Milepost #928

Jun 20, 2019

By Cindy Justice, Image from Cindy Justice

TITLE: MARY PUTNAM HENCK EXHIBIT: This week’s image is of the new Mary Putnam Henck exhibit at the Mountain History Museum on Peninsula Drive in Lake Arrowhead. According to “From the Memories of Putnam Henck,” a memoir written by Mary Henck’s son, the family moved to the mountains in 1923 when Putnam was six years old. There was no school in the area, so Mary, who had 20 years of teaching experience in Los Angeles, requested a school from the county. She was told that if she wanted a school then she would have to start one. She rounded up 13 children from Blue Jay and Cedar Glen. JP Van Nuys, a Lake Arrowhead developer, found a building that was only used in the summertime. The school opened on September 22, 1924. Within two weeks 25 students were enrolled. The county furnished desks, books and paper supplies which were mostly secondhand. Putnam remembered the song books had every song by a German composer cut out of them. In the middle of the room was a potbelly stove that Putnam said gave out terrific heat and he recalled one instance when some kids put 22 caliber bullet shells in it. During 1925, the community got together and formed a school board. A bond issue was passed granting $40,000 for a new school. The school, which housed first to eighth grades still stands. It is the Lake Arrowhead Fire Station #91. When it opened on September 11, 1926 there were 43 students and teachers. A school bus built on an REO Speed Wagon chassis was put into service. In the late 1920s Mary was elected to the school board, a position she held for nearly 20 years. She was also a substitute teacher during most of that time. The kids never understood how Mary could be writing on the blackboard and without turning around say, “Johnny, quit blowing spit balls!”

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