About Clovis Elementary

The Way We Were

Students from 1895 posing for picture


Lumbering, farming, and mining drew people to settle in Clovis.  Since there was no school for the children, parents sent their children out of town to get an education.  In 1895, a $5,000 bond was passed to build a school of their own.

A temporary school opened on September 19, 1895, in a Southern Pacific Railroad warehouse at fifth Street and Dewitt Avenue.  Here Elizabeth Kanstrup taught  nine grades for sixty-five dollars a month.Clovis Elementary School back in 1897

By 1897, a wooden two-story building, at Second Street and Pollasky Avenue, was completed.  The entrance was reached by a flight of stairs with large pillars on each side.  A bell in the belfry rang at 8:30 each morning.  There were four large classrooms, a storeroom, and a principal's office.  School began with a one-man faculty - Mr. Troutwine.

     From 1899 until 1903, Clovis High School occupied the top floor.

Picture of students at Clovis Grammar School 1897 

Clovis Elementary - Second Grade- Laura Smaling was the teacher

To take care of the increasing enrollment, a primary building was added east of the 1897 school.  This school house had four rooms and a small library.  Charles Edecomb became its principal.


Clovis Elementary School at original site

1897-Clovis Grammar School

In 1918, the old two-story wooden school was replaced by a one-story brick building.  The first student body consisted of 307 fourth through eighth-graders.

Second angle of Clovis Elementary School 1897

The 1918 brick building was condemned in 1952 when major structural cracks were discovered.  The six classes in the school had to be moved.  Fortunately, two new schools-Weldon and Sierra Vista-had been completed.

The frame buildings were sold to the highest bidder.  The brick school was torn down and the materials salvaged.  The land was cleared and sold.  There is not much left to remind one of Clovis' first school.



 Second angle of Clovis Elementary School 1897

1952 - Clovis Elementary's last 3rd Grade Class at its original site


That Was Then, This is Now



The Rebirth of Clovis Elementary

In 1999, construction began for the new Clovis Elementary on the corner Barstow and Armstrong Avenues.  During that first year at our new site, teachers and students waited and watched with anticipation from temporary portable classrooms as bulldozers, cement trucks, cranes, and a small army of workers feverously worked on building our new campus.

 It was not only a time for a  new school, but new traditions as well.  Navy blue, gold, and white became our school colors.  We became known as the Jaguars and we took pride in being next door neighbors to the Clovis High Cougars.  History seemed to be repeating  itself by once again bringing the two schools right on top of each other.


 Students cheers at rally at the new Clovis Elementary

1999 - Clovis Elementary School's Groundbreaking Ceremony


While a lot has changed since 1895 many things still remain the same.  Clovis Elementary is still a place where love and encouragement reign.  It's a school build on integrity, pride, and hope for a better future.  It's a place where kids can get a great education and are inspired to become the best they can be in mind, body, and spirit. 

The Clovis Elementary tradition of excellence continues.

The back of a diploma from Clovis High 

1935- Back of a Clovis Elementary 8th grade diploma of graduation.


Historical references: Public Schools of Fresno County, 1860-1998.  Published Fresno Branch, American Association of University Women and Fresno County Superintendent of Schools, 2000


Special thanks go to The Big Dry Creek Museum for their help with the historical information and photographs of Clovis Elementary found on this website.

The front of Dry Creek Museum

Make sure to stop by and take a look at some of their fascinating artifacts from our community.

The Big Dry Creek Museum is located on the southeast corner of Pollasky and Fourth Street in beautiful Old Town Clovis.