Layton students honor their teaching ancestors
Historical marker • Daughters of the Utah Pioneers dedicate new site at elementary.
The plaque installed at Layton Elementary School to honor early education in the city. Credit: Carol Lindsay/Special to The Tribune
Pioneer teachers in Layton once really brought home the bacon.
No, they didn’t get rich being teachers, but they did get paid in the form of bacon, produce and flour.
Students at Layton Elementary School learned about the lives of teachers and students in the 1850s — they had class in one-room schoolhouses or log cabins with dirt floors. Each day, they would bring in two buckets of water, one for students to drink and another with which they would wash their hands and put out any sparks from the fireplace.
Children walked to school, or rode on horses or in wagons. They brought their lunches — consisting of tomato sandwiches or jam and molasses. There was no electricity, and Internet, cellphones and computers were 100 years away.
Teachers, students and ancestors of current Layton residents were honored April 16 at an Early Education in Layton assembly at the school, which itself has been around since 1902.
At the assembly, the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers dedicated a new historical marker at the school, the fifth placed in Layton and the 564th statewide, said Kathleen R. Brimhall, corresponding secretary of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers.
Diatra Wilko was asked by the Daughters of Utah International organization to locate a site for a new Layton marker. “We thought, let’s do a marker on the early education in Layton and have it correspond with the 100th year centennial celebration of the school district,” said Wilko.
Wilko said before conducting research for the marker, she was unaware of how many schools there were in the early years of education in Utah. History shows there were five home schools, two log schools, one framed wood school and seven brick, one-room schools built between 1850 and 1900.
The current Layton Elementary has been located at 369 W. Gentile Street since 1984. The original school was built on that site in 1902.
There was a building in 1890 where church, school and community meetings were held, but it burned down, said Mary Ann Bundy, 2nd vice captain of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. Davis County bought the property from the Episcopal Church for $600, and in 1902 built a school that had four classrooms.
Eventually, the school expanded to 16 classrooms, and in 1950, a cafeteria was added.
Bundy, who attended the school, recalled the cafeteria fondly. The menu consisted of soup or chili and bread and butter with lettuce.
“It was not too fancy, but to this day I love bread and lettuce,” she said.
In 1984, the original school was torn down and the current building erected.
Layton Elementary Principal Leslee Wright is proud of her school and the teachers.
“It’s amazing how far we’ve come and how dedicated our teachers have been throughout the history. The teacher’s main focus is and always has been the children first and helping them prepare for the future. There is so much history carried on through the schools,” Wright said.
Bryan Bowles, superintendent of Davis School District, emphasized the importance of people knowing their personal history to give them direction into their future. He also focused on the importance of youths in Utah.
“When Brigham Young said the desert would bloom, he didn’t just mean the flowers and crops, he meant our children,” said Bowles.
Mayor Steve Curtis of Layton reminded students that like their ancestors, they too are pioneers — of technology.
“You guys can text with two thumbs. You are pioneering a new technology, and you are making history,” he said.
© 2012 The Salt Lake Tribune