A BRIEF HISTORY OF NORTH SUMMIT
Table of Contents:
Settlement of Coalville
The Old Rock School House
The Coalville Academy
A New High School
Our Present High School
Settlement of Coalville
In the fall of 1858 a freighter hauling cargo between Salt Lake City and Fort Bridger, Wyoming, drove into the camp ground on Chalk Creek. He noticed that where wheat had been spilled it had taken root, grown, and ripened. He thought that if wheat could be grown to maturity it would be a good location for farming. He took some of the bunches of wheat into Salt Lake City. The following spring, he persuaded two other men to come with him to view the ground. They left Sugar House on the 22nd of April, 1859, with packs on their backs, and on foot. After battling snow drifts and wind-blown trails, they arrived on Chalk Creek the 26th day of April.
They must have been satisfied with the location, for they returned to Sugar House and on the 8th of June these three men returned with their families. About this time a roving hunter and trapper discovered outcroppings of coal. He dug out samples of coal with his knife and presented them to Brigham Young in Salt Lake City. Brigham Young had offered an award of $1000 to any one finding coal within 50 miles of Salt Lake City.
At first this new settlement was called Chalk Creek, but after the discovery of coal the name was changed to Coalville.
The old Rock School House
In its early days the settlement of Coalville experienced a growing population. The early pioneers were very interested in education. A small group of pioneers gathered together in the fall of 1863 to discuss ways and means to build a substantial building for school and religious purposes. They agreed that they would each donate as much time as they possible could spare their own tasks. This building was built by subscription and donation. It would become a gathering place for meetings of all kinds: political, religious, school, and a place for women and children to hide from Indian raids. This building was finished in the year 1865 and dedicated by president Brigham Young in 1868. There was a bell in the belfry to call the children to school and also to warn the people of impending danger. This bell was last rung on the morning that the World War I armistice was signed, November 11, 1918. The Old Rock School House now stands at Pioneer Village at Lagoon Amusement Park.
The Coalville Academy
The Summit Stake Academy was founded in 1892 by a charter given by Wilford Woodruff. It was opened in the upper room of the co-op building on the west side of Main Street. The faculty consisted of a principal and a husband and wife as teachers. The school continued for several years, being held in one building and then another. In 1905 a building was purchased for the sole purpose of this high school. It was located on a hill overlooking the valley. The Academy offered two courses--a preparatory course open to young men and women who had outgrown the public schools without having completed the eighth grade, and a high school course which embraced the first three years of the high school work, open to all students who had completed the eighth grade. In addition to regular coursework the school offered classes in mechanic arts, wood working, sewing, and cooking. Opportunities were given to students to participate in other activities: debate club, glee club, and literary societies. The Academy also maintained a lecture and entertainment course.
A New High School
The public realized the need for a public high school, and North Summit High School opened its doors in the fall of 1913. Thirteen students were the first to graduate from North Summit in 1915. They'd spent two or three years in the Coalville LDS Academy. The school was governed by a principal and two teachers. A student acted as the coach. The student body had chosen colors and drawn a constitution. The by-laws called for two student body officers, a president and secretary.
Not until the school year of 1916-17 did the high school have a mascot. By this time athletics were very big at North Summit. The student council called an assembly. Nominations for a mascot were taken. The "Rams" was a big favorite. With Lewis' Peak at the top of the valley the name "Mountaineers" became a popular choice. The snowcapped peak with the highlander on it would have been the emblem. Then came a nomination of "Braves." The fact that Native Americans had long ago made their home in this valley may have been the deciding factor. Our school buildings sit on an old camp ground and Shoshone burial ground. Braves was the clear choice.
Following the election of a mascot the names for the school publications were closed. Contests were held to determine the best names. The entries were placed in the hands of the student council who judged the winners. The Papoose became the name of the literary magazine. The yearbook would be called the Chieftain. Even though the name War Whoop was submitted as a joke, it stuck as the name of the school newspaper.
The class of 1927 gave North Summit its mosaic emblem. This mosaic was part of the main hall floor of the school. It is now displayed on the wall of the auditorium.
The school building continued to be added to and improved as needed. A swimming pool was built in 1965. It was well received, and it continues to serve the needs of the school
and public. A new building east of the pool that would house the auto shop, wood shop, and agricultural education departments soon followed.
Our Present Building
By the 1970's the original high school building was starting to deteriorate and there were questions about fire and earthquake safety. It had also become inadequate for the needs of teachers and students. In 1977 the present high school was built. In 1980 a beautiful, state of the art auditorium was added. In February 2004 a successful bond election was held in the district. The high school acquired the West Wing for more classroom space and plans for a new commons area is underway.
North Summit High School is steeped in tradition. The high school has been fully accredited for 75 years. From the foresight of the original pioneers to today's explorers of technology, the people of the valley have a deep belief in the value of public education and the need to prepare each passing generation for the challenges and opportunities of the future.