Bidwell School — Lodi, CA

Posted by DaveSanders | California | Posted on September 2nd, 2010


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There isn’t much information available for Bidwell School on the web, but for a few years it was one of the top private schools in the country. Below is a collection of facts, articles and conjectures about Bidwell School. Hopefully some alumni will jump in and fill in the spaces.

Bidwell School may have opened in temporary facilities sometime between 1965 and 1967. The main Bidwell School building was constructed on 67 acres of rural Joaquin County farmland at 12755 N Hwy. 88, Lodi, California in 1967-68. It was a 12,000 sq. ft. single-story white wood building. An additional 546 sq. ft. shop storage building was also built. Various sources give further details about the school:
– east of Stockton, southeast of Lodi, between Live Oak Rd and Harney Lane
– across from Fraser Ranchettes
– 15 miles from the population center
– 5 miles from nearest fire department
– had its own water and sewage system

When the school closed (in 1973?), it was comprised of a lower school (grades K-5), middle school (grades 6-8) and an upper school (grades 9-12).crop duster in 1971 Bidwell School yearbook

The Bidwell School yearbook was called the “Attica” and the student newspaper was the “Easy Writer” (great name!).

A quick look at Google Map’s satellite view shows the school sitting in the middle of thousands of acres of farmland. It’s interesting that the 1971 Attica Yearbook contains a photo of a crop-duster (an ad for Agrico Flight Futures). In 1984, when the Bidwell School building was being used as a juvenile rehabilitation center, a “pesticide drift” from a nearby farm sent 34 boys to the hospital with respiratory distress.

Bidwell School basketball team, Bidwell's Best
We would like to create alumni apparel for Bidwell School, but we couldn’t find the school colors or determine if they had a mascot.

We don’t know to what degree Bidwell School participated in interscholastic sports. They had an enviable archery program and girl’s volleyball was introduced in 1971. The middle school had a basketball program at least between 1970 and 1972.

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Online Yearbooks
Yearbook Reprints For Sale
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Below is a list of news stories about the Bidwell School. (These articles are all from the archives of the Lodi News-Sentinel.) The next to last one, A Long Talk with George Creary, is very interesting.

May 6 1965: Private Prep School to be Built South of Lodi

July 17, 1965: Educators of World Picked for Bidwell

September 11, 1965: Dedication of Bidwell School Set for Monday

November 13, 1965: Three Named to Bidwell School Board

November 13, 1965: Bidwell School Hosts Reception Thanksgiving

December 11, 1965: Bidwell Prep School to Build Site Near Lodi

July 20, 1966: School Site Claim Staked for Bidwell

May 20, 1967: Bidwell Work to Begin

August 14, 1967: Zoning Director’s Agenda – Bidwell School

January 2, 1969: Bidwell Student Killed in Airplane Crash

Jan 25, 1969: Newspaper Ad for Bidwell School

November 1, 1969: Olive Creary Obituary

December 8, 1969: Archery Tourney

October 30, 1970: Bidwell School 49, St. Anne’s 28 (4th grade basketball

June 25, 1971: Headmaster George F. Creary Retires

July 16, 1971: Frederick DiazGranados Named Headmaster

July 28, 1971: Bidwell School Reorganizes Both Curriculum and Administration

October 16, 1971: Torrey Stadtner Elected Student Body President

October 23, 1971: Girls Volleyball at Bidwell School

November 22, 1971: Steve Giannecchini Picked for All-League Soccer Team

December 13, 1971: Bidwell School Elects Trustees

January 11, 1972: Newspaper Ad for Bidwell School

January 21, 1972: Bidwell School 26, Victory Christian 13, Middle School basketball

February 1, 1972: Mrs. Donna Otto Now Bidwell Teacher

March 3, 1972: Bidwell School Rated Above National Average

September 29, 1972: New Head Boy (Terry Tarditi) and Head Girl (Laurie Cullman) Named

May 3, 1974: Bidwell School Property Considered for Alcohol Rehab Facility

June 14, 1974: Pacific Collegiate’s First Commencement

August 20, 1974: County to Buy Bidwell School Property

August 27, 1974: Bidwell School Purchase Restudied

September 7, 1974: Hearing on School for the Retarded Directed

September 19, 1974: Former Bidwell School Archery Instructor Aids Tokay High School

December 16, 1974: Juvenile Probation Dept. Wants Bidwell School

December 17, 1974: Residents Oppose Juvenile Treatment Center

October 27, 1976: Juvenile Home Permit Sought for Bidwell School

October 30, 1976: Juvenile Home Approved for Bidwell School

December 20, 1984: 34 Boys from Bear Creek Boys Ranch (old Bidwell School) Treated for ‘Unknown Irritant’

December 22, 1984: Bear Creek Ranch (old Bidwell School) Reopened after ScareA Long Talk with former Bidwell School Headmaster, George Creary

July 15, 1985: A Long Talk with George Creary

June 23, 1989: George Creary Dies at Age 91

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We’re sure there’s much more to tell about Bidwell School. Please share your memories (and straighten out our facts) by leaving a comment below.

One Response to “Bidwell School — Lodi, CA”

  1. John F Earl says:

    My younger brother and I went to Bidwell School in 69/70 and 70/71 while our family lived in Stockton. I wrote for the Easy Writer during that time (same time of the photos on this page, taken from the year book). It was a great school, sort of like one big family in a way because there were only about 100 students and grades went from 1st to 12th, as I recall. My partner and I debated Mark Stretzile (spelling?), a great student, and his partner in front of the whole school. It was judged by Dr. Creary and three teachers. Of course, it turned out to be a tie. It was a lot of fun doing it in front of the entire student body. It was a great school and I excelled there in part, I think, because of the small class sizes (10 people in my class in 9th and 10 grades with the same students for each subject). The official uniform was a green blazer with a white shirt, maybe a tie. I remember Lorie Cullman and Terry Tarditti, both were in my classes and Terry and Ken (last name?) were my first hang-out-on-campus buddies, three nerds LOL.

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