Wetz School Exhibit

The "Riverside School" (Wetz School) was located in Meade County fifteen miles each of Vale along the Belle Fourche River. Here formal education began around 1887 in a log cabin known as the "Riverside School". Around 1900 a permanent school was built and it became known as the "Smith School" until 1943.

Volmer Wetz purchased the land where the school sat so it was renamed the "Wetz School". Children carried water until the 1920's when a cistern was dug and water was trucked in commercially; additional updates were made on the building over the years.

In 1983, the school was stripped of furnishing and moved to the back of the playground and a modern building was established with indoor plumbing. In 1993, due to a re organizational measure, the new school was closed and all furnishings moved to Sturgis. With urging from the Wetz family, in 1994 the school was donated to the Newell Museum. Classes were conducted for fifty years under the "Wetz School" name. Continuous attendance records beginning in 1896 until its retirement are available along with other information on the 128 year old historical wonder.