History of Poplar Schools
In 1897 the Fort Peck Agency moved from old Fort Peck to Poplar Creek. A log school house was built about 1882 to conduct the Agency Boarding School. This was the beginning of school in Poplar, with the attendance of 45 pupils. In 1888 the agency superintendent reported there were 216 pupils in the boarding school, which then included two frame buildings. The average cost per pupil for a ten month term was $111.38.
On November 23, 1891 the two large school buildings were consumed by fire. This left only the old log building with not enough room for all of the pupils. Consequently, most of the students were shipped to other schools to continue their education. In 1893 the army left Camp Poplar and turned over their log buildings to the boarding school. The superintendent described the building as "uninhabitable and unsafe," but they continued to be used until they were gradually replaced by brick buildings.
The first public school was opened in Poplar in 1903 in a red brick building. Only elementary classes were taught. As more and more people came to Poplar a need arose for a new and larger school building. The old one was becoming very over-crowded and in connection with this fact, a high school was desperately needed.
A new building was erected at the site of the present Poplar School System in 1915. This building included both a grade school and high school classrooms. In 1931-32 a gymnasium was added along with additional classrooms. In 1951 a new grade school was erected with the capacity of four hundred students. This building was used for kindergarten through fourth grade.
In 1962-63 a new high school was built. In 1982-83 a new middle school was erected to accommodate students grades five through eight. Poplar Public Schools did not have any administrators before the high school was built in 1915. In 1916, Frank N. Mitchell came to Poplar as superintendent. Under his able leadership, the Poplar High School was one of the first schools in the area to be granted full accreditation from the Northwestern Association of Secondary Schools. Mr. Mitchell died suddenly in his home on the evening of September 9, 1937. Miss Marion E. (Pete) Patch, former graduate of Poplar High school, became superintendent. Previous to this position, she had been Mr. Mitchell's secretary.
- 8th Reunion, June 15-18, 2000