Friday, January 29, 2010

Lone Tree Bench ...

Just a quick, random photo for today ... I took this shot a couple of years ago at the old Lone Tree Bench school, out in far southern Blaine county. It's a little one-room building, and it closed (probably for good) a few years ago ... perhaps the most remote little schoolhouse in a state that's known for remote little schoolhouses.

And yep, this is a self-portrait.


  1. My daughter is the fourth generation country school attendee, and I had the great privilege of teaching in one for five years. They are very dear to me, and we fight to keep the Cohagen school open and alive. Our district is absorbing two other little districts this summer that lost the battle; one of the districts is the one I taught in.

    This picture is hard for me to look at, and it makes me a little sad, really. (Not that you're a depressing photo subject...) Images of ranch kids playing on a tiny playground on the prairie are part of me. I need to get used to images of playgrounds reclaimed by the prairie, now, I guess.

  2. Well, I'm certainly not the greatest photo subject ... but I absolutely know what you mean. The abandoned country schools are evocative places, but there's a terrible sadness to them, since they were the centers of rural communities that are no longer with us.

    One of my greatest hopes for rural Montana is that as many small schools as possible will be able to hang on, because they're really essential in keeping the rural life going. Schools are the hub of so much community activity, and they're vital for young families that are considering a rural life. (It might be one thing to have your high-school kid spending a couple hours a day commuting to and from school, but you sure wouldn't want a first-grader spending that much time on a bus ... so that means if you have young kids and there's no school, you'll have to live in town.)

    And once the rural schools go ... tragic as it is, there'll be no way to bring them back.