Pictures of Moneta School Jan. 2018
July 21, 2012: The school is one of the very few buildings left in Moneta, barely on the west side of the O'Brien/Clay county line.
The tiny Moneta school district was caught in a tug of war between Hartley and Everly in the late 1950s and ended up split in two.
At the same time the Baby Boom was creating explosions in enrollment, one-room schools were dying by the dozens as reorganizations swept the state. The newly formed Hartley Community School District had 797 students in 1959-60, and 883 the next year, so many that junior high classes were held at the Legion Building. (Today, Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn has fewer than 650.)
Moneta High School's last graduating class was in 1959. That July, O'Brien County objected to a planned merger between Everly and Moneta because it did not match that board's vision for county-wide reorganization. At the time, county boards held some measure of veto power, and the state Department of Public Instruction granted the appeal. The merger was off, and 30 Moneta high-schoolers were divided between Hartley and Everly.
In November 1959, the county boards of education divided Moneta up, giving 60% of it to Everly. On April 12, 1960, Everly and that portion of Moneta approved consolidation. Residents of the 40% rump district voted to join Hartley Oct. 10, 1960, and the Moneta Consolidated School District ceased to exist July 1, 1961.
Moneta makes a one-paragraph appearance in The Only Dance In Iowa, which noted that the school building closed entirely in 1976 and the town disincorporated in 1996.
In another sign of the disruption of the old ways of life in the period, the Milwaukee Railroad announced plans to discontinue passenger service between Madison WI and Canton SD along the US 18 corridor. An outcry postponed the cancellation, but the last trains went through Jan. 4-5, 1960. In summer 1959, US 18 was rebuilt and widened through Hartley, replacing 18-foot-wide concrete from 1921, and a ribbon-cutting was held Oct. 9.
From iowahighways.net information comes from the Hartley Sentinel archives, For more newspaper stories about the Moneta School click here.