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History of PE

Our Beginning

The Beginning

Peralta Elementary was built in about 1911.  The property where the school still stands was originally owned by Andres A. Romero. Later the property was transferred to Solomon Luna by a warranty deed in March 1912. in 1913, Adelaida Otero de Luna, the widow of Solomon Luna, deeded the property to Valencia County.

The construction of the school began by digging a large trench for the foundation.  The trench was filled with dry-laid rock which, according to local history, was washed down by rainstorms from Hells Canyon located in the Manzano Mountains. The rock was gathered and hauled in wagons to the school site. The walls were constructed from terrones (cut-sod blocks) and laid on the foundation with wood framed openings for the doors and windows. Part of the ceilings are originally vigas, but now have three different types of ceilings. The building was heated with coal burning stoves and the bathrooms were out-houses. The school building did not have any plumbing, however there was a well near the front entrance with a hand pump for drinking water. An addition to the back of the building was used for younger children. It was a large room that had a stage at one end and across the middle it had a folding partition that could open to the full length of the room.  This allowed more room for school programs or the gathering of larger crowds.

At the entrance of the school building was a bell tower that housed a large bell.  The rope tied to the bell was long and hung low enough for teachers to ring the bell at the beginning and end of each school day.  Eventually, Principal E. B. Sanchez, who spent 28 years at Peralta Elementary, was given the school bell as a testimony to his dedication and service to the school.

On September 18, 1913, the Belen News Bulletin stated, "The Peralta Public School opened last Monday with the largest enrollment ever known in this school. The Principal, Miss Alicia Sanchez is in charge of the Grammar Grades and nothing but advancement is expected as she is one of the best trained teachers, not only in Valencia County, but the whole state, and has had five years of experience with splendid results. The Primary Grades are under the charge of Miss Stripe who has taken a special course of training in primary work and is well prepared for the work before her. With parents and teachers working in harmony, bespeek a successful term of school for Peralta." ("In School Days," 1913)