MANY PEOPLE RECOGNIZED the August Picture from the Past as Lincoln School before the two wings were added.
The photo was taken in 1917. One of the first Lincoln Heights schools — Martin Hall — is shown at the left of the photo.
Due to the efforts of David O’Brien, the site of the Lincoln Heights School was set aside for a school when the reserve opened for land purchases.
O’Brien and others kept settlers from taking claims on the school block.
They posted signs at each corner that read, “This block reserved for school purposes.”
If anyone tried to come onto the school block, they were encouraged to move on rather vigorously by O’Brien and his friends.
Built in 1890-91
Martin’s Hall was built in 1890-1891 and was a one-room wooden building.
In 1894, Lincoln Heights received a new two-story frame structure with a basement.
This was part of a bond issue to construct three schools in Port Angeles. D.B. Merrill built the building at a cost of $1,345.
In 1916, the original section of the present Lincoln School building was built at the cost of $23,703.
It was a two-story brick-and-cement building with eight classrooms.
There was an additional building at the back of the main building with a covered walkway between the two.
The toilets and furnace room were in the back. There was also a separate sheltered play area for both boys and girls.
The new school had the capacity to hold 320 students with seven teachers.
The Martin Hall was moved to the southeast corner of the grounds to be saved for overcrowding if the school population grew.
The school opened in January 1917, and the following teachers were hired for the balance of the school year: Inez McLaughlin was principal and taught seventh and eighth grades; Ms. Webster taught sixth and seventh grades; Ms. Davis had fifth and sixth grades; Ms. Mills had fourth grade; Ms. Fitgerald had third grade; Ms. Reese had second grade; and Ms. Ester had first grade.
The school had grades 1-8 until 1926, when Roosevelt Junior High opened on Fourth Street. From that time until it closed in 1978, the school had grades 1-6.
In 1922, four more classrooms were added with a wing on both sides of the original building.
In 1929, a portable classroom was constructed for the school. The portable housed kindergarten at one time, a cafeteria and the library. In 1954, the primary wing was added across the street on the west side.
In 1956, two more classrooms were added to the primary wing and the kindergarten was placed in the primary wing.
Offices were added in 1961, and many staff additions were made throughout the 62 years the school was in session, including a special education teacher, library aide and office staff.
There have been many teachers throughout the years, and the list is too long to include here.
Some of the following comments were collected from a pamphlet published by the Clallam County Historical Society titled “Lincoln Memories.”
It was published after one of the Lincoln School reunions.
• Boys played marbles at recess and the girls played tag and teeter-totter. When recess was over, they would line up in a row and march into the building to a John Phillip Sousa recording. No one stepped out of line and no one was late.
• Nels Johnson got in trouble one day when he pulled some grass to throw at a fellow student, but the student was too close and the grass missed, but not his fist. Norma Pringle Moffett remembered her eighth-grade teacher was O.B. Fleming. He ruled with a strap.
• In the 1920s, Mildred Lysall Johnson had memories of the school putting on a production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Kids from all grades were in it. She was a buttercup. The daisies and buttercups did a dance. She had an orange gauze dress and wore a wreath of flowers on her head. Her sister was sweet peas. The mothers took the girls down to Lewis’ studio and had their photo taken.
• Rosalie Ulin Gittings of Olympia attended grades 1-6 between 1931 and 1937. The principal was Angus Edwards, and her teachers were Florence Filion, Lucille Allen, Jane Eyre, Ellsworth Keeling and William Frender. She commented that Ms. Filion married the principal and the kids all thought it was the greatest romance of all time — their own Rhett and Scarlett.
2000 ‘Back When’ column
June Robinson’s “Back When” column printed in the Peninsula Daily News on Aug. 31, 2000, included comments from Gordon Holman. He wrote that he started Lincoln School in 1923 and remembered Mrs. Needham as principal.
Robinson’s column also printed quotes from Nels Johnson of Port Angeles, who attended Lincoln School in 1919 as a first-grader with Ms. Laurnena Ester as teacher.
“She was a wonderful teacher,” Johnson said. His older brother and two sisters attended the earlier Lincoln Heights school, which had a bell tower.
Jackie Jenkins LeDoux wrote that she and her sister came to Port Angeles in 1950 and she started the second grade at Lincoln School with Ms. Kostner as her teacher. She continued on through the sixth grade. She remembered Mrs. Hodgdon as her fourth-grade teacher.
A good time for one year
Bette Dearing wrote that she went to Lincoln in 1956 as a sixth-grader. She said that even though she only went there one year, it was a very good time.
Bruce O’Rourke remembered fifth grade in 1965.
Rob Hause remembered attending Lincoln in 1968-69 as a kindergarten student. Mrs. Ethel Pederson was his teacher, and she was a fun teacher everyone really liked. There were two kindergarten classes that were both taught in the portable that is now the Clallam County Historical Society’s research center.
Scott Hoveskeland said “Lincoln Colts yeah.”
Pam Kentch said she made lots of wonderful memories and friendships there. Her fifth-grade year was the last year it was open for a school (1977-78).
Karla Richardson began attending at the end of her first-grade year (1970-71) and had Mrs. Bednarek. Her second-grade teacher was Mrs. Stuben, and for third grade, she was transferred to Jefferson with four other students due to overcrowding at Lincoln.
Yvonne Marie remembered having Mrs. Kalahar for kindergarten and Mrs. Fox for first grade. It was in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Because of limited space, there are others who commented but were not included in this column.
Kathy Estes, director of the Clallam County Historical Society, said the school site was set aside for educational purposes by O’Brien.
When the school actually closed in 1978, it was put up for sale by the school district.
In 1990, the historical society was in the market for a building and looked at many possibilities, but the school, even though it needed lots of work, was the only one that was possible for it to purchase at the time.
The society continues to improve the building, and as to the future — well, we will just have to wait and see what the future brings.
It will continue to carry on the tradition of education, as was the original intent of the property.
There is a celebration scheduled for Sept. 10 to honor the building’s 100 years. It will be from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., and hopefully you will come and see what improvements we have been able to make to this special old building.
Alice Alexander is a Clallam County historian, author, and a descendent of an Elwha Valley pioneer family. She is a recipient of a 2014 Clallam County Heritage Awards. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alice’s Clallam history column appears the first Sunday of every month, alternating with Linnea Patrick’s Jefferson County history column on the third Sunday of the month.