The Wild Horse School was built in 1911–12 and served until 1964 as the only school in the town of Wild Horse (8513 State Hwy 40 287, Wild Horse, CO 80862), in Cheyenne County. Originally a two-room building, the schoolhouse was expanded when a separate one-room structure was moved to the site in 1934 and connected to the school in 1959. Since it stopped being a school, the building has continued to serve Wild Horse as a community center, and in 1996 it was listed on the State Register of Historic Properties.
The town of Wild Horse traces its origins to 1869, when a cavalry unit found a herd of wild horses at a watering hole and named the spot Wild Horse Station. In 1905 Wild Horse Station got its first postmaster, and in 1906 the town of Wild Horse was surveyed. The town quickly added hotels, banks, and stores. In 1907 Wild Horse formed a school district. At first, a house owned by John Goodier served as the town’s school. As Wild Horse continued to grow, in 1911 Charles Heffner hired Gustav Sanders to build a two-room schoolhouse north of town. Completed in 1912, the wood-frame building faced south and featured a small bell tower above the central entry. Inside, a cloakroom had two doors leading to separate classrooms of equal size. The school usually had two teachers, with grades 1–4 in one classroom and grades 5–8 in the other. In 1917 a fire devastated Wild Horse, but the school’s location north of town saved it from destruction.
The Wild Horse School served the area’s population of largely northern European immigrants—Norwegians, Germans, Irish, and others—who worked on the railroad or were involved in the local ranching and farming industries. Initially the schoolhouse also hosted a variety of social and civic events, but after 1920 most community activities were moved to the new Wild Horse Community Hall. In 1921 Charles Heffner deeded the schoolhouse to the local school district. After that the school offered ninth and tenth grades for a few years before reverting to only grades 1–8.
The Wild Horse School has received one major addition since it was built. In 1934 a separate one-room schoolhouse from Lost Springs, in northern Cheyenne County, was moved to Wild Horse and placed behind the existing school, where it served as a lunchroom. In 1959 the two buildings were joined, making a single schoolhouse with a slightly offset T-shape. At the same time, the building was renovated to add indoor plumbing, heating, and electricity. The connecting hall between the buildings included restrooms and a kitchen, and the newly joined extension continued to be used as a dining area. The larger, modernized schoolhouse once again became a popular site for community events.
In 1964 Cheyenne County consolidated its schools. The Wild Horse School closed, and local students started to attend elementary school in Kit Carson. The Wild Horse Community Club acquired the schoolhouse and used it for reunions, political meetings, and other events. Today the Wild Horse School—located on US 40/287 just north of the Wild Horse Post Office—is owned by Cheyenne County and continues to be used as a community center. It hosts monthly card parties, local church events, private celebrations, and community gatherings.