Museum Memories: Cordova’s first school

One of our all-time favorite photos, this was Cordova’s first school perched high on the crest of Browning Avenue. In 1908, Miss Meldah Nettleton first broached the subject of establishing a school for Cordova. The regulations for establishing a school in the territory said that there should be a certain number of children of school age in the community before it would be approved. Remember, Cordova back in 1908 was a bustling railroad and construction town, but there were children, barely enough to meet the regulations, but enough.

The community’s next step was to transmit a request to Alaska’s territorial governor. Governor Hottat in Juneau complied with Cordova’s request and a school board election became necessary. On August 29th, 1908 the first school board was elected – Horace Leach, George Hazelet, and Lee Van Slyke were duly sworn in. The board told the town, “they would proceed at once to secure an appropriation from the government with which to build a school building and open school.”

By 1910 – 1911, Cordovans had their very first new school and were extremely proud of the structure that sat overlooking the growing community.

This photo came from the archives and collections of the Cordova Historical Society.