When I was five, I started school at Third Street School, which later burned. I remember the night of the fire… The rebuilt school became Granger School, named for my favorite teacher, Oscar T. Granger, according to Betty Smart Dugger in a family history.
In October of 1957, Mrs. (Marge) Bollschweiler appeared before the board asking that the name of the Third Street Elementary School be changed to Oscar T. Granger Elementary School. (The change was made in July 1958), according to a tribute to Tucumcari Schools.
Source: Quay County 1903-1985
As the bricks of the old Granger School came tumbling down this week, many people’s thoughts turned to yesteryear’s school days.
Dennis and Patricia Currell sat in their vehicle for a while and watched as chunks from some of the classrooms were trucked off to the landfill.
“I spent a lot of time in the principal’s office,” said Dennis Currell, laughing.
He recalled the time he put a smoke bomb in the tailpipe of car owned by coach Joe Buckley. He also recalled the subsequent paddling.
Earlier in the day, Bill Curry had driven by the demolition site.
“There are a lot memories in those old wooden splinters being torn down,” Curry said.
On the tennis courts, “We used to play chase. The girls played jacks out there,” Curry recalled.
Initially called the “annex,” it was built in 1939, said school Superintendent Aaron McKinney.
McKinney was a student there, and then a teacher.
As a student he also ended up in the principal's office – once, and as a teacher he became a disciplinarian, which was a twist, he said.
Rex Maddaford, who was a PE teacher at Granger also recalls starting out his career there in 1975.
“It was a cozy little school,” Maddaford said. “I can remember kids getting close to the old radiators to keep warm on cold days. There was a close knit faculty.”
A former principal of Granger, Albert Thornberry, said he warmly remembers the school and its faculty and students
The gym was used for science fairs and other activities that were held by the community, Thornberry recalled.
When McKinney taught there he said that over the weekend the termites would have left mounds of dust to be cleaned up on Monday.
And when it rained, “we’d have to put out buckets,” McKinney said.
Tearing down the old school was necessary because of the termite damage and poor condition of the buildings, McKinney said.
“There had been two fires there, a lot of the windows had been broken out,” McKinney said.
The cost to raze the building is estimated to be about $160,000, of which 75 percent, up to $150,000, will be paid for by the state, McKinney said.
Future plans call for the block where Granger and its playground stood to be a sports field, McKinney said.
The block is bounded by Second, Third and Fourth streets and Hines and Barnes streets.
Because that land is adjacent to the Tucumcari Middle School and fits in well with the campus, McKinney said the school system probably would not consider selling the land.