1325 Adams Street
St. Helena’s first public one-room schoolhouse stood on the grounds now occupied by Las Alcobas luxury hotel (formerly St. Gothard’s Inn/Grandview) north of town. In 1858, the school was moved to the corner of Kearney and Adams. The school was later moved to the corner of Oak and Adams. As enrollment grew, rooms were added until there were six, but they had leaky roofs and were poorly arranged.
In 1901, the cornerstone of a new locally quarried stone school building was laid. It had a slate roof and was strongly built throughout. In 1920, four districts (St. Helena, Lodi, Vineland and Spring Valley) formed the St. Helena Unified Grammar School. In 1931, only 30 years after the school was built, the Grammar School was declared unsafe during earthquakes and it was torn down. The new St. Helena Elementary School was completed in 1932. The building is a rare example of the Spanish Colonial Revival style with low relief carvings highlighting the arches, columns, windows and cornices of the 1½ story building. The bell tower has a tiled hip roof and is paired with a first floor arched window. Decorative grills on the door, circular windows, and a bell tower add to the ornate quality of the style.
A statue in memory of President William McKinley stands to the right of the entrance. He was assassinated in 1901. Money was raised by the citizens of St. Helena to honor the 25th president. For many years the school served Kindergarten through 6th grade. Since the Primary and Middle schools were built, the Elementary School now only serves 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades.