On The Map: Dairyland

On The Map: Originals

The following is an origin story of a school founded in the early 1900s that still holds its place… on the map.

In 1915 some families living in rural Madera County were tired of making their children ride the train all the way to Chowchilla every day to school. After all it was uphill, both ways.

The families decided to petition for a school closer to home. Their request was granted.

Although the first school board members were elected at a meeting held in a tent, the school was opened in time for the beginning of the school year in September of 1915.

The school house was originally a residence that belonged to a Mr. Hummel. It was later renamed the DeSpain house. On day one, they had 19 students. By the second year a new school building was built on the grounds to house the 45 students attending that term.

The school itself doesn’t look all that different from when it was built. At that time it was actually surrounded by cotton, potatoes, but mostly dairy cows… and so the school and the area are both named… Dairyland, on the map of Madera County.

I don’t like to end these on a dark note. But do you remember the Chowchilla school bus kidnapping in 1976? That was this school.

With Emily Lucas behind the camera, I’m AJ Fox.

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