Looking east from Felter Road
Laguna School was the first school constructed in the Milpitas area. It was built
where Felter Road and Calaveras Road intersected. This made it easier for the students
who lived on the ranches and farms for miles around to attend. According to Patricia
Loomis' book, Milpitas, the Century of Little Cornfields 1852-1952, Laguna
School was built in 1856 as a one room school 24 by 30 feet at a cost of $600. The
school underwent many changes in its 70 year lifespan. The front cloakroom was added
about 20 years after initial construction and the second outer siding was put on
about the same time.
In the 1880s teachers who worked at Laguna School were Rosalie O'Brian, P. Henning, Miss Emma Watkins, George Kraft, T.W. Whitehurst, and Stella Herndon. The trustees included J.W. Greenfield, Alfred Felter (for whom the road is named), H. H. Flagg, and Michael Hughes, who had built the first wood frame house along Penitencia Creek on modern Main Street probably between modern Serra and Carlo Streets.
When enrollment declined below the required minimum of five students, in 1943, the old school closed its doors. The last teacher there was Mrs. Naomi Pinard.
In 1949, Laguna School was sold for $575 to a nearby rancher, Mildred Beans. Mrs. Beans modified the building to use as a barn. It continued to be used as a barn and storage shed by subsequent owners until 2000.
In 2000, the Historical Society began efforts to move it to another location to prevent its demolition. However, the new owners, Mr. and Mrs. Hare, decided to keep the school and to restore it.
This bookcase was originally located between the two front doors (one for girls and one for boys) and built in as part of the wall and floor. When the school was reinovated in the 1880s the bookcase and its section of floor were moved into the cloak room at front of the school and the two doors became a wider entry.
Note the beaded wood boards used on the walls. The ceiling is about ten feet in height and is of the same beaded board. The narrow pine boards on the flooring are on top of older, wider flooring boards.
The school rests upon a foundation of large stones containing shell fossils.