In 1851, F.C. VonderAhe and his family came from Germany to homestead. They are one of the many pioneer families who moved to the Carus area in the mid 1800’s. In the spring of 1885, these farmers worked together to build a school for their children. Our first schoolhouse was a one-room log cabin located across Highway 213 from what is now Evans Farms. The first lessons were probably taught in German.
In 1887, this growing area applied for a post office using the name “Carns”. When the post stamp returned from Washington D.C., the “n” had been turned upside down!
Carus kids later went to school in another one-room schoolhouse on Mueller Road, heated by a wood stove stoked by the teacher. There were about 35 students and they studied reading, writing, arithmetic, and spelling. Everyone walked at least a mile to school and the desks all had ink wells. Every spring the whole class went out into the field and picked lady slippers. The kids played games like “Steal the Stick’ and tag. Some time later, an acre of land on the corner of Highway 213 and Carus Road was purchased for $25 and another school house was built on the site where Carus school is today.
The White Building
In 1927, our beautiful White Building was built. It’s bright white, cheery look and bungalow style gave it is nickname. Heated by a wood stove, most students walked to our school no matter what kind of weather. The White Building was built with a sliding, garage door style blackboard wall that divided its large upper room. Grades 1-4 were on one side and grades 5-8 on the other side of the divider. At recess and lunch, students sat on the girl’s or boy’s side of the basement. During the early years, up to 75 students were in these classes.
Students studied familiar academic subjects and perfect attendance was rewarded with a coloring book. Teachers didn’t record tardies because so many kids had to walk to school, but if you were late you might have to chop wood for the furnace. The school year went from August to May because so many kids helped on their family’s farm. At first, students ate lunches they brought from home. After a few years, parents started taking turns bringing hot soup and bread for all students, and the “Carus Soup Ladies” were born.
In 1963 a modern school house with two classrooms, a multipurpose room and a cafeteria was built, and in 1971 six classrooms and an office were added. In 1970, when Ackerman was finished, Carus became a K-6 school. Expansions in 1977 and 1981 added more classrooms, the Arts/Sciences and music room, gym, office and staff rooms.
After 55 years, the 1982-83 school year was the last year Carus kids had classes in the White Building. It continued to house the administration office of the Carus School District until 1994 when Carus School District 29 joined the Canby Schools.The new district is governed by an unpaid seven member Board of Directors elected by the residents for four year terms. The Board appoints a Superintendent who is responsible for the staff and educational programs of the schools. The District has approximately 450 teaching and support staff, serving approximately 4,900 students, K-12