Built in 1911, the Lodore School is located off Colorado State Highway 318 in what is now Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge in Moffat County. The building has served as a rural community center throughout its existence and also functioned as a schoolhouse for much of the early twentieth century. In 1975 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The area known as Brown’s Hole or Browns Park lies along the Green River near the Colorado–Utah border. Relatively isolated, it was used in the nineteenth century as a trappers’ rendezvous point as well as a place for outlaws to hide. Around 1880, local ranchers built a log school building and organized a school district.
In 1911 the log schoolhouse was replaced by the Lodore School, named after the nearby Canyon of Lodore along the Green River. Built by the carpenters Evers, Hunt, and Hoover on land donated by Mrs. Harry Hoy, the Lodore School was a single-story building with wooden planking, a gable roof, and a cupola-style bell tower. Because settlers were widely dispersed in the area, cabins were built near the school to allow children to live nearby during the week. In addition to serving as a schoolhouse, the building was used frequently for school plays, dances, parties, funerals, and other community events; it was one of the only public buildings where the rural residents in this corner of Colorado could gather.
The building operated as a school until 1947, when Moffat County schools were consolidated. In the mid-1950s the Brown’s Hole Home Demonstration Club (now known as the Brown’s Hole Homemakers Club) began to maintain the building. The club hosted dances, raffles, Christmas parties, and other activities there. In 1970 the Lodore School and the surrounding land was taken over by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the newly established Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge. The Brown’s Hole Homemakers Club received a special permit allowing it to continue to use and maintain the building.
In the early 2000s, the Homemakers Club and the Fish and Wildlife Service started to restore the school. Completed in April 2005, the three-year project gave the building an accessible entrance, new siding, better insulation, upgraded wiring, a new antique wood stove, and a new roof. In addition, the Fish and Wildlife Service built heated toilets nearby. Now known as Lodore Hall, the building continues to serve as an important community center for rural residents in far northwestern Colorado and parts of Utah and Wyoming.