4522 Abernathy Road, Suisun Valley, CA 94534 • 707 438-3674
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Gomer School
Watercolor by Ilse Luense-Escobales

1/4/05 4:32 PM
....   ....    
  Gomer School History

W
e are fortunate to have some remnants of the past left in our county. Gomer School can certainly be counted as one of them.

As you drive down Abernathy Road in Suisun Valley, you will see a special little red schoolhouse that has escaped the worst ravages of decay and disuse. It is Gomer School, undoubtedly Solano County's most picturesque elementary school.

This little school is named for William Gomer who was born in 1811 in North Carolina. He, along with his wife, Jane, found themselves in California in the 1850s. They owned 250 acres in Suisun Valley and 302 acres of tule land a mile south of Suisun City. All of this was worth about $11,040. Land was valued at about $20 per acre! The land on which Gomer School now sits was donated by Jane Gomer after her husband died.

The original structure was built in 1857. As a public school, it was called Suisun #2. In his report to the state, Superintendent of Schools J.W. Hines stated, "It is a miserable old dingy house scarcely fit for a respectable stable. Unfortunately, however, it was recently built, thus dismissing the probabilities of getting a better one soon; it contains one room and nothing else."

The original structure burned down around 1900. That same year, the present Gomer schoolhouse was built. A second room was added in 1926. Gomer School had students from kindergarten through eighth grade.

Originally, Gomer School had a 300-pound bell installed in 1927. This large bell called students to Gomer until 1957 when the last class graduated. Gomer, which had been its own school district, merged with Suisun Valley, and the bell then stayed in front of Suisun Valley School until 1986 when it was returned to Gomer. The bell was stolen in 2000 and replaced with a smaller bell the same year.
 


Closeup of bell tower at Gomer School 2001
In the early 1960's, the Solano County Office of Education (SCOE) purchased Gomer School. It was used as a bakery, restaurant, and woodshop for students who were enrolled in the SCOE Special Education Department. In 1987, the students were mainstreamed, and the Regional Occupational Program (ROP) took over the site, adding a new wing with a state-of-the-art kitchen for a culinary academy. It was at this time the original classroom was renovated to become a museum, and the Gomer School Historical Association was formed.

Currently, Gomer School is used for offices and as a meeting place for non-profit organizations. The historic building is a mini-"museum" operated by the SCOE in collaboration with the Gomer School Historical Association, a non-profit group which formed in 1988 to collect pre-1930 memorabilia, to hold meetings, and plan events.

The Gomer School Historical Association is proud to be part of preserving our past. We count Gomer School as a real treasure.

Text by Barbara Van Putten and Margo McGlone 02/2003