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As It Was: Schools Open after Railroad Reaches Butte Valley, Calif.

The arrival of the railroad to the remote Butte Valley of Siskiyou County, Calif., brought a burgeoning population with it.  A box factory opened in 1911, followed soon by several sawmills and moulding mills.  Electricity arrived the same year.

The first high school classes in Butte Valley were held in one room of the two-story grammar school built in 1908.  Ten of the 15 students that started school in 1916 finished the first term.

In 1918 a new high school was built in Dorris, the first such building in Butte Valley.  In 1926, the classes moved to a church basement in Macdoel, 1l miles to the south, for a year before moving back to Dorris, although some of the students chose to remain at Macdoel.  Years later the church was sold and turned into a tavern.

In 1927, the Dorris high school classes split into two high schools, one at Dorris and the other at Tennant.  The Tennant school closed in 1947 and its students returned to Dorris.

Present-day Dorris has a high school and K-8 elementary and a stated mission of “All of us working together for the education of students.”

Source: White, Royce. “A Brief History of Butte Valley High School.” The Siskiyou Pioneer. Butte Valley Edition, Yreka, Siskiyou County Historical Society, 1956.

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Gail Fiorini-Jenner is a writer and teacher. Her first novel "Across the Sweet Grass Hills", won the 2002 WILLA Literary Award. She co-authored four histories with Arcadia Publishing: Western Siskiyou County: Gold & Dreams, Images of the State of Jefferson, The State of Jefferson: Then & Now, which placed in the 2008 Next Generation Awards for Nonfiction and Postcards from the State of Jefferson.  She co-authored Historic Inns & Eateries in the State of Jefferson, featuring 30 locations and their recipes.