Former Lincoln Creek Day School - Fort Hall Reservation ID
In 1933, the Public Works Administration allotted $10,000 (about $203,000 in 2020 dollars) for the construction of three small schools on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation (home of five Shoshone-Bannock Tribes), one of which was the Lincoln Creek Day School. The schools were completed in 1935 and described by Rosalie Springfellow in early 1936:
“Three fine school buildings have been erected on the reservation: one at Lincoln Creek, one at Ross Fork and one on Bannock Creek. Compared with the little red schoolhouse of a bygone year, this new school is a palace, with hardwood floors, insulated walls to keep out the cold in winter and heat in summer; double windows; electric lights; deep wells with electric pumps; shower baths; laundry tubs for the Indian mothers to wash their clothes; a large dining room and kitchen where hot noon dinners will be prepared and served. For the teacher and the housekeeper, who will make up the staff, there is a modern apartment in a separate wing of the building, with two bedrooms, large living room with a fireplace; kitchenette with breakfast nook; and central heating for the entire building” (Indians at Work, 1936).
The Lincoln Creek Day School, as well as many other American Indian schools built during the era, can be viewed as symbolic of the changed relationship between the federal government and American Indians: “The Indian Reorganization Act [1934, also called the “Indian New Deal”] put more power in the hands of Native Americans, and day schools began to replace boarding schools as a reflection of that shift. Rather than forcibly removing children to boarding schools where their culture would be stripped from them, the day schools sought to keep students in their homes where their sense of Native American identity and culture could be nurtured” (Nomination Form, National Register of Historic Places, 2010).
Unfortunately, the Lincoln Creek Day School seems to have suffered from poor attendance and was closed in 1944. It gradually deteriorated after World War II. In recent years, however, it has been restored and a sign outside the building reads, “Lincoln Creek Day School Renovation and Future Community Center.”
“Ickes and Aides To Speed Projects With Inspectors,” The Idaho Statesman (Boise, Idaho), October 20, 1933, p. 5.
“Federal Indian School To Close,” The Post-Register (Idaho Falls, Idaho), April 25, 1935, p. 11.
Rosalie C. Springfellow, “The New Deal and Indian Education at Fort Hall,” Indians at Work, Vol. 3, No. 14 (March 1, 1936), p.42 (a publication of the U.S. Office of Indian Affairs).
“Lincoln Creek Day School,” National Register of Historic Places, nomination form and photographs (accessed November 24, 2021).
Project originally submitted by Brent McKee on November 25, 2021.
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