Historic Victor School house is looking for a new owner. This great building currently is being used as administrative offices. The building has approx. 5900 square feet of office space a large 2 acre lot, and fenced with gate. The building was renovated in the early 2000’s. With great history this building would make a great space for local winery or office complex.
This is a rare opportunity to own a piece of history. The Victor School house is available for sale and is looking to start its next chapter in history.
This is from the Lodi Centinal.
By Ralph Lea and Christi Kennedy
Special to the News-Sentinel
On Sept. 11, 1911, children in Victor proudly walked into their own new two-room schoolhouse on the first day of school 99 years ago.
The school has had long history from the district’s birth to growth through the Depression, two world wars, the baby boom and eventual move to a new building in another location. The tight-knit school and community continues to honor its history with reunions. That same sense of community, born with the settlement more than a century ago, is what created the school.
Beginning in 1864, the sparsely populated land east of Lodi was called the Alpine school district. For the next four decades, there were only a few scattered farmhouses and acres of wheat on the oak-studded land. Around 1900, the region began to change.
A number of German families from the Dakotas resettled in the Lodi area seeking a new start in life. At the same time, grain farmers on the east side were ready to sell off their land covered in wheat that was no longer in demand. The land was cheap at $35 to $70 an acre, and the time was right for the German families and for the region’s switch to grape vineyards.
Large families settled in the region and started farming grapes. By 1910, there was a store, a packing shed, a real estate office, a winery and a new station stop along the railroad line. The stop was named Victor after the eldest son of early settler Albert Edgar Morden. Victor became the name of the settlement.
In December 1909, 17 parents, who represented 31 school-age children, petitioned the county school superintendent for a new school. Most of the Victor residents lived more than two miles from existing schools.
The new Victor school district was formed out of portions of Alpine and Lockeford school districts. In May 1911, a $4,000 bond election was approved 21-0. Frank Green donated the land just south of Victor Road, and J. E. Fitzsimmons, a Victor blacksmith and bridge-builder, constructed the two-room schoolhouse.
On Sept. 11, 1911, Victor School opened with 62 students in grades one through eight, and one teacher. J. E. Condon was the teacher, principal and janitor, and was paid $700 for the entire school year. The school year was 190 days long. Victor School had one boy, George Lewis, graduate from the eighth grade at the end of the first school year in 1912.
By the second year, there were two teachers. In 1919, there were 70 students. That year, Ruth Declusin joined the teaching staff. While early teachers normally came and went quickly, Declusin stayed on at Victor School for the next 23 years and eventually became principal. Declusin was only five feet tall, but a stern disciplinarian. Under her strict guidance, children removed their hats and stood quietly during the outdoor flag salute and whenever a funeral procession passed by on its way from Lodi to Harmony Grove Cemetery near Lockeford.
In 1921, there were more students than the building could hold. Fitzsimmons added another room to the west end. In 1925, an east wing with a fourth classroom and a stage was added. The stage enabled the school to hold graduation ceremonies, Christmas programs and other events. Previously, these events were held in one of the Victor packing sheds.
In 1951, the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors united the Victor and Alpine school districts. The two schools had already been sharing some services like bus transportation. By bonding together, the school boards also hoped it would meanthat fewer different grade levels would have to share classroom space. When school started in 1952, Alpine School had a new kindergarten and taught the younger grades. The upper-grade children went to Victor School.
In July 1967, Victor and surrounding districts were united to form the Lodi Unified School District. So in the previous month, June 1967, the Alpine-Victor School District graduated its last class of 18 eighth-graders.
In 1969, the old schoolhouse was declared unsafe according to new earthquake regulations and closed as a public school. In January 1979, the new $900,000 Victor School opened for classes on Bruella Road.
After its closure, the old schoolhouse was used for the Lodi Adult School’s upholstery classes and by the county for teaching developmentally disabled students. In the last years, the building along the heavily traveled Highway 12 sat unused.
Finally, the non-profit Regional Youth Services and North Valley School, which provides residential care and treatment for children with mental health disabilities, bought the facility in 1997. Nearly $750,000 was spent to restore the building that serves as the program’s administrative office. The building’s historic architecture was preserved, and even an old school bell was installed in the bell tower. With renewed life, Victor’s old schoolhouse was re-opened in the spring of 2003 and continues to serve children.
Vintage Lodi is a local history column that appears on the first and third Saturday of the month. Information for this article was taken from the Spring 2010 Lodi Historian publication of the Lodi Historical Society and from an April 19, 2003 Vintage Lodi article in the Lodi News-Sentinel.
Victor School reunion Aug. 29
Victor School’s long history will be celebrated on Aug. 29 with a reunion of staff, faculty and students over the years.
Beginning at 10 a.m. and lasting into the afternoon, the alumni reunion will take place at Parkin Memorial Park, next to the present Victor School on Bruella Road. The reunion will be a relaxed event where people are encouraged to bring their picnic lunches, blankets, chairs and memories. At 1 p.m. a program will be held, and former faculty will be introduced and a history of the school presented.