Editor’s note: Manteca Unified is marking the 50th year of unification. This is an occasional series about schools that are part of the district’s history and that of its predecessors.
Olive Taylor is the only Manteca teacher ever killed on the job.
The murder occurred in May of 1932 at the Castle School that once served the rural area northeast of Manteca.
Taylor had disciplined a child by spanking him. The irate parent entered the school after classes were dismissed and began yelling at the teacher. The janitor, who was in another part of the building, heard the noise and went to investigate. The man pulled out a gun and killed the teacher. He also wounded the janitor in the face with another gunshot.
The gunman fled. His car was found burning a short time later,
A statewide search failed to find the suspect who somehow had made it back to his native Greece. He was tried for the crime there and later returned to the United States.
Castle School was built on property given to the fledging school in the early 1870s by George Castle and William Harelson. It was a one-room school with children traveling as far as 10 miles to attend. The school was on French Camp Road west of Austin Road and east of Highway 99.
The sole Castle School instructor in 1879 was paid $70 a month. There were 31 children being taught by the teacher.
A third school was built in 1924. It had a single classroom but a dividing wall could be pulled into place to divide it into two classrooms. A stage was at one end and offices at the other.
New Haven School was built in 1966 to replace both Castle School and Summer Home School.
Summer Home School was located on the southwest corner of Cottage Avenue and Southland Road.