Capitol Reef National Park

Trip Day Twenty-eight: Sunday, July 9, 2000

The Anasazi or "ancient ones" of Capitol Reef are now known as the Fremonts. They lived along the Fremont River in pit houses. Primarily hunters and gatherers, the Fremonts also grew corn, beans, and squash to supplement their diet. They left little behind when they abandoned the area. Many of their petroglyphs (rock carvings) and petrographs (rock paintings) can be seen in the park.

Behunin Cabin

The Behunins who occupied this cabin lived there long enough to rear thirteen children! The story goes, that the cabin got so crowded that the children used the little caves on the cliff for sleeping quarters!

Eighteen-year-old Nettie Behunin was the first teacher at the Fruita School in 1896. Before the school was built she had taught the children in the Behunin home. The Behunins must have moved to Junction later called Fruita because Elijah Cutlar Behunin, Nettie's father, donated the land for the school. Nettie's first class had 22 students!

Fruita School

Built in 1896, the Fruita School served the community's needs until 1941.

The log building also served as a community meeting house and church. Desks were not bolted to the floor, so the room could be cleared for different needs. As late as 1924, the building was also used for dances, town meetings, elections, church youth activities, box suppers, and celebrations.

In 1900, the building was loaned to the Wayne County School District for the first county approved classes. Nettie, then 22, was the first authorized teacher. She was paid $70 a month while her male counterparts received $80 per month. Classes, of varying sizes, continued until 1941 when the school was discontinued for lack of students.

Fruita School picture published by Sierra Press, Inc., photo © Tom Till

Page last updated August 22, 2000.