Stark School

Also known as: Ninemile Community Center
Ninemile Rd., Ninemile Valley, Huson, Montana



"Pine and fir surround the clearing upon which this little-changed landmark has stood since 1915. At that time, the Anaconda Copper Mining Company located its logging operations in the Ninemile Valley. Stark School was built in anticipation of population growth on land donated by homesteaders Frederick and Jessie Proebstel. The new school opened its doors to twelve students early in 1916. One teacher had charge of the two classrooms housing grades one through eight and, by 1920, enrollment of eighteen required hiring a second teacher. The building also long served as the heart of the community. Ranchers, miners, and loggers held meetings here. The basement hosted Saturday night dances and Sunday church services were held in the classrooms. During World Wars I and II, it was a place to catch up on news and socialize. Native fieldstone and clapboard illustrate the shift from log to frame construction that signaled the end of the frontier era. Natural materials, a low pitched roof, projecting eaves, and bands of windows reflect the Craftsman style then favored in “modern” schoolhouse design. Although the school closed in 1929, the building remained in use and was renamed the Ninemile Community Center in 1949. Even today, the bell, still in its original tower, is occasionally rung to mark special events. Only a few buildings related to the era of miners, loggers, and homesteaders of the Ninemile Valley stand today. Among them, Stark School is not only a classic example of post-frontier schoolhouse design, but also a fitting tribute to those hearty settlers who made their home here in the Valley." - NRHP/Montana Historical Society plaque

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on October 12, 1995
Reference number
Architectural style
American Movement: Bungalow/Craftsman
Areas of significance
Education; Architecture
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Current function
Meeting hall
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1925-1949
Significant year
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 3

Update Log 

  • July 24, 2019: Updated by Richard Doody: Added historical information