Bellwood School District No. 71 was
formed from School District No. 11 by petition request of
the citizens of the Bellwood Community in April, 1880.
The first school in Bellwood was a
two-room building, located in Block 18, property presently
owned by George Romshek, Sr. This building was sold to a Mr.
Donaldson in 1890, and moved to Main Street. It served as an
I.O.O.F. Hall for many years, and is presently part of the
Bellwood Bar, owned by John Pershing.
First teacher in District 71 was Molly
Terry, followed by Matilda Watson, Harve Pinchnery, a Mr.
Courtright and Tom Wimberly. Mr. Wimberly quit his job as
banker to become a teacher.
In 1889 it was deemed necessary to
construct a new school. Block 38 was chosen as a favorable
location and was purchased from J. D. Bell. Construction on
the new school was started in 1890 by A. J. Cooper &
Associates, and completed the same year. This building
served as combination grade-high school until 1964.
A teacher's monthly report for District 7
(much later to become a part of the present District 3-R) in
the May 22, 1896, Gazette was as follows: total enrollment,
27; daily attendance, 21; number tardy, 6; minutes lost, 50.
pupils not absent or tardy are Ruth Bouton, Ora and Allie
Brandenburgh and Myrtle Monk . . . Miss Jennie Hager,
Bellwood's school in 1905 was one of 93
school districts in the county. Today there are only 18.
Citizenship must have been paramount in
the minds of Bellwood's school board as it adopted a
resolution at a January, 1918, meeting that "teaching German
in Bellwood schools will be discontinued until after the war
and perhaps for all time."
In 1926 a small building was built by U.
G. Young to be used for Kindergarten, First and Second
Grades. In the same year, Mr. Cooper built a new gymnasium
from cottonwood lumber which was cut and sawed by Charles
Hill from trees growing along the road going west of town to
the cemetery. Lumber was purchased from J. D. Bell for
In January, 1964, patrons of Districts 71,
7 and 9 decided to join together to form District 3-R. This
became effective in June, 1964, and a new school building
was erected. Since that time four additional rural districts
have joined the original 3-R, necessitating addition of
three classrooms in 1970. This structure serves as the
present school facility.