Avery School and Miss Hazel Fischer
The Avery School was built in 1886 across the road from the Avery Hotel.
Hazel Fischer began teaching at Avery School in 1917. When the opening of the Blagen Mill, in the late 1930’s, increased attendance dramatically, they had double sessions at the Avery School and one class, taught by Miss Wilma Avery, was held in the dining room of the Avery Hotel.
The new Avery School was built at White Pines in 1942 by Swendeman and Son, using lumber furnished by American Forest Products who had taken over the Blagen Mill. The present Hazel Fischer School was opened in 1973, a couple of years after Vallecito Union School District was formed, partly from attendance areas previously in Calaveras Unified School District. Avery School’s name was changed to Hazel Fischer School at the time of her retirement and the school name went from the old building to the new one.
In the early 1960’s, the Calaveras Unified School District, of which the Avery School was a part, put an outside principal in charge of the Avery School and there was trouble between him and Miss Fischer. Miss Fischer had been in total charge for a long time and it was awkward for her to allow another to tell her how to run her school This turmoil, I believe helped precipitate her retirement in 1965, after 48 years.
Miss Fischer lived in the Avery Hotel for her whole career in education and after she retired. After her retirement she continued for a couple of years to serve as the score keeper for the Junior Relays, which in her honor became the Hazel Fischer Relays.
She had a ranch on Whiskey Slide Road between Mountain Ranch and Highway 26 where she would go to “take care of things”. The main product from that ranch was probably the timber that she had harvested from her land.
Miss Fischer taught at Avery School for 48 years and never missed a day of school. Although she confessed rather privately that she had a horrible time with kidney stones for which she was forced to have numerous medical interventions, she told us at her retirement that she was only sick on weekends and school vacations.