Grass Valley’s Union Hill School celebrates 150 years |

Grass Valley’s Union Hill School celebrates 150 years

Submitted to The Union
Students stand in front of Union Hill School during the 1920s in Grass Valley. Union Hill celebrates its 150-year anniversary this year.
Submitted photo

Taking pride in its unique history, Union Hill School celebrates its 150th birthday this year, according to a release.

The original one-room schoolhouse was completed on March 4, 1868, and was located on Union Hill, currently the intersection of East Bennett Street and Greenhorn Road. Built to serve the families of area miners, when it opened in September 1868 the school had approximately 40 students, according to the Morning Union.

During the 1870s, several newspaper articles from the Morning Union referenced Union Hill School picnics, dances and socials that were open to the community.

The school’s rich history is not without intrigue, however. In June 1875, an argument over a trustee election resulted in a stabbing and death. The following month, the Union Hill schoolhouse was destroyed by fire.

The Morning Union reported, “It is supposed that the fire was the work of an incendiary.”

The school was rebuilt, despite the fact that many of the area mines were closing down and inhabitants were leaving the area. By 1878, the county school census indicated that the Union Hill district had 130 children. Eventually, in the 1930s, a third Union Hill School was built on Ophir Hill. It had three classrooms, a library and a small kitchen. It continued to be a hub of the community.

For 150 years, Union Hill School has been an integral part of local families.

Growing from a one-room schoolhouse with one teacher and 40 students to an expansive campus with its current population of 709 students and 40 certificated staff members, one thing has never changed: Principal Joe Limov takes great pride in the fact that “so many families have their roots tied to the history, heritage, and traditions of Union Hill.”

Limov notes it is a common occurrence to see several generations of Union Hill families at school events such as graduation and the annual Pumpkin Patch. The fall festival, sponsored by the Union Hill Parent Teacher Club, celebrates the same sense of community and school pride that was evident even in the district’s earliest years.

The district will formally celebrate its 150th birthday at this year’s annual Pumpkin Patch event from 4 to 7 p.m. on Oct. 5. The Pumpkin Patch is held on the lower campus black top and field. Tickets can be purchased $5 per bundle of 20 (.25 each). Proceeds support the classrooms and clubs that operate each booth.

Limov extends the following invitation to the community, “We welcome all former students, staff, administrators, and all those who have been part of the Union Hill story to join us for this very special celebration.”

One highlight of the planned event will be the opening of the History Hallway, showcasing memorabilia from the school’s 150-year history.

Union Hill School is located on Colfax Highway in Grass Valley.

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