The Pleasant Park School is located at 22551 Pleasant Park Road, about three and a half miles southeast of Aspen Park in rural Jefferson County. Built by local families in 1894, the one-room school served Pleasant Park students until school consolidation in the early 1950s. In 1956 it was acquired by Pleasant Park Grange No. 156, which had held meetings there since its establishment in 1907 and continues to use the building regularly today.
Early Pleasant Park
Located in southwest Jefferson County near what is now Aspen Park and Conifer, Pleasant Park was settled in the early 1870s by a group of seven North Carolina families led by Harvey Leander Corbin. Later that decade, the growing Pleasant Park community built the area’s first school on Oehlmann Park Road. Local men spent a day constructing the half log, half dugout building using logs donated by Jess Ray, who owned a sawmill in what is now Aspen Park.
School and Grange
By the early 1890s, Pleasant Park outgrew its original school on Oehlmann Park Road. In 1894 local resident Joseph Huebner built a new school on Pleasant Park Road with the help of the Kuehster and Legault families. Completed at a cost of $750, the school was a one-story wood-frame building. Clapboard walls stood on a stone foundation, with square shingles and a decorative frieze under the front-gabled roof, which faced south toward the road.
Inside, an entry vestibule provided small rooms to hang coats before leading into the schoolhouse’s single room, which featured plaster walls, tongue-and-groove wood floors, and a raised platform at the north end for the teacher. Because the Pleasant Park School was the only school in the area, the teacher usually taught a wide range of ages at any given time. In the late 1890s, for example, the school had about thirty students between the ages of six and sixteen.
For more than forty years, the Pleasant Park School maintained an irregular academic calendar. Because the school was located at an elevation of nearly 8,500 feet and many students had to travel several miles to get there, holding winter classes proved impractical. As a result, the school held sessions in the spring and summer. It did not shift to a standard September-through-May academic schedule until the late 1930s.
Meanwhile, in March 1907 Pleasant Park residents organized Grange No. 156—a local chapter of the national agricultural organization—and started holding their meetings at the school. In exchange for use of the building, the Grange shared maintenance expenses with the school district. The group’s fifty-six charter members chose Joseph Huebner’s wife, Clara, as their first master. Participation declined in the 1910s and 1920s, with the locally prominent Kuehster and Huebner families keeping the organization alive largely on their own. In addition to Grange meetings, the Pleasant Park School has also hosted meetings of the local 4-H Club and neighborhood association, as well as Episcopal Church services.
In the late 1940s, attendance at the Pleasant Park School declined to the single digits, and in 1950 it closed as part of a county-wide school reorganization and consolidation. The school reopened in 1953, when students in grades 4–6 came to Pleasant Park to reduce overcrowding at the Conifer School, but it closed for good when the new West Jefferson Elementary School opened in Conifer in the spring of 1955.
In 1956 Grange No. 156 acquired the Pleasant Park School, which it had shared with the school district for nearly fifty years. The Grange soon installed electricity and in about 1958 built a rear shed addition with a kitchen. Over the next decade, membership swelled as the group hosted frequent dinners and other events at the former school building. Grange activity declined again in the 1970s, but the group continued to hold monthly meetings and potlucks.
In 1996 the Pleasant Park School was listed in the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties and was soon restored with the help of a State Historical Fund grant. Today it is the only building in the area dating to before 1900. The Grange continues to hold regular meetings there and also operates a donation-based rest stop where tired cyclists can pick up a Gatorade at the top of the long climb up Deer Creek Canyon and High Grade Road.