Windsor Schools: RE-4
This information was provided by Rachel Kline of the Windsor-Severance Historical Society
Windsor’s school district, Weld Re-4, was established in Weld County in 1870. Its first school, however, had been built four years prior, one and one-half miles west and one-quarter mile south of the original Windsor Town Hall (just south of Safeway). Built by neighboring families, the schoolhouse provided education for approximately 20 children in the western Weld County and eastern Larimer County area, until the Windsor and Timnath school districts were organized.
After creating District 4, Windsor residents established Whitney School by Whitney Ditch, south of town. Among the first school teachers were Miss Amelia Plowhead, Miss Brown, Miss Emma Hubbell, and Miss Mate Smith. After Windsor became well established, residents moved the schoolhouse to the west in 1883. R.S. Dickey took charge of the school as the sole teacher. Later the building was divided into two rooms in order to employ another teacher. In 1886, the old frame structure was replaced by a two-story, four-room brick building and moved to Walnut Street. Again, to provide more space, residents constructed another building on the corner of third and Walnut in 1904, known as Park School. Population growth of the general community also called for the creation of more district schools throughout the area including New Liberty, Riverside, Bracewell, Whitehall, Severance, and Oklahoma.
Around this time, most female teachers were required to live in a “teacherage” or with a family. Windsor had at least two teacherages near New Liberty and Whitehall that set specific rules for their teachers to live by. In 1915, a few of these rules included:
1) You will not marry during the term of your contract
2) You will not keep company with men
3) You may not loiter in downtown ice cream stores
4) You may not dress in bright colors
5) You may under no circumstances dye your hair
6) You must wear at least two petticoats.
Teachers were also expected to keep the school neat and clean by sweeping the floor at least once a day, scrubbing the floor at least once a week, cleaning the blackboards at least once
a day, and starting the fire at 7 a.m. so the room would be warm by 8 a.m.
With the advent of the of the Sugar Beet Factory in 1903 and the new residents that the industry brought, the Windsor School District found its schools wholly inadequate for the incoming number of children. By 1907, the school census listed 495 persons of school age in the district with 207 of them being children of German-Russian parentage. To accommodate the increasing population, Windsor residents voted to construct an additional wing on Park School in 1913. But not even the new additions provided enough space, and so Windsor residents contemplated construction of a new high school building. In 1918, the Windsor High School was constructed with George E. Tozer as its first principal. Not long after the construction of the new high school, the Windsor School District consolidated and sold the Whitehall and New Liberty schools and teacherages as residences. The school board then voted on the creation of a junior high school which was constructed in 1921.
Windsor gained national notoriety in 1924 when its high school basketball team won the US Basketball National Championship held in Chicago. The ball-handling wizardry of the Windsor players impressed the Chicago media so much so that the media dubbed the team “wizards” on the court. The name stuck, and upon the team’s return home, the Wizards replaced the Windsor Bulldog mascot. During the championship, Frazier’s Drug Store served up the daily basketball scores along with its fountain sodas. Updated scores were provided by the telegraph station manager, who ran scores across the tracks to the store where they were lettered on a big mirror behind the counter for Windsor residents. Large celebrations were held in Windsor and Greeley to honor the team.
The mid-century ushered in another population growth spurt in Windsor, requiring the construction of additional schools. In 1961, Tozer primary school was constructed with additions constructed in 1962 and later in 1978. Tragedy struck in 1964 when the junior high school caught on fire and was partially destroyed. Reconstruction of the portion of the building damaged by the fire was finished in 1966. In 1975, the new Windsor High School was constructed to the northwest of downtown which still hosts the Windsor Wizards. In 2010, the old Windsor High School was beautifully restored to house the Windsor Town Hall.
Today the Windsor School District includes Mountain View Elementary, Grandview Elementary, Range View Elementary, Skyview Elementary, Tozer Primary School, Severance Middle School, Windsor Middle School, Windsor High School, and Windsor Charter Academy.
To learn more about the history of Windsor and Severance or to find out how you can help preserve this history, visit www.thewshs.org. Watch for the Windsor-Severance Historical Society’s new book, Windsor, a photographic history from Arcadia Publishing coming this fall.