|The red brick
"Old Jeff" elementary school, on the northwest corner
of Highland and Dakota, was built in 1891, and was used for Baby
Boom student overflow even after the adjacent frame and stucco
"New Jeff" was opened in 1949. The old building was
demolished in 1971.
Jeff and New Jeff, 1961
ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE IIN A NEW WINDOW • KENNON BAIRD COLLECTION
Jeff, about 1970
Footprint of Old Jeff
footprint of the old Jefferson School superimposed on a recent
satellite view of the campus.
Jeff 1023 Broadway 1951
OF KATHRYN FEHLIG
ON PHOTO FOR A LARGER VERSION IN A NEW WINDOW.
| Opened in
1949, the new Jefferson School boasted ramps instead of stairs,
air conditioning, varying classroom color schemes (warm colors
on the north side, cool colors on the south), tinted windows,
recessed fluorescent lighting, lockers in the central corridor,
movable desks and chairs, and an "activity alcove" in
each classroom. The building was designed by Kalispell, Montana
architect Fred A. Brinkman (1883-1970), who also designed Helena's
new Broadwater School at 900 Hollins Ave., which likewise opened
in 1949. McKinnon-Decker of Helena was the general contractor.
Jeff and Old Jeff
DAVID HULL COLLECTION
E. Holmes, a Student at Both Schools
from 1958-60, Remembers Old Jeff.
Jeff was remarkable in that it was one of the few tall brick
buildings that survived the 1935 earthquake intact. Another
feature which none of the students will ever forget is the enclosed
three-story spiral fire escape slide mounted to the outside
of the building, which on rare occasions (at least annually)
students were able to enjoy. It was a joy to ride down, one
of the few vivid memories I retain of early elementary school.
"That and the old wooden desks and creaky floors in Old
Jeff; it oozed 19th century charm and you felt like it was a
special place, though a bit spooky. Also, in the winter climbing
up and down "the hill" without sliding down or slipping
was a challenge, particularly if it got icy.
don't build them like that any more. Shame."