Westcliff School

The one-room schoolhouses across Custer County, Colorado, were consolidated into District CI in 1948. The historic Westcliff School, originally for District 24, was used until 1955 when the students were moved into the new school. Over the years the building has been used for many community gatherings, for the youth, historical societies, quilters, artists, various lecture groups, and as a museum.