Nineteenth-century Americans believed that a strong public school system was necessary for a town to prosper, and the city fathers of Starbuck were no different. The first school was built in the 1880s. In 1892, the school moved again to a small building with a bell tower and approximately 150 students. In 1910, permission was granted to build a larger school with indoor plumbing and enough space to house the growing student body. This building was made of brick and was one of the best attended schools in the area with 217 students.
In 1916, the city added a large gymnasium to the schoolhouse and saw most of its students graduate in the eighth grade. Starbuck was a thriving city with plenty of job opportunities. The male students in particular would set out early to work rather than completing high school in order to secure a good wage.
Like most towns in rural America, Starbuck saw its population decline between 1922 and 1960 due to the changing economy, smaller families, and the consolidation of agriculture. However, in 1963 Starbuck enjoyed a short-lived revitalization with the building of the Little Goose Dam. Over 300 people worked on the first phase of the Dam and more projects were coming. In 1968, the town’s population had doubled again - the old grade school was full and a new school was slated for construction. This school remained at the center of Starbuck’s cultural life until quite recently.