Water Valley Schoolhouse Gets Makeover

By Mike Bowen

Co-author, We Found the Lost Sand Creek Site

The Water Valley Schoolhouse received a makeover in November. It was repainted white by Nacho Silvas. The schoolhouse was used to depict the home of James Carr in our short film, Private Mac: The James Carr Letter. 

There is a lot of history behind the schoolhouse and the townsite it originally sat in. 

The schoolhouse was the last building to mark the 1887 Water Valley townsite. The building caught Chuck Bowen’s eye at an early age in the ‘60s, and he always dreamed of having it on the family ranch. His family would drive by it on an alternate route to church. It was moved to Sheridan Lake in the ‘80s by Clarence Woelk, and he used it as part of a roadside history park. Woelk’s daughter, Zelpha, knew Chuck had an interest in it, and a deal was made. Chuck and Sheri moved it to their ranch in November of 2016. It now sits 10 miles up the creek from its original location. 

The iron fence was once around the Kiowa County Courthouse in Eads. 

The location of Water Valley proved invaluable to Chuck and Sheri’s Sand Creek discovery. Some in academia and the National Park Service claimed they found the New Chicago townsite. Fortunately, the Water Valley Clarion newspaper documented the location of Water Valley and a 1917 issue of the Kiowa County Press documented New Chicago was two miles north, three miles east of where NPS claimed they found New Chicago. The spot on their family ranch the NPS claimed was New Chicago was actually littered with artifacts that could only be from the Sand Creek battle, not a proposed townsite that never came to fruition. 

One-room schools were steadfast in teaching values. The Water Valley Schoolhouse stands as our monument of truth and honesty. 

You can watch our short film here: Private Mac: The James Carr Letter

See more about the Water Valley Schoolhouse here: Water Valley Schoolhouse

To see more about the documentation of Water Valley’s location, see our book, We Found the Lost Sand Creek Site in chapter 11. 

Get our book here: Click the Buy the Book tab in the top right of the page or you can also get our book here: WeFoundTheLostSandCreekSite

Follow us on Facebook: BowenHistory 

Don’t forget to comment below and share this blog so anyone that would like to be added to our blog update list can email us at to let us know.

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *