Moab History: Moab’s Central School (1898-1934)

Moab – Central School Football Team, likely late teens or early ’20s. [Veronica Stocks, Moab Museum Collection]

As the school year winds down for Grand County students, photos and stories from the Museum’s Collection remind us that numerous buildings and teachers have served local students over the generations.

Central School met the educational needs of young Moab students for 36 years, from 1898 to 1934.

“The new school building is rapidly approaching completion,” reported the August 26, 1898, Grand Valley Times. “The bell has been hung in the past week and its clear tones can be heard over the valley.”

By the 1930s, the Central School building had deteriorated significantly and was in poor shape, with cracked and bulging walls. Its demolition, however, was an emotional occasion. The building was demolished and replaced in 1934.

“The razing of the old Central school which is a historic landmark of Moab brings pangs of sadness and a feeling of close to regret in the hearts of many citizens,” reported the Times-Independent on March 15, 1934. “Hundreds of local people, many of them past middle age, received their grade schooling in the old structure, and the happiest years of their lives were spent in its classrooms.”

The same newspaper edition went on to say, “Classes were dismissed at 2pm on that day, and all desks and equipment were removed to temporary quarters in the LDS church.”

Today, the Central School building lives on in memories, oral histories, and photographs.

Photo of the entire student body of Central School, K-12, two years after the school was built before expanding population required additional wings.

This article was originally published in the Moab Sun News.