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Valentine Schoolhouses

For the most part, seeing history decay into moldering rubble can be a solemn experience. While aesthetically fascinating, crumbling architecture means the slow dissolution of resident spirits and their untold stories.

There are some branches of history, though, for which you just can't mourn the passing. One such branch rots away in the form of two schoolhouses in Valentine, about 30 miles northeast of Kingman.

Situated on an isolated section of Hualapai Indian Reservation, the first is a two-story brick building originally known as the Truxton Canyon Indian School. It opened with the coming of the 1900s, before the town was renamed Valentine, and served children of the Hualapai, as well as the nearby Apache, Havasupai, Hopi, Mohave, Navajo and Papago.

While commendable that the U.S. government would provide an education for the tribes, the children's schooling was in large part utilized in the widespread assimilation of Native Americans into white culture, especially with regard to western religion. According to obviously biased records, the school was integral "in teaching the Word to many hundreds of young people who would, in turn, carry the Gospel back to the many tribes they represented," though admittedly parents were resistant, which made it difficult to separate the children from, as the scholars put it, "their primitive methods or nature."

Of course, the whites didn't want to assimilate with the Indians too closely, so a separate school was built for the Caucasian kids 1 mile north and on the other side of the railroad tracks. Built in 1924, the smaller wooden building is known today simply as the Red Schoolhouse and serves as a place for those who want to practice their aerosol penmanship.

The Red Schoolhouse and the Indian School closed down in 1936 and 1969, respectively, though both continue to stand. Unfortunately for the curious, the more imposing Indian School is fenced off and guarded by watchful neighbors, so only the occasional bat gets to snoop around inside.

The Red Schoolhouse, on the other hand, remains accessible along with its two outhouses. Given the condition of the floor, though, entry may result in an express trip to the basement. And the rats welcome the nourishment.

Weird Arizona


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