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!”
Dr. Irene Gonzales will be joining Franklin as its 27th Principal. Dr. Gonzales has a long, successful history in the area of education and she comes to us from Spokane Public Schools. Welcome Dr. Gonzales!
After many years of leading the pack, Principal Mickey Hanson and Office Manager Reda Andrews are being pulled towards retirement. Both of these women have been wonderful to work with and they will be mightily missed. We’ve tried to con them into staying, but they respond, “Bannana Oil.” They are modern in their language! A farewell celebration will be Tuesday, June 4th, 5 to 7 p.m. in the Franklin Gym.
From a student nomination, Kindergarten Teacher Miriam Richey was one of five winners in North America to the receive the Haworth Very Special Teacher Appreciation Award. Because of Mrs. Richey’s award our school received new staff-room tables and chairs. Mrs. Richey has taught for 46 years and we are very proud of her. Many thanks to Haworth Corporation and Mrs. Richey!
This year, as always, Franklin had a batch of terrific students ending their time at Franklin. Susan Burns was the Keynote Speaker at this year’s promotion ceremony. As Franklin students move on to middle school, we wish them all the best as they continue their education!
Susan Burns, a teacher at Franklin for 30 years, poses with Connie Hen and some of her students. Susan and Kate Jones will be retiring from Franklin this year. They will be missed by all!
The Spokane company, Interior Development East, purchased sweatshirts for every Franklin student and staff person. (Wow). This was perfectly timed for Christmas, 2011 and the cold weather. Here are some of us wearing them. Thanks IDE! Thanks also to graphics expert, Jill Poland.
The front glass case by the office has been the venue for hundreds of displays over the years. This one had a Peter and the Wolf theme. School will be underway very soon and new arrangements will be placed in this case!
Last year’s theme revolved around peace. Here’s an example of some of the hundreds of art pieces that highlighted the concept of peace.
This is Activity Director, Nooshin Aflatooni and Director, Boonie Robinson of the Franklin Express program. Sadly, Bonnie is leaving after many years. She will now be an Express float person. Express is a before and after school activities program.
The 2010 Grads on the Franklin stage!
This is a picture taken at the end-of-year speech and learning center party–a fun time had by all!
Shelly Pederson smiles for the camera!
Kathy Brinkley and Brian Shute say, “Here Here, another great year at Franklin!”
On May 11, 2010, band and string students throughout the district gathered at the arena to offer a giant concert! Special thanks to music teacher, Teresa Sauther for these shots!
These shots were taken at the Franklin May Pole Celebration. Elaborate dance steps weave colorful ribbons around the May Pole. The Franklin dancers performed very well and this was fun to watch! Pictures by Teresa Sauther.
As you walk in the front entrance of Franklin School, this Batik artwork adorns the wall. It was created by APPLE students and Kenyan artist, Nicholas Sironka on October 1, 2007.
Connie Oliver Ahrenberg graduated from Franklin in 1960 and wrote this charming childrens’ book in 2009. It is published by Xlibris Corporation and is available for reading in the Franklin library.
The Missoula Children’s Theater came to Franklin and directed, The Pied Piper, using Franklin students as actors and choir members. The performance was a hit and everyone had a ton of fun.
JANUARY 2010 Happy New Year
This friendly snowman piece was created by Josi in Mrs. Patton’s classroom. Theme: Favorite Snowman. Medium: Chalk on art paper. Technique: Chalk blending and color use. Rating: Five Stars. Artist: Miss Josi. Date: January 2010.
Titled, A Frosty Franklin, these students were from Mrs. Yake’s classroom. In friendship with the snow that last winter brought to the lower field, this photograph was turned into a note card. Pretty cool huh? Photograph taken by Joan Yake.
Here, the entire Franklin student body posed for peace.
On September 25, Franklin held its 4th Annual Fun Run. This is the PTG’s big fundraiser used for clubs, activities, and fieldtrips. At the Fun Run, Franklin students run to raise bucks. This collective fitness activity is not only fun, but this year students raised $5000. WhooHoo! Photographs by Anne Walter.
Franklin students recited words of peace, some in various languages. Counselor Anne Walter described some components of peace.
On September 21, 2009, Franklin School celebrated Peace Day and commemorated the Franklin Peace Pole. The pole was obtained by principals, Mickey Hanson and Sonya Ault as a tribute to the Franklin students and the need for peace in our world. Printed words in Japanese, Russian, Spanish, and English along each side of the pole read, “May peace prevail on earth.” A small gold plaque also states, “Dedicated to the children of Franklin School. May they be peacemakers of the world. Franklin School Principals, May 2009.” Historically, Franklin students are no strangers to the attributes of a peaceful world. In 1985, Franklin students took part in the Million Cranes for Peace. Oragami cranes by the box-full were sent to President Reagan… the message was clear, Peace on earth. The Peace Pole resides in the front entrance area of Franklin. Thanks to Kristine Campos for the photos.
Principal Mickey Hanson explains the importance of Peace Day and dedicates the Peace Pole.
This shot from the 1963 Franklin graduating class was selected as this month’s photo. Golly, fashions have sure changed. Note the brilliant colors, knee high dresses, and the white shirts with black ties for the boys. The girls had white gloves… and you thought Michael Jackson started that trend. This old picture was scanned on 3/26/09 and was donated by Dean Carriveau.
Vincent van Gogh would probably be jealous. Cool artwork like this can be seen around Franklin charming the place. How many such pieces have adorned the halls at Franklin over the course of a century? Ten thousand? Perhaps a million? This question is anyone’s best guess… Do you remember any of your own works that were taped or tacked on the Franklin walls?
This is longtime teacher Joan Yake with some of her students. Due to budget cuts, Joan will be leaving Franklin but will be picked up at Jefferson for next year. Farewell Joan, we will miss you!
This shot, taken June 5th, 2009, is at Claire Haslebacher’s retirement farewell. Claire was the assistant librarian at Franklin and will be missed by all. Good luck, Claire!
From left to right: Susan Norton, Becky Davis, Claire Haslebacher, and Shelly Pederson.
Franklin School Centennial Parade line-up and first to roll. May 22, 2009. West end of Lincoln Park on 17th Avenue, Spokane.
One of thousands of smiles observed at the parade. Photo by Wendy Hinckle.
Leave it to a Franklin alumnus to climb Mt. Everest. What may have started with the school slide as a tot, has evolved into something much bigger. Dawes Eddy, who attended Franklin in the 1950s, made it to the top on May 20, 2009. And not only that, Dawes is the oldest person to get to the top. Congratulations Dawes! Check out his website and adventure. Check out a KXLY video of Dawes on the mountain.
On May 21 and 22, 2009, Franklin alumni, students, and friends gathered to celebrate Franklin’s centennial. There was an Alumni-Friends Reception and an assembly. Both events offered speeches by people with memories of Franklin. They are oral histories. The following paragraphs are those histories.
A Few More Memories From The 1926-36 Period
By Bill Counsell at Franklin’s 100th Anniversary, Class of 1936
Elements of this letter were presented at the Alumni-Friends Reception on May 21, 2009
My family lived at 2028 E. 15th Avenue which was the last house in the block (still there) and there were no houses in the 2100 block. Fifteenth ended at Crestline. East Girard Place now extends from there to Cook. A long treeless area about a block wide ran north along Crestline–we called it “The Meadow.” East of there to the school was “The Woods.” Through the meadow and the woods was the shortcut to school. There was a small grocery store on 16th at about Hogan. Most weekday shopping was done at the business area on Perry which still looks pretty much the same. We pulled a wagon (or sled) and walked. Main shopping (groceries and dry goods) was done on Saturday. Going to and from town on the electric streetcar (The Lincoln Park Line). As a special treat on some Sunday afternoons (late) I was sent on the streetcar- 4 cent student fare each way–to buy 4 Coney Island hot dogs at Georges on Sprague Avenue. They were 2 for 15cents. I returned home on the next streetcar southbound. Dad got 2 hot dogs and mom and I one each.
In the summer we played at Lincoln Park and learned to swim (self taught) in the one foot of water in the wading pool at the west end of the park. We pitched horseshoes and played mumbly peg. We threw steel shoes and tossed our jackknives to stick in the grass–lived though it!
Miss Sporber and Miss Ogalvie traded classrooms at times as Miss Sporber taught music to 8th and 7th graders and Miss Ogalvie taught penmanship to both classes. When I was in 7th grade my voice started changing and I was suddenly a bass. Miss Sporber had a good 8th grade singing group, but was short on basses–sooo I would get to go sing with 8th graders once in a while and skip penmanship– that’s why I print. In the summer of 1936 Miss Sporber hired Ted Green and me to paint the fence at the house where she and Miss Nelson (also a teacher) lived. It was on 13th, I think. As special reward for doing a good job the ladies took us in Miss Nelson’s car to see where they were building Grand Coulee Dam. We even got to eat lunch in the mess hall where all the workers ate. It was served family style. It was such a special treat– I seldom got to ride in a car.
Looking back I now can see and appreciate all that the wonderful, dedicated ladies who taught at Franklin did for all of us kids, many of whom came from poor families as it was the depths of the Great Depression.
Brian, hope this is of interest. As you know I do enjoy reminiscing– guess it goes with the ego!
Tales from Franklin School
By Wendy Hinckle (Heath) Class of 1963.
Presented at the Centennial Assembly, May 22, 2009.
Wendy Hinckle (Heath) on left with friend, Camille Erickson
I am delighted to be here today. I taught school in Ellensburg for 31 years, so it is a joy to see so many students and staff members here. How exciting that we have come together to celebrate Franklin School’s centennial!
When I came to Franklin School in the fifth grade, I already had a dream of becoming a teacher. My grandfather and mother were teachers, and I wanted to do the same. I loved learning, and the Franklin teachers gave me an excellent education. I am so thankful that my parents and I moved to this neighborhood. Now I’d like to share some tales of when I was at Franklin School fifty years ago.
Our classrooms looked very old, since we were in the main part of the school. We had desks that had black iron sides and were bolted to the floor. The seats and desktops were made of wood. The seats could be put up or down. There was a hole in the upper right corner of the desk to put a pot of ink in. Luckily we used pencils and pens, so we didn’t have to use those. In the past, girls’ braids used to be dipped into the ink by the naughty children behind them. The desks could not be moved around the room like desks today. We all sat in straight rows facing the teacher. If we wanted to work in groups, we had to sit on the floor or go out in the hall.
You are probably wondering how the boys and girls dressed fifty years ago. We dressed more formally than you do today. Girls wore dresses or skirts and blouses. This type of clothing made it hard to play at recess. The full skirts also made it terrifying to go down the iron mesh fire escapes that are on the outside of the building. Our skirts would drag on the stair step behind us, then other students would step on them, and we’d pitch forward holding on for dear life to the railing. Girls were lucky enough to wear pants or shorts for field days and some physical education classes. Boys usually wore dress pants or jeans. Often they would wear short or long sleeved cotton shirts. If they wore a T-shirt, they didn’t have drawings or words on them like the ones you wear today. Many of them were striped. All their shirts would be tucked in and their pants belted.
Fifty years ago we had little of the technology that you have today. Our school television sets were black and white. About the only time we used television set was to see a German teacher named Frau Tupper. I believe that we watched her everyday for 15 minutes. She would say, “Guten Morgen Klasse”, and we would say, “Guten Morgan, Frau Tupper.” She would point to objects and say their names in German, and we would repeat them. I think the program lasted one year. The show was quite dull, and I don’t think many of us learned much German although I did study it in high school. Our class had no computers, DVD players, document cameras or VCRs. We played records on phonographs. We did have films on small or large reels. The film was so hard to thread into the projector that it often took the teacher a long time to get it ready. The films would be projected on a screen, and the projector made a clicking sound as it played. We also had filmstrips that showed us pictures one at a time. The pictures would have writing below, and we’d take turns reading them. We always thought films and filmstrips were a treat. Transistor radios were popular, because they did not use electricity from the wall. The World Series baseball games were broadcast during the school day, and a lot of boys tried to sneak the radios into the school, so they could listen to the games. This was against the rules. If they were caught, they were in big trouble. Of course we only had landline phones and no text messaging. Some students would pass notes in class to communicate with each other. Of course this was a no-no. Sometimes the teacher would read aloud the notes she intercepted in class. Whoaaa! Busted and embarrassed!
School lunch was not always a pleasant experience for me. The cafeteria rule was that all food had to be eaten. I could not stand the disgusting, slimy canned spinach that they served. I had my own form of sit-in. I refused to eat it and just sat there. I was often the last person left in the cafeteria, so the custodians finally had to dismiss me in order to put the tables away and mop the floor. I don’t know how the other kids managed to gag that stuff down. Maybe they hid it in their napkins, and I wasn’t smart enough to think of that.
Franklin was a great place to go to school as long as you didn’t get in trouble. Mr. Hardin, the principal, had a collection of paddles and wasn’t afraid to use them. I believe that boys were on the receiving end of most of the swats. The offender would have to bend over and grab his/her ankles and “Bam!” a swat was delivered to the rear end. Ouch! I don’t know if one swat was enough. I don’t think many of the receivers wanted to share the details, although we could tell when a person had a hard time sitting after a visit to the office. One could get paddled for such things as fighting, vandalism or being disrespectful to a teacher. I am sure there were other offenses that he thought merited a paddling. Rulers were used by the teachers to hit the backs of hands or other body parts. One teacher would hit kids with her cane if their feet were in the aisles, or she didn’t like their behavior. She terrified me. Fortunately I never got in trouble in her class. I did feel bad for the children who were whacked or swatted. Children are lucky today because hitting a child is now against the law and consequences work a lot better.
Franklin’s next principal was Miss Margaret Tully. She was a no nonsense woman. I had never had a female principal, so I didn’t know what to expect. The biggest thing I remember about her was when she walked into the boys’ bathroom, because some boys were misbehaving. My friends and I were absolutely shocked that a woman would do such a thing. I don’t know what the boys thought about her surprise visit.
I usually was a very well behaved child. Would you like to hear about the time I did something very naughty? In sixth grade, a boy stood up in front of the class and read a poem he had written about me. He said very mean things about me, and I am sure everyone in the class knew it was I. I won’t share what he said, but I still remember the exact hurtful words. As I sat in my seat I felt so embarrassed and angry. I am sure my face turned red. After school, my friend Alice and I made a plan. She had a small metal lunch pail that was the perfect size. At the end of the day, we rushed out of school and ran to the house at the end of the block. We hid in the bushes and waited. Soon the boy came walking by. Just as he passed, I jumped out and clobbered him on top of his head with the pail. He ran crying down the street. He never said another unkind word to me, and I never physically hurt anyone again. When this incident happened, we did not have training in how to handle problems with another person. What I did was not okay. Students today are taught in school how to use words instead of hurting someone. I hope all of you will remember to use words to solve problems instead of what I did.
When I went to Franklin School, there were grades kindergarten through eighth grade. The eighth graders in my 1962-1963 class were in a large wooden building next to the main school. Now there is a parking lot where it used to be. Many of the students in the Spokane Public Schools went to junior high schools. Franklin was one of the few schools to have K-8. In order to have home economics and wood shop, we were bussed to Libby Junior High. Unlike today when girls and boys can take the same classes, the girls learned to cook and sew and the boys learned how to do wood projects. It was uncomfortable going to Libby Jr. High, because we didn’t know any of the students there, and they stared at us.
While I attended Franklin in 1962, something very scary happened. The Cuban Missile Crisis was a frightening time in American history. Missiles were being constructed on an island called Cuba about 90 miles from Florida. Americans were terrified that the nuclear missiles would be launched and blow up many parts of our country. At Franklin we practiced air raid drills. An alarm would sound and we would go out in the hall and squat next to the wall with our hands on our necks and heads. I started having nightmares because I was so scared. The entire country was relieved when the missiles were removed from Cuba. You’ll probably study the Cuban Missile Crisis in your high school history class, which will be good because I have left out a lot of important information.
Now I will share a happier time. The parent group helped to raise money for the school. They put on a production called the Franklin Follies. I am not sure how many years they lasted, but I do know that my father participated in one. Can you imagine the embarrassment I had seeing my father up on stage singing “Down By the Old Millstream” dressed in a cave man outfit? His hairy chest and legs were showing, and he wore an imitation spotted animal skin. Yikes! He looked like Fred Flintstone.
The most fun I had at Franklin was on Friday nights. The fifth grade teacher, Omar McCarty, held dances for the 7th and 8th graders. The gym was filled with sweaty pre-teens square dancing, doing the Virginia Reel and my favorite “The Salty Dog Rag”. We would dance for two hours without stopping. Throughout the evening we changed partners, so we had a chance to dance with everyone. It was especially thrilling to be able to spend a few minutes with a boy who I thought was cute.
Before I close, I want to share some of the history and culture that happened during my Franklin years. John F. Kennedy was elected president in 1960, and my sixth grade class watched his inauguration on televison on January 20,1961. I was so excited to have such a young and inspiring president. Next Alan Shepard, Jr. was the first American in space in 1961. His flight lasted 15 minutes and 28 seconds. Much later his spacecraft came to Spokane and thousands of people went to see it. Now when the space shuttle goes into space for many days, most of us don’t think it is remarkable.
Here are some songs that were popular fifty years ago. How do they sound compared to the songs that you listen to? “Pink Shoe Laces,” “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” “Alvin’s Harmonica,” and “Kookie, Kookie Lend Me Your Comb.”
Some of the television programs were “Howdy Doody,” “Bozo the Clown”, “Bonanza,” and “Leave It to Beaver” which can still be seen on television. I’ll always love The Beav.
There is so much more to say about the special memories I have about this great school, but it is time to finish. I hope that I have helped you visualize what life was like at Franklin School fifty years ago. I wish you much happiness and success as you continue through your school years. Remember to dream big. Thank you for including me in this special centennial celebration. Happy 100th birthday, Franklin School!
Recollections of a Franklin Student
By Bob Mosher at Franklin’s 100th Anniversary, Class of 1954
Presented at the Alumni-Friends Reception May 21, 2009
I am Bob Mosher from the class of 1954. My brother Ray is also here-he is from the class of 1957. We both attended Franklin from kindergarten through the eighth grade.
We have an additional tie to Franklin as our uncle, Harry Bates, also attended Franklin. Only it was the original Franklin located down near Front and Sherman streets. When that building was closed in 1909, he transferred to the Webster school, and then moved on to North Central High School. If he were living today, he would be 107 years old.
I have many memories of Franklin. I have one fleeting recollection of my first principal, Mr. Lewis Stevens, when I was in kindergarten. There were several first graders giving me and a couple of other kindergarteners a hard time. Mr. Stevens intervened and resolved the problem on the spot. The principal for my remaining eight years was Mr. Walter Wildey. Both these gentlemen left me with no doubt that they were in charge.
Mr. Wildey was a nice guy, and a really good man… until you broke his rules. I did that at least once, and received two or three hacks on my behind for my trouble. One of my “crimes” was throwing snowballs from the north end of the middle playground down to the lower playground. Throwing snowballs at other students was okay, but not between playgrounds.
In my earliest years, one either walked to school, rode their bicycle, rode the city bus, or hitched a ride with parents. You also brought your own lunch or went home for lunch. A hot lunch program was first offered around the time I was in the 4th grade. I believe a cafeteria lunch back then cost students $1.25 per week. We ate lots of chili and Waldorf salad.
I have recollections of most of my teachers [see Oral-Written History Section of this site]. Of particular note was my eighth grade teacher, Mr. Gerald Saling. Back then he had recently been discharged from the Navy and he told us about many of his experiences in Western Pacific near China. He went on to become a principal at another elementary school, acquired a Ph.D, was the president at one of the local community colleges, and then went on to be a state legislator. Mr. Saling passed away last year.
I was surprised when Brian Shute told me that our current principal’s name is Mickey Hanson, because I attended school here with a Mickey Hanson. However, he was a boy, and he was here from kindergarten through the third grade. He moved away after that. He lived at 17th and Mt. Vernon on the corner opposite the school.
We received a good education while we were here. This is where it all started. This is where we students began to assemble the building blocks of our respective futures. We continued this process in high school and beyond. One of my classmates became a clergyman, several more became teachers, one made a career in law enforcement, several more were in health care. My brother became an electrical engineer. I was in manufacturing materials management.
What we learned here at Franklin is what got the educational and career processes started for all of us. This school has an enduring tradition of solid education that I am sure is being continued to this day.
Thank you for your time and attention.
Eight Wonderful Years at Franklin
By Diane Wynne Alfano Class of 1962
Presented at the Alumni-Friends Reception May 21, 2009
First of all I want to thank Brian Shute for all that he has done to create this memorable evening for all of us Franklin “Giants” and Falcons. Thank you so much, Brian!!!
I remember my first conversation with him after hearing about the anniversary from my dad. I knew this was one event I couldn’t miss. One of those “once in a lifetime” opportunities that one couldn’t pass up as it would never come again. My flight from Phoenix was booked within an hour of our conversation.
I think back at my eight years at Franklin and have nothing but fond memories. We had moved into the home my dad built the summer before my year as a first grader so I was not only new to Franklin but new to the “south side” of town. The wing where my 1st grade classroom was housed had been recently added to the main building. I delighted in everything about going to school as I hadn’t gone to kindergarten or preschool. Mrs. Neiswender made everything we did so fun and interesting. One memory I have, that I wish hadn’t happened, took place at the drinking fountain outside the office. There was a brass ball that the water came up through. My new best friend, Cindy Pratt, thought it would be fun to push my head down to get my face wet while I was drinking. Well, it got wet and the corner of my tooth also broke off. I “wore” that chipped tooth for many years. We did remain friends.
Mr. Hardin was our principal. We all loved him. Back then it was a rule in the district that a principal couldn’t be at a building longer than 7 years, so after 7th grade we sadly said good-bye to him and greeted Miss Tully for our final year.
Then it was on to 2nd grade. Oh my gosh! When I got to school that first day and saw my teacher, Miss Danielson, I was in love. She was tall, young and beautiful. It was during that year that I decided I wanted to be a teacher, just like her! Which I did, for 33 years, and loved every minute of my job as much as I loved being in her class. Oh, and she had a red MG convertible sports car on top of that. It just so happened that she drove past my house every morning on her way to school. I’ll never forget the day when I was walking up the street just as she drove by. She stopped and asked if I wanted a ride to school. I was in heaven! Well, I’m sure you can guess what I did from that day on. I had a new goal in life – see how often I could time my walk to school with Miss Danielson’s drive up Ray Street.
Also in the new building, besides the gym/lunch room, was the library and teachers’ lounge. In those days teachers were allowed to smoke in the building so there was always a smoky smell coming from that part of the building. I never have smoked and always wonder if that had any influence on my decision! In the hallways in the basement as well as in the gym were held many carnivals. That was the highlight of the year. Prior to that the Franklin Follies were held in the old auditorium on the east side of the school. It had a stage with maroon colored curtains. We used to play co-ed volleyball and have dances there. Metal grates covered the windows to protect them. This later became Mr. Hamilton’s 7th & 8th English classroom. I’ll never forget sitting there in 8th grade watching John Glenn be the first man to orbit the earth.
Since we didn’t have facilities for Home-Ec and Shop, the 7th graders were bussed to Lincoln School and the 8th graders to Libby Junior High. I remember making aprons that we put on a plastic hoop that we could pry open to put on. Then there were those ugly blouses we made and never wore again! The boys took shop classes – no co-ed Life Skills in those days.
The 3rd & 4th grades were in the portables, with the 5th through 8th grades in the main building. In order to prepare us for high school, we moved from class to class for our core subjects in 7th & 8th grade. Miss Ogilvie taught social studies, Mrs. Morgan science, Mr. Hamilton English and Mr. McCarty math, if my memory is right. Miss Ogilvie was, in those days, what you would call an “old maid”, older and never been married. She had a brace on her leg, possibly from polio (we never really knew) and was quite stern. I often stayed after school or came early to help her with whatever she needed to be done. I respected her ability to teach and her knowledge of what she taught. We had a great time in our junior high “upstairs.” The building was heated with steam radiators so our classes were often interrupted with the clanging sound characteristic to them. As a teacher the one thing I would like to have had in my classroom that I had as a student would be the desks. All in a row attached to each other and nailed to the floor – no tipping back or moving around. They are collectibles now!
Though nothing compares to my MG rides from Miss Danielson, there are many things that also stand out in my mind about my years at Franklin. Back in my day the girls weren’t allowed to wear pants to school. So in the winter we would wear pants under our skirts or dresses for our cold walk to school, then have to take them off as soon as we got to school. My how times have changed! It was also on those cold days that they would set up ping pong tables in the basement for us to play before school and during recesses. This was also the only place in the old building where there were bathrooms. So if our class was on the second floor it was a real “trip” every time we needed to use the facilities.
Having a fire drill was another interesting experience. We had to go out the windows of each classroom onto a metal fire escape and walk carefully to the ground. Well, since the girls were in dresses you can imagine how tightly we kept those skirts twisted around our legs! Luckily we didn’t have to go back up them.
My siblings and I almost always brought lunch from home or walked home to eat – unheard of in today’s world. We had an hour for lunch so there was enough time for this. However, if chili and cinnamon rolls were being served, I begged my mom to let me take hot lunch. We also had to eat ALL of our lunch before we could go outside. Sometimes there were kids still sitting there when it was time to go back to class. There was also no free or reduced lunch – somehow everyone could afford it – and very little bussing of students to school. We either walked or our parents took us, which didn’t happen very often!!
And then there were the dances in the gym/cafeteria after school on Friday. Mrs. Morgan and Mr. McCarty would be there playing the 45s so we could dance. The Salty Dog Rag (my personal favorite), Teton Mountain Stomp, Oh Johnny, were some of the dances we had learned in PE class. I can remember working up a good sweat many times. We also learned square dancing in PE and competed at the Coliseum, now Veterans Arena, in an all-city competition.
As we progressed through the years life didn’t change much for us as students at Franklin. Kids weren’t mixed up each year to pass on to the next grade. So if you had formed a friendship in the “other” class you could count on never having the same teacher.
Recess was always something we all looked forward to, not because we got a reprieve from the classroom, but because we got to go play tetherball or kickball. I became pretty good at tetherball (had convinced my dad to put a pole in our driveway so I had plenty of time to practice). The first two to the pole played a game and the winner went on to be challenged by the next person in line. On the other side of the playground where the kickball game always took place, teams were formed and the game began. It was 15 minutes of steady playing.
In PE we all had to wear white shorts and blouses which were kept in wire baskets in the locker room (so the sweaty clothes could “breathe”). These were taken home every Friday to be washed, ironed and returned on Monday. I loved PE except for the “group” shower we had to take after every class. Again, how times have changed.
Finally, I’ll never forget our 8th grade graduation. The girls all wore white dresses, the guys had on shirts and ties, many of them even wore sports coats or suits. It was quite the formal affair and very respected. Some of us had corsages and boutonniers – it was an event we cherished.
I want to again thank Brian and the staff of Franklin for all they have done to make this anniversary celebration happen. I am so glad I am here and feel very honored to have walked these halls for eight years.
Brian Shute, Centennial Historian, Speech-Language Pathologist
Presented at the Centennial Assembly May 22, 2009
Good Afternoon. When I arrived here at Franklin School several years ago, I was immediately taken back by this old building. Mrs. Andrews was the first to take me around the campus, show me my office, and tell me about the place. Franklin has a story alright.
I was captured and captivated starting at that moment and I would argue that Franklin is no ordinary school. It has zeal, it has personality, it has heritage, it’s got community, and it’s got a fabulous story.
Back in the day, it was the Spokane School Board who hired architect, Loren Rand, to design Franklin and about a dozen other schools including the Old Lewis & Clark building. Loren Rand was a yesteryear architectural genius. He was known for his neo-classical designs found in First Presbyterian Church and the old Crescent Building. Those huge columns at Franklin’s front entrance and the granite threshold are his brainchild. Many of his buildings have met the bulldozer, but not Franklin.
Materials to build the structure were brought here by horse and wagon on what was then a dirt road called 17th Avenue. That represents a lot of bricks, a lot of cement, a lot of basalt rock, a lot of wood and a lot of horse power. The people who built Franklin were old and new world craftsmen who had no clue what a Skill Saw was. Everything was cut using hand tools.
Franklin’s personality shows up in the woodwork, the scrolled out staircase, and the wooden floors. It’s personality comes through the way it is heated, complete with single pipe radiators that hiss, spit and emit a friendly warmth. Perhaps it’s wavy glass windows, and the brick and mortar that makes up a very solid building.
But Franklin’s personality is much more than just a physical structure. No ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. Franklin’s personality comes from the tens of thousands of students who have received their early education here and have given back to the Lilac City… and beyond. Franklin’s personality are the parents, teachers and principals who have made it happen. That personality is the current student body. That personality is each of you.
Franklin has always enjoyed a sense of community too. In the 1940s, Franklin was a hopping place. Attempts to have a Kindergarten took place in a cloak closet on the main floor and it spilled out into the hallways. This needed a change and the Franklin parents came together to raise money for what would become the Franklin Kinderhouse. Through dances, socials, skits, and card parties, the Franklin community helped raise the money that purchased the Kinderhouse on Mt. Vernon and the property behind it. In fact, Franklin dads built the early miniature furniture that was used inside. Gladys Hoagland-Knight was the early teacher who guided those early minds. Now it is Miriam Ritchey whose been here for a quarter century doing the same.
And there is the APPLE program that has incorporated parents into the learning experience.
And then there are the parent volunteers, the neighbors and a huge array of people who make this place a community of learning.
There were the students who, in 1985, folded 1000 origami cranes and sent them to President Reagan as part of the Million Cranes for Peace. Their message was clear: Peace.
There was Rhonda Langford, who in Mrs. Maddox’s third grade, designed a Christmas Seal for the American Lung Association. Her design rose to the top and she was awarded by President Jimmy Carter in 1977.
Other stories such as these illustrate the strong community that makes up Franklin.
In 2004 the Department of Education recognized Franklin with the distinction of the Blue Ribbon Award.
And look at the people who have come out of Franklin. People like brothers Bob and Ray Mosher, Doug Clark, Wendy Hinckle, Randy Shaw, Dirk Kempthorne and many others. Look at the people to your right and to your left, we are all part of the Franklin community, and after 100 years, it’s worth celebrating!
For the celebration, Dirk Kempthorne submitted this letter. It was read to the attendees by Mickey Hanson at the Alumni-Friends Reception on May 21, 2009.
Franklin School has always held a special spot in Kempthorn’s memory and heart. He attributes his early education and success to Franklin. In 1999 he visited Franklin and submitted this photograph.
Preface by Shute: Doug delivered a heart-warming talk at the Franklin Centennial Celebration. This appeared right after. We couldn’t agree more. Thanks Doug… and Mr. Kolb.
By Doug Clark, Spokesman Review
May 24, 2009
A cool thing happened just before I delivered my keynote address Friday for the 100th birthday celebration of my alma mater, Spokane’s Franklin Elementary School.
The hero of my speech tapped me on the shoulder.
I hadn’t seen Don Kolb in years. But he still looked athletic and trim, and I recognized him easily. With him was Charmaine, his beautiful bride of 47 years.
Kolb was my seventh-grade teacher at Franklin. His influence changed my life.
“Doug,” Kolb once told me, “anytime I can see a kid like you stay out of Walla Walla, it makes me feel 20 feet tall.”
I get a lot of humor mileage out of my wild-kid past. But the truth is that as I entered my teen years, I was running with a tough bunch, getting in fights and heading for bigger trouble.
I couldn’t put the blame on a bad home. My parents were great. My dad was a tough-minded guy who had ethics and a terrific sense of humor. My mom was a loving, stay-at-home June Cleaver who packed my lunches and dutifully drove me to trumpet and guitar lessons.
I was always a pretty good musician. But what I excelled at was playing my teachers like a virtuoso.
Until Kolb came along, that is.
Teaching at Franklin, 2627 E. 17th, was just Kolb’s second teaching job, the first in his hometown.
It still amazes me that he was teaching at all.
Kolb had been a star baseball player with North Central High School’s undefeated team. He attended college at Eastern, where he was All-Evergreen Conference and led the league in hits. He was named MVP as a junior and “most inspirational player” two years in a row.
Kolb graduated. The Yankees offered the pitcher and outfielder a $10,000 signing bonus to join one of their farm clubs.
But Kolb turned down the Yanks-to teach.
Hard to imagine an athlete making such a choice in today’s “me first” age.
And so I delivered my keynote speech before an attentive audience of Franklin students, who sat in the sun, and a group of more elderly alumni, who got the shade.
I told them how I loved every brick in the old school. I told them about the time I carved my name in my desk, a wood-topped contraption that was equipped with an inkwell and already was an antique.
I carved: “Doug Clark-famus.”
I was quite proud until one of the smart girls walked by.
“You misspelled famous,” she remarked in a haughty tone.
My first of many run-ins with an editor.
I told them about some of the former Franklin students I’ve interviewed over the years.
Frank Ohme, for example, attended Franklin from 1919 to 1927. Ohme got a big write-up in the paper in 1927 for being the city’s champion at marbles, which in Ohme’s day was apparently as popular as online poker is today.
In 1943, a girl named Joan was in a Franklin play with a kid named Don. Joan played the fairy princess. Don played the woodchopper.
The Saylers – Don and Joan – got married right after attending Lewis and Clark High School. They had a son named Jon, who went to Franklin and turned out to be one of Spokane’s premier architects.
I finally got to Mr. Kolb, who was a lanky 24-year-old when I first entered his classroom in the fall of 1963.
Kolb saw through my baloney in a split second. He was plenty tough but equally fair. He set standards. He believed in accountability. He taught me that it was better to use my wits than my fists.
Kolb was only at Franklin a couple of years, moving on to other jobs within the education system. After my speech, I joked with him that he didn’t need to stay at Franklin after working on me.
Kolb agreed. “I figured I’d conquered Mount Everest,” he said with a laugh.
Sure, I love Franklin School. It’s a piece of Spokane educational history.
And I sure hope no yahoos down at the school district office ever get the itch to tear down Franklin and replace it with a more modern structure.
Franklin should be preserved and cherished. I’d love to see the school expertly restored and updated, like Lewis and Clark. I’m betting thousands of Franklin alumni agree with me.
But the bottom line is that Franklin is still just architecture.
As much as we all love these old bricks, it’s the Don Kolbs – the concerned, dedicated and caring teachers – who make a building a school.
Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Take me to the Spokesman article.