First Century

The First Century of Service

Paradise Elementary School District #8 was awarded the first land grant from the Northern Pacific Railroad subsidiary, Northwest Improvement Company in 1910 for the sum of $100. This grant stipulated that the land given must be used for a school.  A second grant in 1911 provided additional space for a large playground. This piece of land was perfectly suited for a school.  It was at a distance from the Clark Fork River, the highway, and railroad tracks and it over looked the river valley, making a spectacular picture.

The school proudly served the busy railroad community of Paradise, Montana, until circumstances began to change as the railroad business changed.  In 1982, people in the valley waited patiently, expectantly wondering why the “WHISTLE” at the railroad tie plant had fallen silent.  The tie plant had burned down, never to be rebuilt.  Paradise was never the same.

Now that beautiful old school fruitlessly waits – patiently, stoically, and silently – for the happy voices, running feet, and laugher of children and the stronger, firmer, encouraging voices of teachers. Enrollment had gradually fallen until 2013 when there were only five (5) students. The school bell has been silent since May 2013 when the school closed its doors. For over 100 years the people of this small rural community have supported their school with their commitment of money, muscle, heart, and prayers.  So now, after adding inside plumbing, steam heat, a metal-tube fire escape, hardwood floors, cement steps and sidewalks, telephone, multi-purpose building (housing a gym, kitchen, and small stage), new metal roofs, carpet, storage with a walk-in freezer, energy efficient lighting and windows, a new septic system, and technology ability, this beautiful old schoolhouse closed.  It closed because it lost the lifeblood for any school . . . children.