What a great time it was.....seeing old friends and former classmates from an earlier era! About 50 folks showed up for the Whitney School Reunion on Sunday (5/29/11), just days after the old rural school became history --- literally!

More recently a part of the Chadron Public Schools, the District 62 school had served generations of kids since it opened its doors as part of the old hotel in downtown Whitney back in 1886.

By 1924, a brand new building had been constructed, providing not only ample space for a high school -- but running water to boot!  That two-story stucco structure remains nearby, nestled just a stone's throw from the "new" school, built in 1980.  That's where Sunday's festivities took place.

1935 WHS grad Mary Daniels, seated at left, was also a long-time teacher  at Whitney.
She and Ruth Ann Connell shared several "teacher" stories from earlier days at the school.

Many attendees simply couldn't resist the lure of the old school, though, and the made the short trek to their old haunt just one last time.  It was a fun experience, recalling so many memories and antics that will live on long after the building itself is finally demolished, whenever that may be. We understand that the Chadron school board is still trying sell the property -- including both buildings.

While we're not certain, we suspect the older building is likely laced with asbestos and other substantial issues that render it more of a liability than possible "historic structure" that could be renovated and preserved -- no matter how appealing that might be to many of us.

Perhaps a more suitable focus of attention might be the newer building, which appears to be in pretty good shape and ready for yet other purposes. It'll be interesting to follow its fate.

In the meantime, we can bask in the pleasant memories that Whitney School provided for many of us for so many years.

It was particularly great fun hearing from Ruth Ann Connell, Mary Daniels, and others with early ties to the school.

During it's 125 years, the school always offered instruction for elementary students.   But between 1924 and 1942, the "Mustangs" had a high school that turned out quite a few graduates, a few of whom joined us Sunday.   Earliest of that group was Mary Daniels, who was salutatorian of her graduating class in 1935, while her sister Martha was named valedictorian.

Then there were at least two folks who were among the final graduating class in 1942:  Naomi (Howard) McCafferty of Whitney and Gerald Lux of Crawford.

There were lots of melancholy moments as many of these "oldtimers" rubbed shoulders with younger people and swapped stories.  It was a great way to help keep some of those precious memories alive.

We've posted some of the many photos we took during this bittersweet gathering.  Images of the event -- starting with a tour of the old school building -- can be found in the Whitney School Open House gallery.  You'll find a collection of class pictures and other school archival material in our Whitney School Gallery.


Dave Schlickbernd sent us this photo of Whitney elementary school students taken, he says, "probably in May 1965."  That's Dave seated in the front, third from the left, next to his brother John.   Paul Hartman is in the front at the far right, and we also see a Dooley or two.  But we need some help identifying others in the photo, including the teacher.  Can you help?  Drop as an e-mail at  Thanks!


You can find more school photos and information in our: