School House

The Picayune School

The School House was originally on the Chukchansi Picayune rancheria. Many people did not treat the Chukchansi Indians very well, so it was felt necessary to build a school especially for them. The first school was initially nothing more than a shack that was made of lumber from an old saloon from Finegold. It was replaced in 1913 by this school building, comparable to those attended by the other children in the area. (See photos on the east wall.)

Just about as many white children attended this school as Chukchansi, and they all got along fine. Actually, the school was better equipped than the other schools in the area, having been given a generator to pump their well.

About 1933, a kitchen was added, equipped with a butane stove. The kitchen was originally on the west side where the door is but had to be removed when the school was moved from Road 417 and Quartz Mountain Road to the museum. The children could warm their tortillas on the stove and since they had to prepare their own meals, the teacher taught them mathematics by counting the beans they would cook. They learned to add and subtract. The Indians learned to make tortillas the way the Spaniards made them. The original sink-sideboard, and electric refrigerator are now located in the kitchen of the adobe.

The rare 1863 square grand piano was donated to us in pieces and had to be reassembled onsite. Check out the story of the piano player.

Be sure to check out the 1915 teacher’s rules that is located on the teachers desk. (Copies are on sale in the gift shop.) (Revised August 2020)