Buford School was originally built in 1889 on a site located in White River Valley at the mouth of Big Beaver Basin, now called Lake Avery. After major flood damage in 1902, the school was rebuilt at its current location with materials salvaged from the original 2 story building. In 1930, and old cabin was moved in and added on as a kitchen for the purpose of serving hot lunches to the students.
Minewa Bell Roosevelt (wife of Elliot Roosevelt and daughter-in-law of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt), was the property owner at that time and gave the school house to the White River Community in 1953 in memory of her father, Alfonso Bell. The old “Buford School,” as everyone still calls it, then became a community meeting place to ensure the building’s preservation and offer a place for local gatherings and activities.
The Buford School is currently cared for by the White River Community Association (formed in 1961), who provided oversight of its complete restoration to the original 1950s state in 2008. It is kept functional through the dedication of these members and monetary donations of the community, who make sure it remains a place for a traditional Annual Buy-Fly Fishing Tournament and fish fry each summer, monthly meetings in the fall and winter and neighborly support to this entire area.
It stands today in this picturesque location, as a symbol of the heritage of the area, from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. And can be seen from the Flat Tops Scenic Byway. In 2006 the State of Colorado listed the Buford School in the Register of Historical Properties, as did Rio Blanco County.