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Great things come and great things change. Here’s your chance to take a walking tour with Historian, Dr. Brian Shute of the Old Franklin Elementary before it morphs into a New School. Never again will you have this unique opportunity.
Was Franklin used as a temporary prison?
Is the boiler room like that of the Titanic?
Did a mad scientist once live across the street?
What was the Franklin Kinderhouse and where was it?
Are there catacombs under Franklin School?
If any of these questions intrigue you please take the tour to get answers to these questions and learn much more. For 107 years Franklin School has been a cornerstone of Spokane’s South Hill. Tens of thousands of students have attended the school and with that comes a rich foundation and history.
Tours will occur April 14th and 28th 2017 and begin at 4:00. There will be snacks and refreshments at the end of the tour along with a raffle.
All proceeds will go to the Franklin ASB and will help fund the Sixth Grade Camp Outing. Please contact Dr. Brian Shute to purchase tickets and tell your Franklin friends. 354-2656 Or email: BrianSh@SpokaneSchools.org
UPDATE: After 107 years of constant use Franklin School will be receiving a facelift during the 2017-2018 school year. With bond levy funding we are pleased that the original 1909 building will be kept and revamped with a magnificent addition to the west. Great care has been taken by ALSC Architects of Spokane to maintain complementary styles between old and new while modernizing what needs to happen. Input from the community, teachers, and staff were taken to help make this happen. During the transition, Franklin will carry on at the old Jefferson School.
This book was written by Ernest Walden, a 96 year-old Franklin alumnus. Within these pages Ernie recalls his 1934 summer experience working in the Colville National Forest. Shortly after graduating from Franklin Ernie worked with pioneer, Cull White and others in the vast wilderness. True life thrills, danger, and independence are depicted here. This is a very good read and available in the Franklin library or it can be purchased by contacting me.
This rare photograph was perhaps the first group
picture at the original Franklin School located
on Front (now Trent) and Grant Streets. The photograph
was taken shortly after the completion of the school,
circa 1889. When magnified the students are standing
amongst large rocks that were moved out of the way when
building. In the left lower corner, “Emil Guenther,
Architect,” is printed. Little did anyone pictured here
know that 20 years later this building would be used as
a make-shift jail during the Free Speech Fights.
Particular thanks to Bill Bronsch for this photograph.
There’s no doubt that Franklin Elementary School is an intriguing part of Spokane history. Architecturally, the brick construction, wavy glass windows, and stone foundation give even the casual street observer a feeling of timeless tradition.
Franklin School in more modern times.
Landscaped with huge, ancient pines, a roundabout cement walkway, and a granite threshold, Franklin continues to be a focal point in this community. Facing the south, Franklin School majestically looks upon the city. Franklin was the product of master architect, Loren Rand. It reflects a neo-Classical influence that made Rand famous for several schools and buildings in the area. Rand’s buildings included Lewis and Clark High School, First Presbyterian Church, banks, stores, and high end homes. Although many of Rand’s schools have not survived the bulldozer, his stunning design of fluted columns are still noted at Franklin’s entrance. The following paragraphs depict the history of this longstanding campus in Spokane, Washington.
Stepping inside the building, the feel and ambience is immediate. Franklin’s tall ceilings, wooden stairways, and hardwood floors welcome students, parents, and teachers. Worn indentations on the stairway landings are testaments to Franklin’s long heritage. The single pipe steam radiator system provides welcoming, old-style warmth on cold winter mornings.
For 100 years, the Franklin School has played a huge part in the surrounding area. Not only has Franklin provided an excellent education to tens of thousands of students, but it has also brought this neighborhood together. Known as the “Franklin Community,” the common goals of education, teamwork, acceptance, and love-of-learning remain.
The Franklin School had an earlier existence in downtown Spokane. Completed in 1889, nearly one hundred years after the death of Benjamin Franklin, the original Franklin school was located on Front and Grant Streets. As the school was preparing to open its doors in September, the Great Fire of Spokane destroyed 32 square blocks of downtown on August 4, 1889. This was a remarkably sad time for the city with millions of dollars in damages. A distance away from the flames, the newly built Franklin was out of harm’s way.
That building cost $30,000 to build but it did not stay at that location. With a growing downtown and railroad, the original Franklin School was closed down in 1908. The railroad truly wanted the land where the Franklin School was planted however, and there were disputes over a fair price. It was headline news on December 10, 1909, that Judge Huneke’s courtroom jury decided that the Milwaukee Railroad would need to pay the school district $115,000 for the building and land. The city ledger showed a final sales amount of $116,777.40 in this condemnation matter. Interestingly, just a decade earlier, the school had been valued at only $5000. Attorney Ed Huneke, Judge Heneke’s grandson, explained that in a condemnation matter the railroad, like the State, could claim property–but needed to pay for it. After the railroad purchased the school and land the place was gutted by fire, allegedly the handywork of a firebug. Limited water pressure impaired the task of putting out the fire which started in the basement. The railroad declared $25,000 in damages and the place was demolished in 1910. There is little doubt that those were hustling and bustling times in Spokane’s history; a growing city advancing in all directions.
The original Franklin School built in 1889.
The original Franklin School was located along Front Street (now Trent) directly across from what was then the Northern Pacific roundhouse. This was about six blocks east of Division Street, on Trent along the north side. One can only imagine the distraction of trains and noise that were in close proximity to the school. If nothing else, the temptation to view those monstrous locomotives from the schoolhouse windows would have been great. No doubt, more than one lad put pennies on the tracks to later find them squished. It’s fun to note the recorded costs that were needed to operate the early Franklin School for the 1906-1907 school year: furniture, $140.19; telephone, $27.00; repairs, $283.77; teacher’s pay, $7,139.12; janitors, $861.70; fuel, $604.47; lights, $18.50; and teaching supplies, $83.69– for a grand total of $9,601.17. Unfortunately, the original Franklin is completely gone and there are no physical signs that the school ever existed. Now, Washington State University’s Spokane branch resides on the land where the original Franklin once stood.
The old Franklin School has historical significance because it was used as a jail during the famous Free Speech Fights of Spokane. In 1909, the building had been abandoned and stood vacant and in legal limbo. With the railroad, lumber, mining, and orchard industries nearby, physical laborers were in high demand. Many of these working class people were immigrants, many were migratory, and many others were Spokane citizens. All of them were trying to feed themselves and/or their families.
In 1909, thirty-one employment agencies lined Stevens Street in Spokane. Known as “labor sharks,” most of these businesses were in cahoots with the foremen of various industrial operations. Charging a dollar a job to each worker, these agencies were directing workers to jobs that either did not exist, or to ones that did not pay their workers. The abuses became so dreadful and blatant that the Industrial Workers of the World or the I.W.W. carved a foothold in Spokane. Considered a union organization, members known as “Wobblies,” began to speak publicly regarding Spokane’s dirty secret. Crates were overturned and Wobblies spoke out on street corners. Rebelling against a squelch ordinance designed to keep them silent, Spokane Wobblies were arrested in great numbers, around 500. Word of these civil rights violations washed across the country. The famous Elizabeth Gurley Flynn came to Spokane, published the abuses in The Industrial Worker, and joined the cause–complete with an arrest too.
November 12, 1909 Spokesman Review photograph: Armed with rifles, policemen Dugger and Willis guard I.W.W. prisoners at the old Franklin School.
After the city jail was filled with Wobblies, many more were imprisoned in the abandoned Franklin school. An arrangement with the army offered to hold more at Fort George Wright. Reportedly, three prisoners died after their release from the old Franklin school. Refusing to chop and haul firewood, Wobblies in the school were so cold that they tore molding from the walls to burn for warmth. Some went on hunger strikes. Prisoner James Stark kept a diary describing how the prisoners were badly beaten and abused by the police guards; eyes were blackened, teeth were broken, clothing torn, and there was much blood. As word got out, more and more Wobblies came to Spokane to fight for free speech and the freedom of their brothers. Many Spokane citizens were complaining too about the prison costs and treatment of the Wobblies. In the end, the Spokane authorities relented because of law suits and large numbers of Wobblies. Within a year, the police chief and four policemen were fired, the squelch ordinance was “put on ice,” and 19 employment agencies were closed down–the primary reason why the I.W.W. spoke out in the first place. According to Flynn, Mayor N.S. Pratt admitted to knowing that the employment agencies were dishonest and that he had helped many workers get back thousands of their rightfully earned dollars. Importanly, the I.W.W. wanted change through the pen and tongue, and not the violence that was brought upon them.
Some students today will mistakenly think that the new Franklin school was a jail. Even though the basement may be reminiscent of a prison with its brick-walled windows, it was actually the old Franklin once located downtown that served that function. It seems ironic that this chapter of this once beautiful and peaceful school ended so violently.
The new Franklin School at 2627 East Seventeenth Avenue was completed in 1909 at a cost of $45,000 according to newspaper reports. In those early days, and much of the 1900s, grades went from first through eighth. During some years, double shifts and A/B sections accommodated large quantities of students.
One old timer who lived in the area recalled that when Franklin was being built, horse drawn wagons came up the hill and delivered building supplies along Seventeenth Avenue, a dirt road then. It wasn’t until the early 1930’s that Seventeenth Avenue was paved. The “Lincoln Park” streetcar was entered into service at about this same time. It held 52 passengers and ran from downtown, along Seventeenth, to Ray Street. Can you imagine riding inside that streetcar with the windows open, smelling the lilacs, and enjoying the ride?
The 1916 First Grade classroom at Franklin.
Besides a sturdy, well-built school, relic treasures of those early days remain. Class pictures, letters, and articles depict a vibrant school dedicated to education, rigor, clubs, and “quiet hallways.” Some things never change at Franklin.
Eighth graders of 1918 standing on Franklin’s front steps.
The north side of the school overlooks the city of Spokane, now partially obscured by tall pines. From the balcony and north windows, one can view the playground, ball field, and portables like a bird. An iron mesh fire escape with steep stairs still remains, and connects the upper floor with the ground. In fact, up until the mid 1980’s this fire escape was still used in routine fire drills. Girls and teachers alike, who wore high heels and/or skirts were faced with the daunting task of gracefully stepping down the steep mesh stairs. Many a past student, and one or two of the dated staff, recall going down those stairs. Today, other routes are used for drills.
As mentioned earlier, much of Franklin is heated with what is known as Single Pipe Radiator Heat. Here, steam travels up to individual radiators through a large diameter pipe, condenses into water, which then travels back to the boiler through the same pipe. What makes the system so interesting is that while the heating steam travels upward, the condensed water travels downward by gravity back to the boiler through the same port. A small valve on each radiator bleeds the system of air and a soft “chicka-chicka-chicka” sound is intermittently heard. A substantial portion of the basement is dedicated to the mammoth equipment used to heat the building and provide fresh air. This system was a precursor to the Double Pipe Systems that were so prevalent in yesteryears, and remain so today. A more efficient gas broiler now provides steam for the building. The huge air exchangers and plenums put into use nearly a century ago are still working to provide fresh air to the building. A basement tour reveals intriguing technology that is reminscent of the Titanic.
In the old days, coal was used to heat the Franklin boilers. When coal burns it leaves behind clinkers that are a rough, glassy byproduct. Custodians at Franklin were commissioned to remove the clinkers each day and dump them over the bank behind the school. One such custodian, Mr. Coobaugh, warned students to not touch the clinkers because they were often hot. After years of accumulation, the early playground was largely surfaced with clinkers. Reportedly, many a slice, scrape, bump, and bruise were suffered on the playground of clinkers. The playground has long since been paved, and the playground equipment areas are padded with tanbark. In the main boiler room, coal and clinkers can still be found.
The bank that separates the upper and lower playgrounds is largely composed of clay. For years, various classes would collect the reddish clay from the bank, shape it, and have it kiln fired as a permanent keepsake. On occasion, it was reported that fossils were found at this location. If you or an ancestor have one of these keepsakes, and would like to share, we’d be delighted to see it.
In 1931, before the major expansion in 1953, a framed multi-purpose auditorium/gym was added to the east side of the campus. Here, meetings, rainy day recess, plays, and other functions were held. Two narrow, arched, brick entries connected it to the main building. Those bricked archways can be seen today; they are observed from the east parking lot and are filled in with bricks, and are the only physical evidence that the stick framed structure once existed. Unlike the brick construction of the main building, the auditorium was of a different breed. Joan and Don Sayler, who attended Franklin from 1938-1943, were interviewed in 1989. They recalled that their eighth grade school play was held in this room. In fact, that’s where they met and, as sweethearts, they later married. For years, a Mrs. Foster taught piano lessons to students for 25 cents a lesson in this room. The framed multi-purpose room was removed in the late 1950’s and its spot is now a parking lot. Mark Erickson, who attended Franklin in the late 1950’s and 1960’s indicated that the auditorium was moved to Ferris High School and was used as the Health classroom.
Brothers, Robert and Ray Mosher attended Franklin in the 1940’s and 1950’s. According to Bob and Ray, the wood frame auditorium had a stage on the north side of the building with maroon colored curtains that could be drawn closed. An upright piano sat along the east wall just below the stage and was used for choral events and talant shows. The building had double doors that faced south on 17th Avenue. There were windows above the door and along the Mt. Vernon side. The space was heated with steam radiators that were situated along the east and west walls, had dark stained fir wood floors, wooden benches, and a tall ceiling. The gym was a busy place that could probably accommodate the entire student body in a packed pinch.
Ray (1949-57) recalled that band practice occurred in this space and was conducted by Mr. Fuller of Lewis and Clark. Ray indicated that the auditorium was isolated from the rest of the school so “…we didn’t bother other classes–only Mr. Fuller.” Of interest, Ray recalled seeing a couple of Rube Goldberg Machine shows in the auditorium. These unique shows were offered by a local man, Herman Hansen, whose name surfaced when his daughter, Barbara Hansen Sarp (1944-53), read this article. Each year Herman spent weeks creating a new, incredible machine which ran flawlessly. He did this during the time his chidren, Barbara and Colin (1947-56), attended Franklin. In fact, Herman and his wife, Pat, were very active in the PTA and other school functions. Rube Goldberg machines were intricate, complex, and mind boggling. They would perform a simple task like pouring a cup of water or lighting a candle.
A humorous sketch of a Rube Goldberg Machine.
Using marbles, troughs, chains, levers, and other mechanical wizardry, the machine would automatically go through its actions leading up to a grand finale. The entire movement of the machine might take 5 minutes to go through its process. Needless to say, this was hugely entertaining to Ray and the other students.
Bob Mosher remembered that coed dancing and volleyball occurred in the auditorium. Both Mosher brothers started piano lessons with a Mrs. Florence Ehrenberg. They began lessons at school and then later at Mrs. Ehrenberg’s “grand old home” on Cook Street, just south of Altamont Street. Bob also indicated that a Miss Davis taught voice at Franklin and a couple of other schools.
Bob recalled that his kindergarten class (1945-46) was held in a converted coat closet on the west side of the original building. He also recalled that classmate Bo Brian, lived in the house along Mt. Vernon Street, that later became the kindergarten house where brother Ray attended.
The basement of the original school was a busy place too. Storage rooms, and the boys and girls bathrooms were down there. With bathroom pass in hand, many a student have vanished into the bathrooms-only to be retrieved later by a teacher, returned to the classroom, and asked to work. Along the east end of the basement, Ray Mosher recalls that tumbling classes were held there. He also remembers the basement being used for bomb/fallout drills. Today, the basement is used for a variety of activities, including the Science Fair. Mr. Potts, the head custodian, waxes the cement floor to a beautiful shine.
Franklin was a booming school and in 1941, parent groups helped purchase the house along Mt. Vernon Street and the land behind it. Money for this project was partially obtained through card parties, dinners, dances, and socials. The procured land became the grassy ball field and the house was transformed into a kindergarten. Parents helped convert it and they built the miniature furniture used inside. Since the district did not sponsor a kindergarten, a fee was charged to parents for this service. Before the purchase of the house, kindergarten was held in a cloak closet.
In years past, it was mandated or expected that teachers would remain “unmarried” and “without child.” If a teacher decided to marry, she would need to quit teaching. The idea was that a given teacher’s attention should be solely focused on students…and nothing else…not even a mate or family. Besides that, what on earth would young minds think if their teacher was married or, worse yet, married and morphing pregnant! Of course this was a double standard involving the genders and one that would not last. Recently, I was told that the issue simply revolved around childhood diseases and the dangers of pregnancy, schools, and germs. This could be so. Diseases, such as chickenpox and measles, were far more dangerous to pregnant women and their unborn babes of yesteryear. Fortunately, times do change. The first teacher at Franklin School to get married and remain teaching was Beverly Byers-Donner, and the year was 1945. This was a postwar time which may have influenced this longstanding attitude. Vaccinations were on the scene too. Now, it is not uncommon for professionals to teach right up to the end of their pregnancy.
For decades, a bust of Benjamin Franklin remained on the stairway landing between the first and second floors. Over the term, jillions of students filed past his smirking face as they rounded the corner to go up or down the stairs. His nose shows wear and tear where students amused themselves by touching it as they walked by. Some even put their pencils in his nostrils… and the scars remain. Now, the same bust safely resides on top of a glass case above the entry stairway. As an aside, pendulum or wind-up school clocks were used to keep time in the school. Lucky and privileged eighth graders, were honored with the duty of setting the clocks once a month. Today, integrated clocks keep (near) perfect time, and security systems monitor the entire campus.
In the fall of 1952 nearly 500 students were attending Franklin School. It was the only school in the district that incorporated double shifting so everyone could be taught. In this same year there were 53 kindergarteners taught by Gladys Hoagland. Newspaper accounts reported that Franklin was bulging. More room was needed and in 1953, a $280,000 expansion to the west was completed. The new wing included classrooms, lockers, a library, multi-purpose room, and kitchen. The kindergarten class returned to the main building at some point after 1953, and the converted kindergarten was torn down sometime in the 1960’s.
In 1989, marking 100 years after the first school was constructed, Franklin educators brought students closer with its past. Students were commissioned to interview old alumni. Several old-timers came forward with fascinating memories, some of which are reflected here. They spoke of the education that they received at Franklin, the personalities of the teachers and principals, and the caring environment that shrouded this campus. They spoke of a booming era, a certain innocence, and how a nickel would buy a huge chocolate bar. Many of those alumni went on to become physicians, politicians, and other important leaders who attribute their educational foundation to the Franklin School. One such politician is the Honorable Dirk Kempthorne, former Governor of Idaho, and former Secretary of the Interior. Another is longtime writer Doug Clark of the Spokesman Review (perhaps some of Clark’s ideas were hatched from his early days at Franklin). As a matter of fact, Clark’s name is still etched in chalk on the auditorium wall; an infraction that nearly cost him his graduation according to Clark.
Doug Clark, Alumnus speaks to Franklin students, 5/09
Others include Mt. Everest climber, Dawes Eddy, and reporter, Randy Shaw. Still, many others raised families in the area and helped build the city we know as the Lilac one. A Spokesman Review article published June 10, 1928 extolled the Franklin School’s commitment to the teaching of self-reliance and group cooperation. Still today, the caliber of education promoted at Franklin produces students who are smart, cooperative, and caring people.
With a history of growth, two portable classrooms on the north side were added to the upper playground area in 1955. A third, larger one was added at some point. In the summer of 1986, an additional classroom was added upstairs, and smaller rooms housed a guidance center. Due to a change in the district’s educational structure, the guidance center left Franklin and was consolidated elsewhere. In 1987, part of the lower hallway was divided and turned into an additional room. It now houses a meeting area and teachers’ room. The school’s original kitchen remains as part of this area.
The same classrooms that taught students a century ago, are still doing their job in timeless surroundings. While times and teachers may have changed, the need for the Three Rs have not. Tens of thousands of Franklin alumni and parents would certainly agree. Franklin’s tradition is evident here, even today with busy classrooms, bustling hallways, and responsible youngsters. In 2004, Franklin earned the National Blue Ribbon Award and, since 1982, Franklin has hosted the parent participation program, APPLE.
In 1985, the Spokesman Review reported on Franklin School’s participation in the “Million Cranes For Peace.” Headline news announced, “President Reagan will be the recipient of a Thousand Cranes.” Students here folded 1000 origami cranes as part of the project which were sent to President Ronald Reagan. The message was clear…Peace.
Students and adults are delighted by Franklin’s history, especially where a common building, neighborhood, and goal knit many generations together. Students here enjoy reviewing pictures, comparing present day landmarks, hearing stories, and pondering an earlier time at Franklin too. Oral histories offered by alumni are fascinating and offer a glimpse into a different era at Franklin…and a changing world. Students, teachers, and others can relate to such information because of the building and culture that holds people together. Some of the current students here have parents, grandparents, or great grandparents who also attended Franklin. Nearly everyone in this community knows at least a few people who attended this great school. Since the current building was erected in 1909, and even before that, everyone at Franklin School has had the same goal–to learn and to have fun. And besides that, it was Benjamin Franklin who said, “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”
The Franklin Centennial Parade.
On May 21 and 22, 2009, Franklin celebrated a century of teaching and learning excellence. There was an alumni reception and a mammoth street parade and festival. The events attracted hundreds of alumni and the occasions were remarkable. See pictures of the Alumni Reception or the Parade.
We can use your help!
Do you have any Franklin School memories, stories, or photographs that you would like to share? We would be delighted to add your memories to the growing collection of photographs and oral histories. Click here for oral history ideas and a format. Please email or mail your memories, pictures, or other artifacts to:
Brian Shute, Ph.D.
Franklin School Historical Society
Spokane, WA 99223
UPDATE: After 107 years of educational use Franklin School will be receiving a facelift during the 2017-2018 school year. With bond levy funding we are pleased that the original 1909 building will be kept and revamped with a magnificent addition to the west. Great care has been taken by ALSC Architects of Spokane to maintain complementary styles between old and new while modernizing what needs to happen. Input from the community, teachers, and staff were taken to help make this happen. During the transition, Franklin will carry on at the old Jefferson School.
Beginning in June 2017 Franklin School will change. Thanks to a 26 million dollar bond improvement Franklin will be revitalized. During the 18 month building process Franklin students and staff will attend “Camp Franklin” at the old Jefferson School on Grand Boulevard and 37th Avenue. The new Franklin promises to be bigger, updated, and ready for the next 107 years of education. The original Franklin shell built in 1909 was recently placed on the State’s Historical Registry and it will remain. The interior will receive modernization.
In preparation for the renovation Dr. Shute with the help of SLP student mentee, Ge Zhao, offered two historical tours on April 14 & 28, 2017. Many teachers and alumni from yesteryear attended. Mrs. Honeywell who attended Franklin in 1927 was one of them! Doug Clark of the Spokesman Review was another. Don Miller who graduated in 1939 was yet another. Some current staff at Franklin attended too and they included Shelly Pederson, Wendy Williamson, Diane Hadsell, and Stephanie Hengstler. All proceeds from the tours were offered to the ASB to help fund the Sixth Grade Camp Outing and to help bring about Healthy Food Awareness.
Lucia Gilbert 1890-1900
Carolyn MacKay 1900-1901
Lida Putnam 1901-1906
Georgia Meek 1906-1908
D.B. Heil 1908-1909
Meb Tower 1909-1911
Frances Weisman 1915-1918
Gleanor Worcester 1918-1923
Oda Most 1923-1924
Pauline Drake 1924-1928
Bess Turner 1928-1939
Austin Henry 1939-1944
Lewis Stevens 1944-1945
Walter Wildley 1946-1954
Clifford Hardin 1954-1961
Margaret (Peg) Tully 1961-1964
Howard Martinson 1964-1969
Lloyd Breeden 1969-1976
Seth Huneywell 1976-1978
William Reuter 1978-1980
Elva Dike Mote 1980-1988
Linda Haladyna 1988-1994
Mike Cosgrove 1994-1997
Sonja Ault 1997-2002
Mary Seeman 2002-2006
Mickey Hanson 2006-2013
Irene Gonzalas 2013-2015
Buz Hollingsworth 2015-Present
Original Article March 15, 2008
Last updated May 11, 2017
Mike Wallace attended Franklin in the 1960s and has many fond memories of the school and neighborhood. He has gladly donated some pictures and descriptions for the archives. Particular thanks to Mr. Wallace for these and other artifacts including original light fixtures from the school.
Class Photo: Mrs. Keil, Grade 2, 1961-62. “Of the four classrooms in the new western wing of Franklin, ours was the 2nd from the east. (Unfortunately, the signature aspect of this folder is incomplete but I recall many faces and names). Mrs. Keil is in the lower left hand corner. I am in the 3rd row down, the 5th kid from the left, with a sweater on.”
Class Photo: Mrs. Weymouth, Grade 4, 1963-64. “Of the four classrooms in the first portable on the upper playground, ours was the one in the NE corner. This northern section (2 classrooms) was later moved. This photo is especially nice because both Mrs. Weymouth (lower left corner) and Miss Tully (lower right corner) are pictured.”
“Signatures: Mrs. Weymouth, Grade 4, 1963-64 I did have everyone sign the class picture foldout including Mrs. Weymouth, Miss Tully (Principal), Mrs. Echelbarger (Librarian) and Mrs. Allen, who I believe was the School Secretary. (I thought perhaps you might like this page, as these are true signatures).
Left to right and from the top down:
Row 1: Lew Tomlinson, Bobbette Cloward, Josh Burrows, Lyn Ream, Gary Strom, Terri Bolton, Donald Coleman, Pat White, John Hronek
Row 2: Julie Hale, Mike Wallace, Jeanine Massengale, Jeff Stewart, Patti Allen, Greg Bundy, Kathie Geaudreau, Leif Erickson, Vicky Bain
Row 3: John Sears, Kathy Erickson, Jeff Neis, Lonnie Lloyd, Debbie Smythe, Vicki Usher, Holli Morton, Gary Bradley
Row 4: Mrs. Weymouth, Donna Herrman, Steven Alberg, Joy Pomeroy, Chris Oosting, Dorothy Hill, Miss Tully.”
“Class Photo: Mrs. Donner, Grade 5, 1964-65 Our classroom was in the original 1909 building, upstairs in the SE corner. Mrs. Donner is pictured standing at the back to the right. I am sitting on the floor, first on the left with a sweater on. I remember all these faces
and most names, although not recorded in the folder.”
“Mrs. Weymouth, Grade 4, 1963-64 This photo was likely taken in early April, 1964 at the very old, brick Washington school in Browne’s Addition. Washington school was demolished long ago. My science fair project “How Rocks Are Made” was first set up in Franklin’s old, wooden gym with all the other Franklin entries. Judges chose it “Grand 4th” in the city. This meant the project was to be transported to Washington school and put on their stage along with at least three others. Community, family and friends were invited to come and listen to us speak about our projects from the stage using a microphone. It seems I was released from school that day and did a morning and an afternoon speech at Washington school.”
“This is the Science Fair Award I won for, “How Rocks Are Made.” I remember it being attached to the project at Franklin but for some reason they took it off while it was on the stage at Washington school. It once was framed and hung in my bedroom but now is loose. It was fun to win that award and represent Franklin!”
“This photo of Franklin was taken either in the summer of 1964 or 65. I may have taken it as a remembrance, as we moved from the Franklin district in the late summer of 1965.”
“Teaching Materials: Mrs. Ritter, Grade 3, 1962-63 (First Portable – SW corner, still there!) When I was in the 2nd (Mrs. Keil) and 3rd grades, we were given “newspapers” each week called, “My Weekly Reader.” This one is dated for the week of September 10-14, 1962. What a great way to start the year with that wild-looking owl! I just loved these readings, packed with fascinating information and specifically written to each grade level.”
“Sanborn Map of the Franklin Area: This map is an update through 1958. The western wing is shown, as well as the first portable on the upper playground, consisting of 4 classrooms. Moreover, the old Franklin Kindergarten house as well as the wood frame gymnasium are there. The little building at an angle in the lower play field is a garage according to Sanborn abbreviations. We lived on the cul de sac to the west called “GIRARD PL.” Our house was directly below the PL. on the map at E 2510. Two well-worn trails led to school, which was about half a block away. I was so lucky to have Franklin so close to home!”
“Bottle Caps (1961-65) During this time frame our lunch milk came in half pint glass bottles that were sealed with thick, pleated wax paper. To remove the paper, you had to pop off these cardboard caps. All the kids were collecting these caps depicting the Presidents of the United States. Fun!”
I found these posts written by a couple of men who own motorcycles. Both of them have been laryngectomized and they offer some good advice worth pondering. I once knew a laryngectomized man who refused to give up sailing. He loved his little boat and opposed the idea of stopping. His doctors and therapists were always a little nervous because of the permanent hole that resided in his neck. He’d say with an esophageal voice, “I’ve never tipped my boat and I’m not planning to start now.” He did fine.
Over the years I have gained much wisdom from laryngectomees and I’m passing along these public forum posts to you. I think they are golden nuggets.
“My Doctors told me I might as well “sell my Harley… cause my riding days
were over.” Then they modified it to: “You won’t be able to ride without a
windshield.” Which I hate as bad as helmets… and they SWORE I would not
ever be able to ride in the rain or cold. Well, I’ll be 5-years post-op
come this October. I took my first ride approximately 9 months after
surgery. I did put a windshield on her because of my Ol’ Lady’s harping,
but it came off within weeks and I’ve been riding without one ever since.
Oh, yeah… I’ve ridden HUNDREDS of miles in the rain AND cold with nary a
problem! And my beloved 19-year-old Harley remains my main means of
transportation to this day! Just got to love us die-hard scooter tramps,
eh? (I’ll be closing in on 60!)
Just goes to show you… doctors don’t always be right!
AKA James Sparks”
“I never told my doctors I had a bike. So a few months after my 2001
operation I took the bike out and rode it, in season, till just this year.
I turned 80 and had promised my wife I’d get rid of the bike.
There are a few things you can’t do after losing your vocal cords. But try it before
you stop it, whatever it is.
Lou Holtman Class of 2001 Poughkeepsie, NY”
The year was 1927 and aviation was both a curiosity and rage for spectators in Spokane and everywhere else in the country. The National Air Derby and Air Races made it to Spokane that September due to the efforts of Major John “Jack” Fancher (1892-1928). Major Fancher’s legacy still abounds-a Spokane street that runs north and south from Felts Field is named after the First Commander of the 41st Division, 116 Observation Squadron of the Washington Air National Guard. What was then called the “Spokane Air Port” would witness a gathering of nearly 100,000 people across several days.
This ticket allowed entrance to the show and cost 75 cents.
The September 20th, 1927 issue of the Spokane Chronicle exclaimed, “Radio, telegraph, telephone, motion pictures and every other known means to facilitate the broadcasting of news in words and pictures will be used to cover the finish of the national air derbies and the national air race at the Spokane Air Port this week.” In fact, an additional nine telegraph lines were installed at the field to dispatch sky-breaking news to “every city, town, and hamlet in the country.”
A newspaper ad promotes the great air derby and race.
Only months before, Charles A. Lindbergh (1902-1974) had made his famous trans-Atlantic flight and all eyes were upon aviation. Interestingly, in 1925 and 1926, Los Angeles and Cleveland had unsuccessfully put on air races. Few people attended the events and there was skepticism that such a program in Spokane would be any different. But it was. After all, Major Fancher had sponsored a popular “Air Circus” in 1925 which kept the community in awe. And with Major Fancher’s enthusiasm coupled with freshly piqued interest from Lindbergh, Spokane would be a ripe venue for a grand air race and derby. Major Fancher understood the need to get financial support and bolster the program. Accordingly, he enlisted the support of William Cowles, Louis Davenport, Harlan Peyton and a number of others who were also influential in the areas of investment, publicity, and hotels. The momentum to attract big money and large audiences was further enhanced by having the very famous, Charles A. Lindbergh visit Spokane in his Spirit of St. Louis on September 12th before the races began.
Charles Lindbergh visited Spokane September 12, 1927 to kick off the program.
“The Spokane Air Port is rated as one of the best flying fields in the entire West,” explained a booklet published by the National Air Derby Association. The field was one and one half miles long by one half mile wide with prevailing winds from the West. Its prominent landmarks consisting of the hills, hangers, and the Spokane River made it easy for pilots to find. Known as a “fast field,” it had a hard gravel base with a “fairly good grass turf.” The airport was only five miles from downtown and had access by the Empire Electric Railway.
Numerous activities were to occur but the major ones were several races that began separately from New York and San Francisco and finishing in Spokane. Hefty prize money attracted aviators to compete and show off their ability to speed across the country or up the coast. An early Association flier boasted $28,250 cash prize money for the New York to Spokane winners; $5000 for the San Francisco to Spokane winners; and other cash prizes to make up a total of $60,000.
Out of 15 pilots who began the transcontinental race from New York, only eight of them would finish. The winning airplane was the National Eagle, a Laird Biplane flown by Charles “Speed” Holman and Lt. Tom Lane. Holman was an airmail pilot for the Chicago-St. Paul run. The National Eagle was classified as a “commercial airplane” because it held two people. Their winning time was 19 hours and 42 minutes. Another contender racing from New York was John P. Wood in his Waco monoplane.
Lt. C.V. Haynes with his first place trophy for one of the many events that took place.
A group of 42 community men brought their resources together and purchased and equipped a Buhl Airster Biplane. Representing Spokane, pilot “Nick” Mamer and co-pilot Art Walker finished third to win a $2000 prize. Their plane was the Sun God and their time was 20 hours and 59 minutes. The winning time for the San Francisco-Spokane race was eight hours and 16 minutes.
Later in 1929 Nick Mamer flies his Buhl AirSedan, the “Sun God,” over what is now Felts Field.
A total of 41 planes completed the transcontinental and Pacific West Coast races. Some pilots were not as lucky, however. Eddie Sinson in one of his Detroit built Stinsons, along with “Duke” Schiller in a Royal Windsor failed the nonstop race when they landed in Montana after 29 hours in the air.
Each day brought huge crowds and excitement to the airport and city. Spokane was transformed during this time. KHQ Radio broadcasted detailed reports of the “greatest aviation event in history.” Many spectators flew in from distant places in commercial planes or in their own airplanes. Many arrived by train and bus. The city was packed and all the hotels were at capacity. In fact, Lindburgh stayed at the Davenport Hotel a week before the races began. Present day Curator, Jerry Turner of Spokane has Lindburgh’s room receipt and pictures from his pre-event visit. While Lindburgh did not have trouble finding a room at the time, 4000 others later would during the events. The derby’s association bureau found accommodations in private homes for those visitors.
Spectators at the event.
The Bozanta Tavern, which was located in Hayden, Idaho, stayed open late to help out with the overflow. A total of 99,199 admission tickets were sold and on the biggest day, 23,000 people were in attendance. All of this was a record for Spokane… and the country.
The news media covered the race and events.
With flocks of people coming into downtown, the Great Northern Railway used some of its new electric trains to transport people to the airfield for 25 cents a ride. Parking a car at the airfield cost 50 cents. Area schools closed at noon and downtown stores closed up at 1:00. There were numerous social events that entertained the dashing pilots and the military brass who came to Spokane with their flying machines. A young woman named Mrs. Vera McDonald Cunningham won a ticket sales contest and became “Queen of the Air,” the official hostess of the program who doled out the winning prizes. Miss Audrey Smithson, Miss Fletcher Appleton, and Miss Mary Hucking of Spokane became princesses.
Here Air Derby Queen, Miss Nixon and Nick Mamer have a photo opportunity on July 21, 1927.
The Air Derby included a ten-mile race consisting of military planes with a pylon turn located right in front of the grandstands. Army, Navy, Marine, and National Guard pilots strutted their stuff bringing shock and awe to the crowds. The fastest plane in this competition was a Curtis X-P6A flown by Lt. Eugene Batten. His speed was a fantastic 201 miles per hour. There were news reports that Jimmy Doolittle and his army pilots frightened downtown shoppers by diving their Curtis Hawks at “terrific speeds of 170 miles per hour and great noise.”
Crewman from the Zerolene Oil Company add fuel to Jimmy Doolittle’s airplane.
Meanwhile back at the airfield, other fabulous events were taking place across the days of the program. A “huge” 6-place Douglas transported military parachute jumpers who amazed the masses below with a race to the ground. Stunt planes twisted, twirled, stalled, dove, banked, and flew upside-down to everyone’s astonishment. There was sky writing and formation flying as well. At night, illuminated stunt planes and lit-up parachute jumpers flashed through the sky. Aerial fireworks also highlighted the evening activities. Two bombing runs performed by pilots Capt. Harold Neely and Lt. Jack Allenburg of the local National Guard took out a fictitious village. Spokane youth had the opportunity to partake in a model airplane competition as well.
On that Wednesday, a parade starting at Monroe and Riverside honored pilots Mamer, Walker, and their flight crew, along with officers of the derby and National Guard. Mamer’s flight crew included R.M. Wilson and Al Coppulla and the crowds cheered the entire bunch as they motored in open cars parade-style.
Promoting the concept of “Airmail” this booth was open for business.
On the days of September 21st through the 25th, 1927, all eyes were on the Spokane skies. The National Air Races put Spokane on the cerebral maps of Americans across the country. This was a time of dreams, competition, and skyward innovations-marked by daring people and great winged machines. What was once known as the Spokane Air Port, is now Felts Field named after John Buell Felts. Much has changed around the airfield over the last 83 years. Pavement has taken the place of green turf and several businesses abound. There is wonderful history here along with a reminiscent eatery. Back in the 1930s, the lunch counter at the airport was called the Zoom Inn-now it’s the Skyway Cafe. Other businesses and organizations like Western Aviation, Med Star, Moody Aviation, Valleyford Metal Crafters, and Spokane Turbine have a presence there now. On a historical note, I would encourage readers to drive up Fancher Road and get an enjoyable bite at the cafe. With a little imagination, visitors can still feel the whirlwind of energy that made history here in 1927.
This speech was presented to the Japanese Citizen League (JACL) in Spokane on February 26, 2011. The talk offered a brief review of Executive Order 9066, a video, and an exercise in understanding diversity. Some history and discussion of Japanese Alley in Spokane was also discussed.
Thank you for that kind introduction. Hello Ladies and Gentlemen. I am honored to be here and a part of this day of remembrance. I’d like to discuss several different things with you this afternoon. The first of these is this remembrance and why we are gathered here today.
Secondly, I’ll review a bit of the Japanese heritage that existed here in Spokane in the late 1800s and to the time of the early 1940s. I will show a video that contains live footage depicting the predominantly white culture that has existed here in Spokane since its early beginnings. We will discuss some elements of diversity and conduct a small informal experiment, measuring elements of diversity in Spokane footage around the time that the Japanese were interned. Finally, I would like to discuss how fear is implemented into our society to create prejudice and hate, to alter policy, and to deny people of their constitutional or human rights. I will try to show how the actions of yesteryear have a cyclic effect, and I will ask the question of whether or not we are duplicating those same actions now.
Today, indeed, is a special day in which we remember Executive Order 9066. This order was signed by Franklin Roosevelt on February 19th, 1942, precisely 69 years and 7 days ago. The order came after Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941. Essentially this order impacted 120,000 people of Japanese heritage, removing them from their homes and imprisoning them in ten internment camps located in seven states. This imprisonment lasted years for many people and approximately 70% of these people were American citizens.
While President Roosevelt declared December 7, 1941, “A date which will live in infamy,” we see now that the internment of the Japanese was a reaction that also lives in infamy. While the U.S. government has acknowledged this error and some restitution has been paid out, the past and the impact placed upon the Japanese Americans and their relatives can never be erased.
Of the Japanese who were sent to concentration camps, approximately 70% were Nisei or Sansei, second and third-generation Japanese Americans, also American citizens; and the rest were Issei, Japanese immigrants and resident aliens, first-generation Japanese Americans.
Fairly, I should mention that people of Italian and German ancestry were also targeted by these restrictions, including internment. Although their numbers pale in comparison, 11,000 people of German ancestry were interned, as were 3,000 people of Italian ancestry, along with some Jewish refugees. The Jewish refugees who were interned came from Germany, and the U.S. government didn’t differentiate between ethnic Jews and ethnic Germans. How ironic that those individuals who perhaps fled Nazi Germany would be interned here in America. Some of the prisoners of European descent were interned only briefly, and others were held for several years beyond the end of the war. Like the Japanese internees, these smaller groups had American-born citizens in their numbers, especially among the children.
Japanese Americans were by far the most widely affected group, as all persons of Japanese ancestry were removed from the West Coast and Southern Arizona in “military zones.” As then California Attorney General Earl Warren put it, “When we are dealing with the Caucasian race we have methods that will test the loyalty of them. But when we deal with the Japanese, we are on an entirely different field.” Naturally, this would prove to be wrong as the Japanese American population was equally shocked by the attack on Pearl Harbor. Warren’s words were offered up to create fear among the white Americans at this vulnerable time.
Interestingly, in Hawaii there were 140,000 Americans of Japanese Ancestry constituting 37% of the population. Only selected individuals of increased perceived risk were removed and interned.
The Japanese who were ripped from their homes on the West Coast were given little time to prepare. Posters were tacked up on telephone poles and in public spots announcing that the Japanese people were to gather a small portion of their things and get ready for departure. There was little backlash and the Japanese people largely went peacefully with their captors. Many of them referred to the event as “Shikataganai,” interpreted as, “It can’t be helped,” a sort of accepted fate or destiny. This concept in the white world does not exist.
Each individual could take two suitcases that included bedding, clothing, and eating utensils. Curfews were in place but many families had homes and businesses and possessions that needed attention. With limitations of what they could bring, many Japanese people were forced to leave things behind…things that they would never see again. After the war and upon return to their homes and businesses, many things had vanished. Homes were owned and inhabited by others and some properties had been bulldozed; businesses were gone for many; possessions and property entrusted to others were gone.
Bainbridge Island, across from Seattle was the first “evacuation” on the West Coast to occur. In fact, it was used as a model for the many other evacuations that would occur along the West Coast. I use the term “evacuation” loosely and perhaps a better term would be “Unconstitutional Incarcerations.” Borrowed from earthquake terminology, many descriptors that were adopted were semantically altered or sugar coated to seemingly disguise the constitutional violations that were occurring. Other terms included: Reception Centers; Relocation Centers; and Evacuees. In fact, the temporary holding tank at the Puyallup Fairgrounds was called Camp Harmony. Somehow the word Harmony naming a concentration camp along with the other terms do not capture the severity or impact set upon the Japanese-American people. Bottom line, these places were concentration camps filled with innocent people; mostly American citizens.
Curiously, Spokane was not considered to be a military zone even with its proximity to the Army and Navy bases not far away. Accordingly, many Japanese left their West Coast homes in Seattle and other places to obtain a safe haven here in Spokane. Some Japanese people had already called Spokane their home, however. Although considered a minority in this predominantly white town they had existed here for some years. In the 1880s and early 1900s, the railroad and mining industries sought laborers to carryout the immense building. Accordingly, laborors were attracted here from China and Japan to perform these jobs. After these jobs were completed, many laborers returned to their homelands, but many others settled here.
In an area called “Japanese Alley” many Japanese people lived and had businesses here. This unique area was also called Trent Alley or Chinese Alley. Even though it contained more Japanese people, the Spokane white population referred to it as “Chinatown.” While many towns on the West Coast had Asian concentrations, these places were typically separate locations and not in the mainstream. In around 1910 it was estimated that 1000 Japanese people lived in Spokane, most of them likely living in hotels, boarding houses, and flats. Japanese Alley was a shaded L-shaped alley bounded by Front and Main Streets to the North and South; and Bernard and Washington Streets to the East and West. The area began behind where Aunties Book Store now resides. The expanse of parking lot to the east is where the alley used to span. Here, a significant business district offered Japanese hotels, restaurants, laundries, bath houses and fish shops. There was a barbershop, Japanese tailor, and pool hall.
In 1912, at least 16 Japanese restaurants were in Spokane offering inexpensive food. These restaurants were called “Noodle Houses” and largely served whites. At least two restaurants in the heart of Japanese Alley specifically served Asians. In 1915 the Japanese Restaurant Keepers Association announced that it was raising the price of meals from 10 cents to 15 cents.
Thought to be a Chinese endeavor, the Japanese immigrant workforce largely took over the local laundry industry. In 1912 there were six Japanese laundries operating in Spokane, mostly in the Trent Alley. It was said that the Japanese laundries took better care of the clothing, paid attention to detail, and provided better service to their patrons.
In 1924 the Japanese population began to dwindle largely because immigration from Japan was curtailed and then banned. But in 1942 there was a sudden influx because of the Japanese people from the Westside that were avoiding the internment camps. Estimates suggest that the Japanese population in Spokane tripled during this time. Some of these people came to Spokane without knowing a soul. Can you imagine their turmoil, cares, and worries as they sought to provide shelter, food, and basic needs for themselves and families? After the war many Japanese returned to the Westside but some stayed here in Spokane. I am certain that some of you or your forefathers and foremothers are the connections I speak of here.
In the years before and after the war, the Japanese people dispersed and integrated into more affluent neighborhoods and suburbs. After the war, Japanese Alley slowly disintegrated into an area of riff raff and skid row. The area was demolished in the early 1970s in preparation for Expo ’74 and the World’s Fair.
Now I would like to shift my discussion in the direction of diversity. Although the term is commonly misused, it actually refers to the subcultures or variables of the human condition that exist in a given society. These facets include variables of age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, economic status, and disability. Realistically, their presence can potentially create prejudice, stereotypes, bigotry, and fear when propaganda is used. This is precisely what occurred when 120,000 Japanese were imprisoned on American soil.
I’d like to show you a video right now that illustrates what Spokane was like during the time that the Japanese people were being interned. This was a time in the late 30s and early 40s. The video shows live footage that was taken by the late Wallace Gamble. Mr. Gamble owned a cab company downtown and also belonged to the Spokane Camera Club. As a result he took pictures of various people who walked past his business. The creation of motion pictures was not a common thing for everyday people but Mr. Gamble shot film with his small motion picture camera. These films had no sound but as a man in his 90s, Mr. Gamble went back and narrated this footage. Music was also added. Although you will not see pictures of any Asians, you will see examples of other diverse people. Be looking for people of color, the aged, disabled, those representing religion, those of riches, and those who are impoverished. Let’s take a look.
I find this footage hugely interesting. Were you able to pick out the diverse subcultures I spoke of earlier? You probably noted the black man, the man without arms, the blind lady and her sister, perhaps the old lady Emma and others. One might ask the question of where some Japanese people were in this footage? Certainly these pictures are a snapshot in time and there may have not been any Japanese people around the camera at the time. Perhaps a more plausible answer is that the separation was such that they remained isolated in their area of town, especially during wartime. Did you by any chance hear Mr. Gamble’s reference to the man who ran the Speak Easy during prohibition in Trent Alley? Recall that Trent Alley is synonymous with Japanese Alley. A Speak Easy was a place that sold illegal liquor during prohibition.
During and around the time that the interment was occurring, there were many people who opposed Roosevelt’s decision to sign Executive Order 9066. His wife Eleanor Roosevelt was one of them. She had apparently met privately with her husband on several occasions opposing it. Another was FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover because he felt that any spies had already been arrested shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. There were others like clergy, school principals, and University Presidents. There were 5 Japanese basketball players on Whitworth’s team in 1944.
Even so, there was a predominance of suspicion, resentment, and distrust that was cast upon the Japanese Americans and Japanese citizens here in 1942. This was largely caused by creating the illusion of fear promoted by the media and posed by the government. General Earl Warren uttered his words creating suspicion across the nation. Lieutenant DeWitt was quoted as saying, “A Jap is a Jap” a reason for imprisoning 120,000 innocent people, most of whom were American Citizens. There is no question that the attacks on Pearl Harbor were horrendous, however the Japanese in this country were caught in the crossfire and it was unfair on ethical, moral, and constitutional levels.
My question is whether or not we are duplicating the mistakes of our past? So much that is read and heard on the radio is inflammatory of people from the Middle East or those of the Muslim faith. We fear the Hispanics and others who seek refuge, residence, and work in America. It comes as a repetitive soft beat and also in a loud tenor. We have been told over and over again that terrorists are planning to harm us and that these people are of Middle Eastern descent. An occasional, impetuous teenager is caught with a plan sometimes setup by the authorities. We seem to be conditioned to fear the red, orange, and yellow threat levels by Homeland Security. And every visit to the airport is a further diminishment of our constitutional rights based on a foundation of imposed fear. And perhaps as we exist and go about our days, we ourselves become indifferent to our fellow man, women, and child. Perhaps we harbor suspicion, distrust or even hatred on conscious or unconscious levels of those who look different than us, or those from diverse backgrounds.
We all agree that there must never be another event like the one that imprisoned 120,000 Japanese people. And as such, perhaps we can recognize the unfounded fear and rhetoric that leads to such actions. Perhaps each and every one of us can question so-called facts and the merit of information that is being said. Perhaps we can reject it when it threatens human rights, the constitution of this country, and the care of our fellow man… of all men and women. Perhaps we can deeply question our own opinions and feelings of others, and groups of others and determine whether or not they are truly valid. Thank you very much.