In September of 1894, the citizens of Spencer petitioned for the formation of a school district. The petition was granted and School District #15 was soon organized. The first school was held in January 1895 in a rented log cabin. After two years, the booming mining town of Spencer decided that they could afford their own school building and in 1897 they bought a lot with a stable on it and converted the stable into a school building. By 1902 the Spencer citizens decided they needed a more substantial school in a more suitable location. They tore down the old schoolhouse and built a new building at a convenient point near the center of the town. This structure served Spencer and the surrounding area as a schoolhouse and social center of many decades, coming to an end after the abandonment of the Lake City Branch of the Rio Grande Railroad and the development of better roads and school buses. The schoolhouse was finally abandoned after the 1945/46 school year. The school is one of the few building left standing in the ghost town of Spencer. During the 1960s and 1970s the schoolhouse was used sporadically as a cow camp and hunting camp.
The 1902 Spencer School complex includes a well, shed, privies, and teacher’s cabin. The school was important to the educational and social history of the area and is southwestern Gunnison County’s best surviving example of a typical one-room rural schoolhouse.
Address: 21miles SW of Gunnison
Legal: part of Sec 4, T47N, R2W, NMPM
Current Use: Tourist Site
Contact: Bureau of Land Management
Designated: January 21, 1997