Three classmates of the Niwot School, grades 1-8, met at the Left Hand Grange No.9 in Niwot on Wednesday afternoon, May 31st. The gathering was coordinated by the Niwot Historical Society with photos and images collected that will be added to the Niwot history records.
Left to right in the photo: Jo Ann (Sampson) Bell, John Montoya, and Nancy (Dodd) Hindman. All three are members of the Niwot Historical Society and graduated together from the Niwot School.
John’s grandfather was Juan Apadoca, the Niwot Section House Foreman who was transferred from Trinidad, Colorado, to Niwot by the Colorado Southern Railroad in 1926. Juan and Amelia Apodaca, along with their children, lived in the Section House that was provided by the railroad. Two of John’s sisters graduated a few years before these classmates; Delia (Montoya) Hammonds and Dora (Montoya) Mares. Dora and Delia were about a year apart in age, but they were in the same grade level.
The three classmates, on Wednesday, shared memories of the school and growing up in Niwot. John said that whenever someone had an orange in their lunchbox, there would be a scramble to get the orange peel because the boys would strap the rind to their shoes and try to climb up the inside of the two-story fire escape at the school and then slide down. He recalled some of the hard labor on farms; for one task they used a special hook/bladed tool that they would use in the sugar beet field when they had to crawl on hands and knees to thin rows and rows of beets in a field so the plants were at optimal growing distance. The Montoya children also had chores at area farmss and the young boys enjoy jumping on the piles of hay.
The Niwot School, built in 1910, was a two-story brink school. It was razed in 1972 to make room for the Longmont-to-Boulder lanes of Hwy 119. The current Boulder-to-Longmont lanes of the highway were originally single-lane traffic in both directions.