Our Community & History
Beaver Valley Elementary School is located within the small community of Plain, Washington. Surrounded on all sides by the Wenatchee National Forest and Cascade Mountains, it is geographically located southeast of Lake Wenatchee State Park. Highway US 2 is west of the town and can be reached by State Route 207, which turns off onto State Route 209 and becomes the Beaver Valley Road. Chumstick and Leavenworth are to the south.
The Lake Wenatchee area has been home to several Indian tribes where they hunted, fished, and gathered food and built camps along the rivers where the salmon ran. Fur traders first visited the area in 1811. The pioneers began to establish themselves in the Beaver Valley and surrounding area beginning in the late 1800's. They began logging and clearing some of the land for agriculture. Plain's logging grew and the small Peavine Rail was built along the Chumstick Highway into Plain to transport harvested trees to the mill. The Wenatchee River was also used to float the logs down to Leavenworth in the spring. As the need for irrigation grew, a canal was built into Sugartflats and beyond to supply irrigation water to the area.
The development of the area in the nineteenth century was closely linked to the Northern Pacific and Great Northern railroads. Leavenworth, during this time, became a booming railroad town. The Church of Brethren moved in and established the Plain Community Church (still Plain's local church).
The postal service would not accept the long name of Beaver Valley, so the residents asked for a "plain" name - which became Plain, WA. The post office called "Plain" was established in 1913, and remained in operation until 1936. As the area grew with families, the need for a school grew and over time, three school houses were built, the last one in 1906 (which is now a private library for the Grunewald Guild). Winton (located 20 miles north of Leavenworth) also built a one-room schoolhouse deeded by the Dillon family around 1920 when they homesteaded the valley. The Winton School was in use until 2000 when Beaver Valley Elementary School was built in Plain. The Winton School building was moved next to the new school shortly thereafter and is a wonderful reminder of the "one-room schoolhouse" of the past.
Today, Plain is an active and growing community with the Plain Hardware store being one of the main "hubs" of town and also one of the elementary school's biggest supporters. Beaver Valley Elementary School educates students from Winton, Merritt, Lake Wenatchee, Ponderosa, Chiwawa, Plain, and River Road.
"Remote & Necessary"
Beaver Valley is a "remote and necessary" school (R&N) and operates as such by Washington State laws. In 1963, Washington state legislators recognized the "exceptional case" need for funding nontraditional schools educating children in remote areas. Today, there are nine "remote and necessary" schools in the state (most located along the Pacific coast and one at Holden Village on Lake Chelan). The mission of these schools is to serve children in permanent communities where travel time to the closest traditional government school is more than an hour each way, risky because of weather or topography, or requires travel across the Canadian border. These R&N schools focus on family and community support. By necessity, each school functions on the one-room schoolhouse model of educating students in combined age groups. A remote and necessary school's status is reviewed every four years by the Washington State Board of Education and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).