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From BACK TO THE BASICS by Anne Dyni

An apple tree, dwarfed and misshapen, grows beside Lee Hill Road, barely surviving under a canopy of ponderosa pines. It is a reminder that this was once a schoolyard, and that years ago some child tossed an apple core as far as he could throw it before going back inside for afternoon classes. There weren't many children attending Lee Hill School in the early part of the century because few families lived in this foothill region northwest of Boulder. Ruth Specht's father worked in the mines near Salina on the other side of the ridge. Wanda Burch's father, Frank Burch, owned two parcels of land nearby where he raised hay and cattle. Wanda rode a mile to school each day and tied her horse in a loaflng shed behind the schoolhouse. Hanging on either side of her saddle were her books, a lunch bucket and grain for her horse. On cold winter days, Mrs. Tyrer asked the children to bring a vegetable to add to the stew pot she sometimes prepared before class. The aroma as it simmered on top of the heating stove was always distracting to the children during morning recitation.

For Marie Tyrer, teaching in this small mountain school was convenient because she lived nearby and could walk to class with her three young sons. The two oldest were students and the third, a toddler, played quietly in a corner of the room or napped while school was in session. Mrs. Tyrer was an accomplished musician and to augment her meager salary, she gave private organ and piano lessons to the children.

With no playground equipment, the children created their own activities and played games such as baseball, tag, and fox and geese. A shallow cave just to the south of the schoolyard provided a delightful stage for make-believe games during recess.

By 1936, only the Reed family still had children in the Lee Hill district, so Mrs. Reed taught her children at home. The schoolhouse was gone by 1960. Nothing remains on the site except an apple tree, barely surviving in the shade of the pines.

In 1960, the schoolhouse was being dismantled.
Wanda Burch Armstead Collection.


District Formation: ca 1885
Annexed to Boulder District in 1951.

School Building: Sandstone. One-room.
Razed ca 1960.

Historic Location: East side of Lee Hill Road, 1.5 miles from Olde Stage Road.

Mrs. Tyrer is on the left, 1918.

Wanda Burch Armstead Collection.

Sources of information:
Interview: Wanda Burch Armstead
Tape: Carnegie Branch Library for Local History,
Boulder: Ruth Anderson Specht

"Lee Hill Seeks Annexation to Boulder Schools,"
Boulder Daily Camera,
September 27, 1951.