Week #44 – Elementary School
Week 44. Elementary School. Describe your grammar/elementary school (or schools). Were they big or small? Are any of these schools still in existence today? If so, how have they changed since you went there?
Above is a picture of Whitman School (named for Marcus Whitman an early missionary in Washington State) I went to Whitman for 6 grades in the 1950s, when I started at Whitman as a first grader Whitman actually had 8 grades, but when I started the 6th grade Shaw Junior High opened and they removed 7th and 8th grade from Whitman and several other elementary schools in the north east part of Spokane, Washington. Notice I said I started as a first grader, as the school district had eliminated kinder gardens when I was five years old, due to lack of space and teachers. I did go to kinder garden at the Christian Church on Wellesley and Post.
The low addition on the right of the photo was the library; just left of the stairs was the wood shop, and the next class was home economics. If you can see the last classroom on the left on the third floor, in 6h grade I had a reading class there, but right outside of those windows was an air raid siren just at the same level as the third floor classroom. Hard to read when the siren went off every week.
Whitman was the largest elementary school in the Spokane schools when I was there, about 900 kids even after they removed the 7th and 8th grades.
In 1981 the Whitman School I went to was demolished as they had built a new Whitman School. The big hole in the building was actually where my first grade class was located. Next left was the boiler room. The old building had been condemned by the fire department as a fire hazard, but as you see in the photos it was a concrete building with a brick skin on the outside, not really burnable, but the old building had originally built with forced air heat to each room from the boiler room and the fire department was worried if a fire got started in the boiler room those forced air ducts would carry the smoke to every room in the building. Each class room only had two outlets also, and that was getting to be a hazard for all the extension cords.
When I started at Whitman they had portables all around the paved playground, but during the middle of first grade they built what we called the annex, west of the gym and it was one long building with I think 14 classrooms. I was in 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades in the annex, but by the 5th grade they needed more space so 5 portables were added north of the annex and all the 5th grades were in the portables. Sixth grade was back in the old building.
The picture above was when they were tearing the annex apart, each classroom was separated and sold, many were made into houses in the neighborhood. The cement building with the red around the top is the gym of the new Whitman school.