Saturday, April 19, 2014

Garcia "Little Red School House" - Good as Gold.

Can't you imagine conditions in the old Arizona Territory during gold rush fever of the mid-19th Century? Bands of fortune hunters pouring in from everywhere. Promises of unimaginable wealth. Gunfights and poke-grabs, dreamers and schemers:  such rapid social and economic change that the long-time residents hardly knew what hit them.

Along the way came workers and services to support the quest for gold. Dry goods stores, saloons, hatters, bakers, livery stables, assay offices and, yes, even schools.  Someone had to educate the kids in the fast-growing hamlet of Wickenburg.

Don Ignacio Garcia, who owned much of the territory in those days, had a soft spot in his heart for kids.  The Don wanted young people to learn to read and write and problem-solve.  So Sr, Garcia did something about his passion and commitment.

Ignacio donated the land and built the adobe log one-roomer for the first territorial School. Hooray, Mr. Garcia.  As time went on and need grew for more space, another school was built -- again, with the generous support of Sr. Garcia.  Then a fire destroyed the facilities.  And, again, Sr. Garcia stepped up.

As the community grew, and emphasized education, Mr. Garcia's Little Red School House gave way to modern educational facilities which continue to this day.  "Little Red" is on the National Register of Historic Places now, serving cultural and community needs of modern-day Wickenburg. A plaque sits near the new-old building, in honor of the generous visionary who did as much for his town as all the nuggets of gold ever pulled from Henry Wickenburg's Vulture Mine. 

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