Community, Gales Creek, History

Centennial of Gales Creek School’s Jennie Ranes building celebrated

The Jennie Ranes Building. Photo: Chas Hundley

Members of Friends of Historic Forest Grove, Gales Creek community members, and school administration met on the grounds of the former Gales Creek Elementary School Saturday, August 21 to place a plaque commemorating the Jennie Ranes Building, which was built 100 years ago in 1921. 

On hand to witness the ceremony was Forest Grove School District Superintendent David Parker, school board member—and Gales Creek resident—Kate Grandusky, FHFG’s Joyce Sauber, a Gales Creek community member, community historian, and longtime volunteer, and many volunteers who researched the history of the building as part of the process to lay a plaque. 

The plaque is attached to the Jenny Raines building with the help of Forest Grove School District Superintendent David Parker. Photo: Chas Hundley

After a ceremony where the history of the building was discussed and the many volunteers who made the event possible were thanked, the museum inside the building, which details the school’s history and the history of the community, curated by Sauber, was opened and pursued by the public with light refreshments. 

Below, left to right: Melody Haveluck, a board member of FHFG, David Parker, FGSD superintendent, Kate Grandusky, Forest Grove School Board member and Gales Creek resident, Joyce Sauber, Gales Creek resident, FHFG member, and local historian. Photo: Chas Hundley

More information on the building can be found in the FHFG August newsletter online.

A short presentation read by Sauber on the school’s early history is included below the next photo.

A book was created as part of the process to place a plaque on the building, detailing the history of the structure. Here, it is pictured on an antique school desk in the museum located inside the Jennie Ranes building. Photo: Chas Hundley

Gales Creek School District #30 was established and received its number in 1849.

This modern two-room school building, built in 1921, replaced the one-room school house that sat at the west end of the one-acre school grounds. The builder is unknown. 

One acre of land was donated to Gales Creek School District 30 by Savil W. Iler and Caroline (Lee) Iler. This acre was from a parcel of land Mrs. Iler had inherited from her father Phileman Lee’s land claim, #4576 SEP claim.

The two-room school building held the first through eighth grade classes until 1949, when a much larger building was built to the north. The younger grades were moved to the new building, while the 7th and 8th grade students remained at the two-room school. In 1956, two classrooms were added to the larger building and the 7th and 8th grades moved to the new rooms. The two-room building was then used for special classes: music, science and other events. In 1966, a room was built in its basement for use as a kindergarten. 

In 1950 this building was dedicated as the Jennie Ranes Building. 

Jennie Hoodenpyle Ranes retired that year after having taught many years at Gales Creek School. 

Since our Gales Creek Elementary school was closed in 2010, the building has been used as storage with what was originally the lower elementary classroom which is now a museum. The museum created by Joyce (Shorb) Sauber with items shared at the Gales Creek School’s 150 Year Celebration in 2009. 

Joanne (Day) Schmidlin and Nancy Vanloo along with parents of former students have contributed photographs and historic items for the school museum. 

This two-room school building built in 1921 holds so many special memories of past and present Gales Creek Valley residents.

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Gales Creek Journal and sister news publications the Banks Post and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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