The legislature of 1899 passed the first Act for the establishment of County High Schools, and the citizens of Lewistown immediately took steps to secure the establishment of such an institution here The Fergus County High School was established that same year. Professor P. M. Silloway was the first Principal, fall of 1901, with only a half hundred pupils in attendance. In 1902, the high school board decided to purchase a whole city block in Lewistown for $1,200. The following year, it awarded a $28,070 building contract to T. J. Tubb, the town's leading contractor, for a permanent county high school. Before the building was ready (1903-04) for occupancy, in 1900 or 1901, classes were held in the large room over Culver's Studio and in the vacant upstairs rooms in the first brick Lincoln School. At that time, there was no Sixth Avenue, only a hill. The front eastern entrance to the school was so steep that it was necessary to have the plank sidewalk, leading to the turnstile, nailed with cleats to guard against slipping. This first high school had a gymnasium with a swimming pool in it and when the new building was built the new gymnasium was added and the pool left out. This building was burned by an incendiary fire on April 30, 1918 due to anti-German fever. For a time the students were housed in the "Tar Paper Palace" as it was known, a one story frame building of hasty construction extending along one side of the vacant block near the high school.