On the 4th of July, 1915, Eatonville residents paraded down the Mashell to not only celebrate independence day but to also lay the cornerstone of the new high school.
This school would be first class all the way and at a cost of $45,000 (approximately $1,035,000 today), next to the $16,000 gym. Building got underway and doors opened in 1916. The end result? It blew people away.
No Other Like It
Washington Governor Ernest Lister attended the dedication, along with State Superintendent and, the president of the state college, and, of course, pretty much every Eatonville resident.
Governor Lister said, “There is no other high school in the state like Eatonville’s.” Others agreed. The school was written up in newspapers and journals as an example of what to strive for.
A look inside
It’s not possible to mention all the advanced and innovative features of the amazing 1916 school, but here are a few.
• a steam heating plant in the basement, equipped with an automatic heat regulating system.
• an automatic electric clock in the superintendent’s office. The master clock was connected with 22 smaller clocks in other buildings.
• a fire alarm system.
• a manual training department, complete with the most modern wood and metal working power lathes. It was also equipped with top-of-the-line safety devices in case of an accident.
• a household arts department with a model sewing room, living room, bedroom and a large kitchen laboratory, “where common sense domestic science” was taught.
• a generous agriculture department, including outdoor barns and laboratory.
• physics and chemistry laboratories, and academic classrooms on the third floor,
• a stocked library.
• a reading room and checker and chess room.
• a modern auditorium equipped with a fireproof motion picture lantern room and a three-section lighted stage.
The new gym also had its own wow factor. It was equipped with dumbbells, Indian clubs, horses, bars, rings, trapeze, rowing machines, indoor track, and more. If that wasn’t enough there was a swimming pool, where students received training in swimming, diving, lifesaving, and first aid.
There was a great amount of civic pride in the school. It would be hard not to be proud when it was being toted as the “leading rural school system in the Pacific Northwest” and being written up in papers in journals back east.
Thankfully, today things haven’t changed that much. EHS is still a beautiful modern school, equipped with some cutting edge technology. Students are being prepared for the 21st century (instead of the 20th), and civic pride still runs deep.