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Last Rustic classes were in 1963
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An undated photo of the Rustic School that opened in 1921 along Airport Way.

Editor’s note: Manteca Unified is marking its 50th year of unification. This is part of an occasional series on the history of local schools.

Buses weren’t the preferred mode of transportation for rural kids to get to school back in 1870 when Rustic School was built along what is now Airport Way south of Manteca.

The one-room school house had a barn in the back where students could stable their horses.

Manteca Unified has secured an elementary school site nearby near Airport Way and Fig Avenue that will be named Rustic School when it is built to serve the growing neighborhoods south of the 120 Bypass.

Rustic School opened in 1870 with 15 boys and 15 girls

Records show in 1878 the school was valued at $1,000. The teacher was paid $65 a month.

Rustic was closed due to rain several times. The teacher and a student spent a night in the school due to rising flood waters.

Records show that in the 1880s students were taught hygiene, manners, morals as well as reading, writing, and math.

The school enrollment in 1885 had dropped down to 16 students.

Rustic had a number of interesting issues. One newspaper story reported that two boys spent much of the winter standing after they blew up the school’s year supply of firewood. Their parents had to replace the firewood.

Another student threw gun powder into the stove. That caused the pipes to fall and fill the school room with soot.

The school enrollment reached 26 by 1898. Growth required a new school to be built. It was opened in 1921 at the same location. There were two teachers by then and 32 students. The playground was doubled in size to two acres.

The Rustic School was closed in 1963.

Students were absorbed by the newly constructed Nile Garden School.

The two-story school built in 1921 is now used as a private residence.