A Snapshot History of the White River Community
Dee Weiss, WRCA
The origin of the old schoolhouse on County Road 17,
now the White River Community Association, dates back to the year 1889.
During that year a school site was selected at the mouth of Big
Beaver Basin. A Two-story schoolhouse was built that served as
both school and community gathering place. This property,
known to most of us as the Buckles Ranch, was approximately
seventeen miles up County Road 8, which is also the Flat Tops Trail
Some time prior to 1920 a flood consumed the
two-story building and rendered the schoolhouse unusable. A
new site was chosen, materials were salvaged and the school was
rebuilt as a single story structure. Today it stands on this
same site on County Road 17, just south of Buford.
The school reopened in the mid to late 1920's and
continued as a school until 1948. At that time the school
closed due to lack of students.
Between 1930 and 1940 the kitchen was added for the
purpose of serving hot lunches to the children. This addition
was an old log cabin that had set on the far east end of the Buckles
Interesting to remember is that County Road 8, in
that area, was previously on the south side of the White River.
This placed the school on the main drag.
Today the old school house can be seen from the Flat
Tops Trail Scenic Byway in this picturesque location.
Over the years, there have been several owners of
the property. However, it was Minewa Bell Roosevelt (wife of
Elliott Roosevelt) who gave the school house to the White River
Community in 1953 in memory of her father, Alfonso Bell. Those
present at the dedication of the building were members of the
surrounding community and Elinor Roosevelt.
Although the school house was used for community
gatherings, it was not until 1961 that folks from the community
formed what we now call the "White River Community Association".
By-laws were adopted and Bob Buckles, Jack Holzberlein and Harry
Tucker became the first officers. Members at that time came
from the area between Miller Creek and Trapper's Lake.
Over the years, the historic building has been kept
functional through the voluntary generosity of the club's members.
Though the building has weathered many storms, time and the elements
had taken their toll. It was completely renovated and restored to
its original 1950's state in 2008 thanks to a grant from the
Colorado State Historical Society and the generosity of residents in
the White River Valley
The schoolhouse, turned clubhouse is still the site
for fun and neighborly support.
For more information contact: Dee Weiss at
970-878-0955 or Boots Campbell at 970-878-5677 or e-mail