Fort Roosevelt, California
Fort Roosevelt was located at Roosevelt Elementary School in Hanford, California. It was a 1-acre (4,000 m2) fort surrounded by almost 1000 telephone poles in the style of a fort from the Old West. Outdoor education was delivered there and Fort Roosevelt became a nationally-recognized model for environmental education in schools. The fort included a wildlife rehabilitation center that served the entire San Joaquin Valley. As a tourist attraction, it drew 30,000 visitors a year. The facility was started by then-principal Jim Parks beginning in the late 1960s. Heidi Arroues was the fort's facilitator from 1983 to 2005.
In 2005, the Hanford Elementary School District's board of trustees decided not to make needed repairs to Fort Roosevelt and the fort was demolished despite public opposition. The board was actually "strong armed" into destruction of the beloved Fort by Rebecca Presley, the Superintendent of the elementary school district at the time. She waged an unscrupulous heavy handed campaign involving attorneys and land developers which ultimately doomed the Fort. If it had not been for the historical classification of the train station that had been part of the Fort, it also would have been destroyed at her whim. Immediately after the demolition of the Fort, Ms. Presley, having been investigated no less than three times by the CA Grand Jury, retired and moved to Seattle, WA; ostensibly to be close to her children.
A film called Fort Roosevelt Requiem has been made by filmmaker David Dibble who had experienced the fort as a child.
- http://www./fortroosevelt.com/ accessed 7-4-09
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