Roberts School History
The first school in Roberts was a one-room log building with a dirt roof and hand-made desks and seats, built on the Barry Ranch in 1897. Early day teachers at the small school included Martha Holland, S.L. Chapman and Estelle Province. This first school was replaced by one located where the Methodist Church now stands, with Florence McIntosh as teacher. Students wishing to attend high school had to travel to Joliet or Red Lodge. With the rapid growth of Roberts’ population, foresighted residents voted to build a larger school in 1916. Land was purchased from Lillian Thompson for a sum of $1,000 and construction proceeded with Jarvi construction of Billings completing the two-story red brick schoolhouse in only ten months, at a total cost of $20,000. The school year had barely begun when the Spanish flu epidemic of 1917-19 hit the community, forcing closure of the school until it had passed. It was during this period that the school was used as a temporary hospital for those afflicted with the disease.
Two barns were erected to shelter the horses of students who rode to school, and outhouses were provided, prior to indoor plumbing. The Class of 1923, the first class to graduate from Roberts School, consisted of Edith Hunt (who later taught in Roberts School from 1932-1953), Winifred Hunter, Ruth DeVries, Hannah Schanck, and Kenneth Weidman. The high school’s motto “We climb, though the way be rugged” has served the school well over the years since that first graduating class of 1923.
In 1929 plans were made to add a gymnasium for the “Roberts Rattlers” to play ball. Prior to that, the teams would practice in the assembly room, located on the first floor of the school, or in the Silaka Hall, a converted barn on Main Street. The Roberts School gym was considered to be the most outstanding facility in Carbon County at the time, and was the site of basketball tournaments and exhibitions.
A second addition on the south side of the school was added in the 1950s; that addition included elementary classrooms, offices, and a self-contained cafeteria and kitchen. Prior to that time, students had to carry their own lunches or walk uptown a block to a rented building, where school lunches were served.
With more variety added to the school curriculum, a further addition in the 1990s added a music room to eliminate the necessity of music classes being held in the cafeteria. Two more elementary classrooms and a weight-training room were added at the same time.
With the coming of the technology age, a second computer lab and a new library were added in time for the 2003 all-class reunion, thanks to an amazing, generous donation from the Smith family. In addition to the Smith family contribution, tax-payers also voted in favor of adding a new gymnasium in conjunction with the computer lab and library.