A handful of residents inhabit the former mining town of Riverton (Minnesota), which is located between Brainerd and Crosby-Ironton on Highway 210. Although the iron ore mining industry ceased operation years ago, this proud community celebrated their town's centennial milestone on Saturday, September 7 with festivities that rivaled towns much larger than their population of 117 (2010 census). Dick and I drove a 1934 Chevy Coupe in the parade, ate lunch in the park, listened to live music, and enjoyed an old-fashioned ice cream social. Hanging on the wall in Riverton's city hall, was a display of old photos chronicaling the community's history. Among the photos hung images of Riverton's Roosevelt School.
Dick lived in Ironton until his family moved east of Brainerd on the property where our bed and breakfast is located. At the time of his move, he was assigned to Roosevelt School in Riverton where he attended fourth through eighth grade. Dick said the school's first floor had a gymnasium with an adjacent boiler room, a lunchroom, an industrial arts shop, and regular classrooms. A huge auditorium with a stage was on the second floor directly above the gymnasium. The second floor also included a library, the principal/superintendent's office, and more classrooms. All of the hallways had terrazzo floors with hardwood floors in the classrooms. During the timespan that Dick attended the school, new blackboards and cabinets were installed. "If the desks were orange, then the cabinets were orange. If the desks were blue, the cabinets were blue. The school's original windows were replaced with aluminum frame, hinged windows that "opened outward with a screen on the inside. The windows' upper portion was replaced with foggy-looking glass block that had intermittent orange, turquoise, yellow, and green (or blue) glass blocks to accent the classrooms' decor." It has 1960s vibes, don't you think? (I included detailed descriptions in this post because I was having great fun listening to Dick describe the images embedded in his memory. It's amazing what our minds remember so vividly.) New lighting and lowered ceilings completed the remodel.
This photo shows the school's ornate entrance.
Classes were held at the school from 1916 through 1975-76. The school was then abandoned and steadily deteriorated due to neglect and vandals. It was torn down in 2003. That always makes me sad. It brutally finalizes a chapter that is important in the lives of so many... like Dick.