As the breeze rustles through the branches of the orchard you can almost hear their voices. There are still a few one room school houses on narrow rural roads where yeomen farmers homesteaded. In the 1960s school districts were unifying, earthquake standards were being tightened, and school bus rides replaced the hearts of small communities.
In 1964 it was time for the last school bell to ring in Adeladia.
From the June 14, 1964 edition of the then Telegram-Tribune:
72 years of school end in Adelaida
By Pat Keeble
ADELAIDA — Seventy-two years of school days are over in Adelaida—for good.
The school’s last class—five boys—closed the doors on the little one-room schoolhouse Friday.
The school board had already decided not to reopen the school next year. The students will go to Paso Robles.
Under a new state law, the school must close because its attendance has fallen below six.
The board is now engaged in a struggle to keep the schoolhouse, the only central meeting place in the far-flung rural Adeladia area.
The last students were Johnny Linn and Duane Juhl, both second graders;Raymond Wiebe, third grade; Greg Juhl, fourth grade and Mike Harris, fifth grade.
Both Raymond and Mike come from pioneering Adeladia families. Mike’s great-grandmother was born in the area and was the first in the family to attend school there.
At that time, there was no Paso Robles, the family reports. Supplies for farmers in the area were hauled from the coast.
The Adelaida school evolved from two earlier school districts, Lincoln which originated in 1896 and Sunderland, which dates back to 1892. The current schoolhouse was the second Lincoln school, built in 1917, and was renamed Adelaida school when the Lincoln and Sunderland districts merged in 1948.
Attendance records for the school are skimpy, but Bill Gerst, now a member of the board, recalls that when he attended there were from eight to 14 students there. He graduated in 1940.
Rudolph Wiebe, president of the board, noted there would have been 13 students this year but a number of parents asked for permission to sent their youngsters to Paso Robles schools and inter-district attendance agreements were approved.
The land for the school was donated in 1917 by Isaac Simms in a deed which requires that it revert back to Simms or his heirs when no longer needed as a school site.
The board is investigating the deed and possible ways to keep the schoolhouse for community use. All other property of the district will go to the Paso Robles school district when the Adeladia district is annexed.
The schoolhouse is used for meetings of the Farm Center and other community activities.
Writer Patrick Pemberton and photographer Joe Johnston recently took a trip on the back-roads that ran by the school, it will be published in the Central Coast Living section Sunday January 9, 2011.