In the early part of this century Crested Butte not only had the largest enrollment in the county, but many of the children were immigrants, creating a challenging language barrier for the teachers.
Until 1923, high school students had to “board out” in Gunnison, possibly making it home for the occasional weekend. In 1927 the still present yellow brick school house was built to house the High School…the Rock School House became storage space.
And then The Big Mine closed! By 1953 both the town’s and the school’s population plummeted, forcing the closure of The Red Brick Schoolhouse to save heat.
Now, “The Red Brick” was built with a shallow pitched roof, requiring shovel maintenance throughout the winter. When the tax base shrunk, the budget was cut and the roof wasn’t shoveled…it caved in the Winter of 1964-65. They tore it down the following summer.
Parts of “The Red Brick” are still around… Martha and Whitey Sporcich’s front porch is decked with the old flooring…The Ruggera plot at The Crested Butte Cemetery is outlined with some of the sandstone accents which once decorated brick masonry.
Sources: Martha and Whitey Sporcich, Kathy Sporcich, Nettie Kapushion, Henrietta Raines and especially John Somrak who attended school in “The Old Rock”, “The Red Brick” and “The Yellow Brick”. George Sibley’s “A Crested Butte Primer” is always a great source and good reading.