By Crystal Thompson
As you enter Kremlin, one building stands out from the rest, it casts it's shadow on a playground scattered with children below, and holds the memories of years of quality education.
The Kremlin school is undoubtedly the most prominent building in Kremlin. Situated on the east side of the town's only paved street, the two story schoolhouse serves as a reminder of days gone by for many Kremlin Public and KG Elementary School alumni, while continuing to serve as an educational institution to the more than four dozen students and staff who enter its doors daily.
E.C. Carruth donated land to the Kremlin school district for the first public school in Kremlin. In 1911, a one room school building was built, which included all grades. The building was situated about one and a half blocks west of the present school. Miss Leona Miller was the school's first and only teacher until 1913, when another room was added on and a second teacher, Miss Davis, was hired.
In 1914 a new two story building was built just east of the school to accommodate for students from north and south schools who were included in the Kremlin school district. In it's early years, only the two rooms on the lower floor of the new building were used. Later, the upper floor was used, with sliding doors separating the two upper rooms. The staff included three teachers at that time.
As settlers moved into the Kremlin community, the school enrollment increased. In 1919 records indicate that five teachers were employed by the Kremlin School; Lawrence Huffman, L.W. Faye, Margaret O'Neill, Evelyn Jensen and Olive Jensen. Over the next several years, the average number of teachers remained at four.
In approximately 1928, the school offered three years of high school. Robert Leonard, Daisy Haynes, Mary Marjerison, Magda Syrstad and Ella Smith made up the faculty at that time. Mr. Leonard is said to have taught boxing to some of the boys. Boys and girls basketball teams were also formed about this time.
In 1937 plans were made for a new school building, which was completed in 1938. Teaching staff at this time included Leonard Kenfield, Marian Arneson, Marie Buckenberg, Caroline Meucke and Ella Howser. During the 1938-39 school year, four years of high school were being offered and fully credited. A school lunch cook, Mrs. Granell, was hired as well. In 1940-41, the first edition of the class book "The Lair" was compiled.
During this time, the upper floor of the old schoolhouse was being used as apartments for the teaching staff who wished to live there. The basement of the old school house was used as a shop. Later, the old school house was demolished, and new apartments were built for the staff.
About ten years later, the high school staff had grown to four teachers, with an additional four making up the elementary staff. Another lunch cook was added about this time as well. The school began to grow to accommodate increasing enrollment.
Two decades passed, and the Hi-Line area began to disperse. Enrollment continually dropped during the late sixties and early seventies, and eventually it became necessary for Kremlin and Gildford schools to consolidate. KG Schools was born during the 1972-73 school year. The former Kremlin school became KG Elementary, housing grades K-6. Grades 7-12 were offered in Gildford as KG High School. A bus was purchased to transport students between the two towns.
Today, KG Elementary continues to hold grades kindergarten through sixth. Recent school funding and enrollment issues have sparked rumors of further consolidation between KG and other Hi-Line schools. As of right now, though, KG Elementary continues to stand tall among the small community of Kremlin. The smiles of the students and staff, along with a rich history of continuing education create a warmth that radiates from the building, making everyone feel welcome.