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two story brick building with cupola and scores of students standing in front
South School - Golden History Museum Collection

144 Years Ago
The May 19, 1880 Colorado Transcript provided the following glowing description of Golden's public schools. The South school had opened in 1873. It was immediately over-crowded, so in 1880 they added the North school. South school served the primary through secondary grades. North school accommodated the primary school children from the north side of Clear Creek. When the north side children reached high school age, they moved over to the South school. One interesting mention in this article: there were only 7 teachers for 501 students.

The Colorado Transcript - May 19, 1880

The accompanying cuts are true representations of the two public school buildings of this city. The South school, which occupies a conspicuous position on the corner of Cheyenne and Third streets, was erected in 1873 at a cost of $15,000. It is conveniently arranged, well ventilated and contains four large rooms for study besides a recitation room. These rooms are well furnished, and have sittings for two hundred and fifty pupils. On account of the rapid growth of the city, the capacity of this building was soon found inadequate to accommodate all the pupils attending school, and rooms were rented in different localities for several years to meet the contingency.

North School - Golden History Museum Collection

During the past year, however, the North school has been completed at a cost of $8,000, and was opened in March last. This building, though not so pretentious in an architectural sense as the South school, presents, nevertheless, a very creditable appearance, and in point of convenience is, in some respects, its superior. Like the latter, it contains four rooms and a recitation room, and its seating capacity is about the same. As yet only two rooms have been occupied, but in the ensuing year at least one more room will have to be opened. The building is pleasantly located on the north side of Clear Creek, on Washington avenue.

hand-drawn 3D map of Golden in 1882 with schools circled
Excerpt from the 1882 Birdseye View Map of Golden showing locations of North and South schools

The schools are in a very prosperous condition and have attained a standard of excellence of which our citizens may well feel proud. Their efficiency has been especially marked during the past year. An admirable system of gradation is followed, covering a thorough course in the English branches, and it is no exaggeration to say that the public schools of Golden will compare favorably with those of the older cities of the eastern states.

At present seven teachers are employed--five in the South school and two in the North. The standing of the schools bears testimony to their faithful and efficient work. Five hundred and one pupils have been enrolled during the year.

The schools will close for the summer vacation on the 18th of June.

Golden in March of 1965 - Photo by Bill Robie 1 - Mitchell Elementary | 2 - North school | 3 - South school

Both the South and North schools became surplus when Mitchell Elementary opened in 1936. The South school building was sold to the School of Mines and the North school went to the County.

The Golden Transcript (originally called the Colorado Transcript) has been publishing since 1866. The Golden History Museum has been working on digitizing the historic issues. You’ll find old Transcripts online at