Coffeen School Endures Long History

Crews work to finish new Coffeen School this summer. (Photo by Pat Blair)
Crews work to finish new Coffeen School this summer. (Photo by Pat Blair)

The newest building to carry that name is under construction now, on the site of its predecessor on Sheridan Avenue. It will be ready for classes next fall.

The first Coffeen School was built in 1910 – at a time when Sheridan County School District 2 was, in fact, District 7. The school was described by the local newspaper as a “handsome eight-room structure” that was expected to relieve crowded conditions of the city's schools for some time to come. The school was sited on Coffeen Avenue, on an island of land donated by Henry Coffeen, and presently occupied by First Federal Bank. The newspaper reported the school's eight rooms would provide seating for pupils in that entire section of town. Cost of the structure was just over $36,000.

By the 1960s, the old school was showing the ravages of time – and of the city's growth. By then, three nearby houses had been acquired and converted to classrooms for students that the original school building could no longer accommodate. A new Coffeen School was built – on Sheridan Avenue. Records indicate the last classes were held in the old school in 1966, then moved to the new school in 1967. The city school district still carried the number 7 at the time.

In 1970, the old Coffeen school was demolished, and the land sold by sealed bid. An interesting footnote to the school's history is that Coffeen's will specified that if the site was ever used for a purpose other than a school, the land was to revert to the Coffeen family.

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Old Coffeen School, photo from book by Charles Popovich.

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