Hobbs’ First Teacher

Mrs. Harold P. Collier, formerly Miss Olive Manning, was hired to teach in Hobbs in 1915. She recounted her early memories in a newspaper article in the Hobbs Daily News back in 1936.

The first school building was also completed in 1915, but in stages. Only the basement had been dug by October of that year, so they started holding classes there although the floors and walls were still dirt. Initially thirty students were enrolled and classes ran from the first to the ninth grade. Since the area was still part of Eddy County at that time, it was part of the school district of that county. The administrator was W. A. Poore of Carlsbad.

Construction labor was donated by area residents and school went on while the above-ground work was completed. It became a community center where local events were held.

The school building itself was completed around the first of the year in 1916 and the students were able to occupy the it and move from the basement. Mrs. Collier recalled that they had a library of fifty books. Her recollections of Hobbs at that time were that there were not many cars, maybe as many as three or four in town. Transportation was mostly by horseback or wagon. The railroad had not reached Hobbs at that time and there were few businesses in addition to the early post office.

The building was referred to as the All-Hobbs school building and served the area for around twenty years. It was expanded to add more rooms before being replaced.

Little else is presently known about Mrs. Collier. The couple had at least two sons, Harold and Kenneth while living in Lea County. Kenneth lost his life in the Philippines during World War II. The Colliers eventually moved to the state of Washington. Olive and her son Harold are buried at Woodbine Cemetery in Puyallup, Pierce County, Washington. The burial location for her husband, Harold P. Collier, is presently unknown.