The Blue Diamond Elementary School is one of the oldest operating elementary school in Clark County. It has been open continuously since 1929.
Blue Diamond, a historical mining village near the base of the Spring Mountain Range and Red Rock Canyon, was originally known as Cottonwood Springs, currently called Cottonwood Ranch.
Early in the 20th century, prospectors discovered high quality gypsum in neighboring hills 23 miles west of Las Vegas. The mining claims and the Ranch property were bought by the Blue Diamond Gypsum Company. This company provided housing for workers and their families at the mining site. This property is known today as Blue Diamond.
Before there was a school in the Blue Diamond area, records from 1912 show a school in Arden, the closest community. We don’t know if there were children from Cottonwood Ranch who attended that school.
The local school began in the Village, which then was moved across the road and to the top of the hill where the mine was located. It then returned to the Village. The current Village School, built in 1942, was in the Blue Diamond School District until consolidation of the Clark County School District in 1956.
Early dwellers in the area were Native Americans. Cottonwood Springs was a stop on the Old Spanish Trail. In the 19th Century, during the time of trails and wagon roads, travelers and explorers camped at Cottonwood Springs.
Cottonwood Springs was part of the old Wilson Ranch. A one room adobe was the first house at Cottonwood in the late 1800’s. Over time the adobe house sheltered ranching and farming families.
Some early residents were prospectors, one of which was Vincent Atteucci. He located gypsum in the area in 1905. He and a mining partner sold their claims to the Los Angeles Blue Diamond Company in 1924.
In the 1940’s, the mining company established the Village for married workers. The original name, Blue Diamondville, was shortened to Blue Diamond. In the 1960’s the Village was advertised in the Wall Street Journal and sold to a corporation, which in turn sold the homes to private owners. The Village residents were entrusted with the care of its historical central park area, a responsibility that continues today.
The gypsum mine, in operation since 1924, is considered one of the longest continuously operating mines in Nevada. The Village sits at the south end of what was known as Cottonwood Valley, now Red Rock Canyon.