As residents came to the Flathead Valley from the Midwest due to drought-stricken conditions, Russell Elementary School was born. A 30% increase in school age children during this time precipitated the need for a new school building. The construction of the school provided much needed work for many local men. Most of this work was accomplished during the Winter of 1938-39. The school was designed by architect Fred Brinkman and is one of only a few Art Moderne style buildings in Kalispell. The original building included six classrooms, offices and a basement playroom in a plan designed to be flexible for later expansion (accomplished in 1950 and 1955). Cream colored brick contrasts with darker window trim and chromium grillwork adds refinement to the massive front entrance. The original interior features include hardwood classroom floors, transoms, built-in cabinets and decorative stencils in the vestibule. The school, then located outside the city limits, opened in the fall of 1939 as the Northside School. In January of 1940, it received a more distinguished name after Charles M. Russell, Montana's cowboy artist, who preserved some the state's most colorful history in pencil and paint.