The Tassajara School
San Ramon Valley Historical Society Plaque # 14
If buildings could talk, today’s small Tassajara School House would recount children reciting lessons, ciphering, and singing in a classic one-room school from 1889 to 1946. It is the only nineteenth century school still standing in the San Ramon/Tassajara Valley and is a popular spot for artists, photographers and picnickers.
The school sits on its original site at 1650 Finley Road in the Tassajara Valley east of Danville. A belfry, historic outhouses, rebuilt stable, picnic tables, flag pole, new rest rooms and redwood water tower complete the contemporary picture.
The first small school house in Tassajara was built in 1865 by Alfred Wilkes; by the eighties there were more students than could be accommodated. On January 12, 1889, ten out of ten Tassajara School District voters approved the sale of $1700 in bonds for a new school. The bonds were used to purchase a lot, build and furnish a school. Peter Anderson was paid $200 for an acre of his land on Finley Road.
The Livermore Echo newspaper (March 14, 1889) reported that the contract for the new school was let to J. L. Weilbye of Sunol. In those days, such a small building would have been constructed soon after the contract was signed. The Contra Costa Gazette announced that the Tassajara School children raised their new flag on August 1, 1890, with appropriate ceremonies. As part of the program, George Fergodo, Tony Silver and Walter Scott gave the recitation “Red, White and Blue” and county school board member A. J. Young gave a speech “appreciated by young and old.”
Students from first to eighth grade walked, rode horses and took buggies to get to school. In 1889 Richard D. Williams was the teacher. Roger Podva (born in 1884) began school in 1890 and said there were 42-75 students at the school when he attended, sitting two to a desk.They learned mental arithmetic, reading, geography, spelling and writing. A picture of George Washington hung on the wall.