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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).
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.
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.
— Online Yearbooks
— Yearbook Reprints For Sale
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 Scare
July 15, 1985: A Long Talk with George Creary
June 23, 1989: George Creary Dies at Age 91
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.