Foidel Canyon School House
At a Glance
Date Built: 1923 or 1924
Restoration Start Date: 2009
Completion Date: 2013
The Foidel Canyon School is a significant part of the local history of schools in Routt County with the architectural style representative of 1920s rural school construction. At that time, much of the county was devoted to ranching and agricultural pursuits. In the isolated areas, the one‐room schoolhouse had an important part in the lives of the ranch and farm families where severe winters and mountainous terrain made it difficult for children to attend school in town. The schools were also important for social gatherings and the focal point of the community’s religious, social, and political activities.
Settlement in Foidel Canyon did not come until some years after the discovery of gold at Hahn’s Peak in 1861 and after the first settlement at Steamboat Springs in 1875. According to local history, the Foidel family was the first to settle here in 1887. The site is comprised of 3 structures: the schoolhouse, the teacherage, and a coal shed, and is an excellent example of rural school buildings of the period.
The use of the one‐room schoolhouses in Routt County declined in the 1940s when some of the children were bused into larger urban schools. In 1962, with the consolidation of the county school districts, the doors of the one‐room schools closed forever. Some of these buildings are now private residences, but many are vacant and ravaged by time, weather, and vandals. Foidel School is among the vacant ones, but the Energy Fuels Corporation took steps in the mid-1980s to secure and protect the buildings from further deterioration.
Twentymile Coal, LLC, the current owner, in cooperation with Historic Routt County, the Historical Society of Oak Creek and Phippsburg, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps., Bud Rodgers, and other interested partners have completed two rehabilitation projects at the school site. The crew stabilized and grouted the building foundations, repaired or installed new siding, removed lead paint, scraped, primed, and painted the exterior elevations of the buildings, reglazed and repaired windows, improved drainage and cleaned out the interiors. Ongoing, cooperative preservation/restoration efforts focus on stabilizing and preserving the School and associated structures and making them available for historical education and related purposes.