[undated] Hear Consolidated School Appeal

[undated] Hear Consolidated School Appeal

The county commissions this afternoon are hearing an appeal from the decision of I. A. Kibbe, superintendent of count schools, in which last December there was made a transfer of territory from school districts 28 and 53 to district 301, known as the consolidating district, embracing Yelm, Lawrence Lake, Cook or Pollard. Eureka and Willow Lawn.  The protesting districts in the appeal are John Longmire and Moorehead, Bald Hill not joining the appeal.

A number of residents of the districts are in the city today for the hearing, among them being Cap Longmire, James Mosman, and Mr. Martain.

Lackamas – Only thing missing from restored school is kids.

Only thing missing from restored school is kids.

The Olympian March 24, 2003

By Mildred Kavanaugh

Lackamas could again hold classrooms after tedious restoration led by former student.

Yelm – When 68-year-old Dillard Jensen drives by Lackamas School, located 10 miles east of Yelm, he’s flooded with fond memories of his school days.

Jensen, a lifelong resident of Yelm, was a student at Lackamas School from 1940 until 1946, when the school was closed.

“After sitting empty from 1946 to 1986, the school was tumbling down,” he said. “The foundation and building were still good, but there were no windows, doors, and what was left of the roof was on the basement floor. Deterioration had taken over. I always wanted to put the school back together.”

Now the school can be used for classes again. Yelm Community Schools voters passed a bond last month that could provide 2.3$ million for the restored school, which could almost immediately be used as a kindergarten through fourth-grade school.

But it’s been a long road.

In 1986, Jensen and his wife of 50 years, Nita, and their friends, Rick and Mary Johnson, went in together and purchased the property. Together, they started the lengthy process of restoring the school. Jensen’s son and grandson helped.

The Yelm School Board recently presented the Jensens and Johnsons with a certificate of appreciation for the restoration work they did.

Dr. Alan Burke, superintendent of Yelm schools, said: “When I saw the finished restoration project, I was impressed and amazed with the time, effort and financial resources they put in to restore the Lackamas School. It’s a snapshot back to the past and a great landmark for people who live nearby.”

Jensen says they restored the entire school, including the gym and the teacher’s house. The school is painted the same color it was when Jensen was there as a student. They even re-hung the blackboards. “The building takes me right back to my school days. It even smells like an old school,” Jensen said.

“We saved a little bit of history,” Jensen said. “It’s about time we start saving some of our past.”

Jensen was one of 16 students in grades one to six. One teacher taught all six grades. In those days, there was no such thing as a school janitor, Jensen said. It was the students’ job to clean the building and grounds.

Each Friday, the teacher put up a list of jobs to be done for the next week. Students were assigned on a rotating basis the tasks of preparing lunch, cleaning outdoor toilets, keeping the wood furnace going and putting up the flag.

Every day before school was let out, students cleaned the classroom and got it ready for the next school day, Jensen said.

The Lackamas School first opened its doors in the fall of 1914. The gym and teacher’s house were built later. The school is now on the County Historical Register, State Register and National Register of Historic Places.

Jensen says he hoped the Yelm school district will add on the building and use it once again for a school. “I would love to see kids there again,” Jensen said.

School Board President Denise Hendrickson said, “Dillard and Nita Jensen and Rick and Mary Johnson have made a positive difference in our commun9tyh that will have a permanent place in the pages of history.”

Nita Jensen said one of their partners in the project, Rick Johnson, was too young to attend the school, but his mom, dad and grandfather attended Lackamas School. Johnson’s granddad built the gym.

Now that the restoration is complete, Nita Jensen said, visiting the school is like going back to the past.

“There’s something nice about something old,” she said.

Lacamas School Interview – June 2003 Michaela and Jessica Murdock Interviewing Dillard Jenson

Jessica: How long was your school year? I know that it’s 180 now, but there must have been more time off?

Dillard: We started right after Labor Day and we always got out the last of May. Usually around May 29. Yeah, because I don’t think we had any spring vacation. But, yeah, we always got out the last of May.

J: Was there a lot of farming kids out here?

D: Oh yeah! All farming kids. We all farmed. That’s all there was, was farm kids.

J: What kind of farms did you guys have? Was is mostly cows?

D: Cows! Everybody had a little farm, everybody had a couple cows. Everything was on a small scale.

*Rustling…conversation lost…

J: How did you guys get to school? How far usually was the range?

D: By a homemade school bus. It had benches along the side. Was an old… just an old regular pickup. Old wooden back. And uh then… up the Peizner road here. Whoever lived up there Mr. Peizner had an old car and then he’d deliver them. And then up above Clear Wood, which is Clear Wood now, up on Johnson road, there was another old gentleman up there and he had a big old car and he used it for a bus. And that’s how everybody was transported.

J: So…do you know how large the range was from where kids were coming from?

*Rustling…conversation muddled…

D: The range… oh well the range didn’t reach out all that far. Probably… twenty miles. But  what happened is the Yelm School District- now we’re going way back- the Yelm School District the valuation at that time was $500,000. That’s all there was. This one here was $550,000 cause we had Weyerhaeuser, which added more valuation. Well Yelm couldn’t get by without reorganizing and adding this school. So that’s what they done and we were always promised a school, but when the ink dried they took the school away from us. So now we’re getting it back. (Laughs)

J: So what years did you go to school here?

D: I went here first through sixth. Then everybody after the sixth grade went on to Yelm.

J: So that was in 19…?

D: It closed down in 1947.

J: So 1941?

D: I started in ‘40.

M: So you went right until the end?

D: Yeah, I went just about to the end. I think it ran maybe one year after I left.

J: What was the attitude toward school back then? Did the parents think it was very important?

D: Very important. You want to remember everything was entirely different. We had one teacher. No superintendent, no principal, no janitor, no nothing. One teacher ran this school. And every Friday we would put a list up on the board and two boys would feed the wood furnace for the following week. Two boys would take care of their restroom. Two girls would take care of theirs. The teacher always cooked the noon lunch. And she’d have two girls, their names would be on the list, they’d help cook the lunch for that week, but they only cooked lunch for four days a week and every Friday one of the mothers would bring us something special for lunch. And that’s the way it worked. And then about fifteen minutes before school was out every day we’d have to clean up our room, so it was ready for the next morning. And then once a week we’d go out and clean up all the school grounds and clean everything up. And then of course one person had to put the flag up and take it down everyday.

J: I think that is so cool. I think that teaches you so much more responsibility.

D: But like I said I wasn’t the best student. When I went to Yelm I sat there for two years, because it was a complete review I’d already had. So I wasted two years. Well… I mean I didn’t waste it, but I’d already had it. Because when you’ve got six grades in one room and you’re in first grade, it’s just like computers today, you store everything, well you store the same in your mind and so when you get to the second grade you’ve already heard those kids recite their lesson- they recited everything back in those days. So it’s already stored in there, right on up through the six grades. When you get there it’s just a review for you. It’s a wonderful to learn. I’d like to see them teaching kids that way again.

J: You probably get a lot more one-on-one time too?

D: Oh sure! Well and another thing, you couldn’t get away with anything. You got bent over…(laughs)…that’s the way it was…there were no ifs, ands, or buts about it, and then when you got home you got some more.

M: So there was definitely some corporal punishment.

D: Well it was…but they’re going to have to go back to a little bit of discipline today, because it’s not working. It’s not working. We all…I don’t care who you are, we all try to get away with as much as we can…everybody does that. So, I say we need a little bit more discipline. But that’s maybe coming from an old-timer‘s mouth.

J: I think that’s interesting to see like, what was breaking the rules, though, and what was looked over, and what was totally not acceptable to do. I think you could push yourself a lot further now, and I was just wondering what was grounds for punishment?

D: Well you tried to push yourself, but you couldn’t, you didn’t get it done, because you got a good whipping or the paddle. And when I went to Yelm it was the same thing there… was a teacher, a principal by the name of Harry Southworth. And he had this nice little wooden board with holes in it and you got the same treatment there. They had control of you. You might try something, but it wasn’t going to work.

J: What kind of curriculum did you guys learn and what was your day?

D: You had your Math and your English, and just the basics… you know, lots of penmanship. Even though I don’t write every day, I still have lot’s of it… and health classes.

J: You said you had to recite a lot, what did you have to recite?

D: What did we have to recite? Well, in Reading and different things like that we probably read more than we had to recite, but we did have to get up and read to the class, stand up in front of the class…or even in Math, she’d make you get up and work your math out on the blackboard and everybody would watch you and see if you were doing it right. So, that’s where you learned from the class ahead of you, so when you got there it was pretty much review. Everything was done pretty much without teacher. She sat at the front of the room and she’d call you up and you’d work on the blackboard, because you wouldn’t want to mess up.

J: So you didn’t want to make any mistakes?

D: No you didn’t or you were in trouble.

J: So, it wasn’t a big deal having different grades in the same class?

D: No, it wasn’t.

J: And having to share the teacher?… When I was reading the Hart’s Lake School thing they said that they put the schedule for each grade up every day and that you just looked at it and knew what you were doing and you didn’t have any problems with that?

D: That’s exactly what it was…That’s exactly the way it was…yep…it was amazing. It probably wouldn’t work today…

*At this point in time Roger Schnepf and Brandon Brownell arrived at the school to take pictures. The Interview stopped for a short while, but the tape kept playing. Dillard insulted the boys and we all laughed. We talked a little bit…

Michaela: What was the basement used for?

D: Oh we had a shop down there where we built, didn’t amount to much, but we built little things. As good as we could.

J: Did you guys use the gymnasium for physical education classes or just for fun?

D: We just had a basketball hoop, we played a lot of baseball.

M: Did you have any sports or clubs after school?

D: Everything we did…garbled

M: You did golf.

D: I never got in on the golf. That was before I started here… They had a little nine-hole course out there.

*Brandon interrupts to take a picture of Dillard.

J: One of the things that Mr. Bergh was reading to us was in Walla, Walla one of their flag salutes was really interesting. They had to say this weird thing and look at the flag and I was wondering if you guys did anything special for the flag salute? Pledge of Allegiance?

D: Oh yeah. Everybody had to every morning.

J: Is it the same Pledge of Allegiance?

D: Oh yeah. Might be changed a little bit, didn’t they change it…ahh… I can’t remember. I don’t think so, it seemed to me like it was exactly the same. We had to take the flag up and take it down. There was no leaving it up. That was a no! leaving the flag up.

*More interruption. Roger and Brandon leave to explore the rest of the school.

J: Did you guys ever feel lonely or cut off from other people?

D: Didn’t know the difference. Probably went to town once a week… something like that. Wolf’s department store, right there in the Drew Harvey Theater, that was the big place in Yelm back in those days. Everybody bought their groceries there, bought their clothes there, bought everything there. They sold everything. Cattle feed…*mumbling/garbled… And right there at Gorder’s Body Shop, that was Brown Brothers. And there was the John Deere dealership. And the Plymouth and Dodge car dealership. The original theater was over…the bowling alley, that was a theater… yeah, see that was the second one, the old one burned down. But, let’s see…the bank there on the corner, I can‘t remember the name, Timberland or something…then right next to it used to be D&H Mobile service station, so that’s an Apex grocery or something now. Say, right there was the original theater. Regular movie theater. It burnt down and then the built the one where the bowling alley is now. That was a movie theater and then the built one in Parkland and it burnt down…garbled…but they were identical theaters. They just built the theater floor up and put in the bowling alley. Try to think what else was in town. There were all kinds of things. Yelm was a pretty nice little town… But it was all basically right in that area. Across from the Drew Harvey Theater was a big meat market and right next to him was a ***** restaurant and bar. And then, if I can remember, I was just a little kid, it was in ‘39 they had built a new highway from, they had finished it from Tenino, that was the main highway. And then they had a big get-together. I think that was around the first carnival they had. And right where the old fire station is, that was an old lot there at that time, just a narrow lot, but that’s where the first carnival was.

M: So, where the senior citizen’s center is….the big building across from the bowling alley?

D: Oh, that big old building, that’s probably…the senior center now…that’s probably one of the oldest buildings in Yelm.

M: What did they used to use it for?

D: I think it was, I can’t remember, it was an Oddfellows Hall or whatever it was, there was a hardware store…

*After this we kind of trail off the subject of the Lacamas School and just talk about the Stewart family and different things around Yelm. It might be worth listening to, but not really.

1940 – Entertains In Honor of New Teachers In Yelm School

The Nisqually Valley News

September 19th, 1940

Miss Dorothy Kniffen entertained Tuesday night at the M.J. Gruber home, honoring the four nef [new] teachers. Guests were the women teachers and the faculty wives. The game of Yatchet was played throughout the evening, honors going to Mrs. O.L. Montgomery and Miss Morgan.

1940 – School Will Open Monday, With Many Improvements

Nisqually Valley News

September 31st, 1940

School opens for the new year next Monday morning at 8:45. The school buses will run the same routes and schedules as at the close of school last spring. Students do not ned [need] to bring lunches for the first day. The second day of school, Tuesday, will be a full day of school with all classes meeting for the full hour.

Teachers new to this school system this year will be:

Mildred Dornberger, primary; Jeanne Zeimantz, high school English and Phys. Ed.; Henry Van Woudenberg, Agriculture and farm shop.

Della Margan [Morgan], nurse.

Vocational agricultural and farm shop will be taught in the Yelm school this year. Forge work, electric welding and many other forms of machine shop will be taught. Six hundred dollars worth of new machinery has been ordered and will sonn [soon] be installed. At present the brick work for the forge is being installed. All boys interested may enroll for this work.

Many books have been repaired and new books have been added to the school library this summer.

The music [music] department will have a flying start as the bands and orchestras have met for practice during the summer.

The gym floor has agin [again] been repaired and glistens with a new coat of varnish.

All roofs were refinished at the shool [school] this summer. More than 50 barrels of roof coating was used.

Football suits have been issued. The first league game will be held here against Kapowsin in about two weeks.

A new range has been installed in the Home Economics department.

Starting in Sptember [September], school Board meetings will be held on the second Thursday of each month instead of the second Friday. This change was deemed advisable so as to avaoid [avoid] conflicts which were much more numerous Friday evenings.

In the last decades there has been quite a nhange [change] in our publin [public] sshool [school] systems. That hhange must have been days do not beaa for the better bruse youngsters these days do not rebel or objedt strensonsly to the idea of going to sshool. [That change must have been for the better because youngsters these days do not rebel or object strenuously to the idea of going to school.] This is dde [due], no dollbt [doubt], to the fact that education has been made more interesting and intriguing than under the old system of purely “book larnin’.” Extra-hurricular [extra-curricular] activities- music, dramatics, athletics and a touch of the romance of journalism [journalism]-  have added spice and adventure to the otherwise boresome every-day classroom grind. Students like to go to school because the school offers them opportunities to express their personalities.

Aand [and] after all that is the true value of education. Even though a boy or girl have report cards filled with A’s upon his or her graduation, unless their personality is developed, unless they have been trained to make use of their talents, unless they have the ability to “sell” themselves to the public, there are few worth-while opportunities open to them. Every successful man or woman in any line or endeavor is essentially a salesman and before thay [they] can sell their services or talents, they must first sell confidence in themselves.

The days of the bashful and backward students have passed. Now boys and girls are taught to meet people and to feel “at home” in public. And that is education in its true form.


The Nisqually Valley News

September 19th, 1940

First Year Crops Indicate A New Money Crop For This District is Started

This week saw the first of Yelm’s new crop, lima beans, harvested and threshed. The beans are turning out fairly good for a first year crop. The yields have been from 500 pounds to a ton to the acre. The culture and fertilization of the beans is entirely new to the district and another year the farmers will know better how to care for them.

The ordinary growing season for the limas, judged by other localities, was about 120 days, but in this vicinity, from the time they were lanted [planted] until the harvest started was just 104 days. The water and climate here are apparently adapted to growing this bean.

The smallness of the crop is no indication of anything as the first year the Blue Lake (pole beans) were planted here the crop was so small that many of the farmers did not expect to grow them the next year. But this year the Blue Lakes harvested as much as seven tons to the acre.

The price for the lima beans is $80 per ton. However there is no picking charge and the beans are threshed here by the R.D. Bodle Company, buyers of the product and the green vines make fine cow feed.

The handling of the beans is an interesting process. The beans are threshed green here, and there must be no more than 10 percent whites, or ripe beans. They are then iced and shipped to the freezer in Seattle, where they are done up in cellophane packages and frozen. They are shipped to Eastern markets where stores with special equipment sell them.

This particular branch of agriculture may develop into something that will be of great benefit to this community.

A.J. Justman is the agent for R.D. Bodle, and Lawrence Darts is in charge of the thresher.

Irrigation Flume Washed Out No More Water This Year

The Nisqually Valley News

September 19th, 1940

About fifty feet of the Yel [Yelm] mirrigation [irrigation] District flume washed out this week, and there will be no more water in the flumes this ear [year]. The wash-out was apparently caused by beavers getting ready for the winter.

Lackamas People Invited to Hear Debate on 139

The Nisqually Valley News

September 31st, 1940

The debate held at the Yelm High School last Friday evening on Initiative 139, will be followed by another on at Lackamas School next Saturday evening, November 2nd.  E. K. Fristoe will speak in favor of the measure and Oliver F. Hartline will take the opposition side. This debate was arranged by the people of Lakamas. The time for the start of the debate will be 8 o’clock, Saturday evening, November 2nd.

The Forest School (part of Yelm School District)

The Forest School was part of the Yelm School District by 1915.  Located on the corner of 143rd SE and Vail Road the building still stands and is known as the Deschutes Grange.  From this picture one can see the closed bell tower that was always part on the small schools of the era.  Located where it is, the building may have been part of an earlier school district that was absorbed by Yelm.  This picture of the Forest School, from Yelm Pioneers and Followers, 1850-1950, is from 1915.  The teachers in the picture, Mr. Loren Peters and Miss Ruth Eide were on the Yelm school district payroll in 1915.  Also in this picture are two of the three Chabert girls. They became educators.  Not in the photo is their sister Rose, who also became a teacher.  According to Joseph Conine, in a 1917 letter to his daughter Jennie Lind Edwards, “the Forest school is also looming up pretty well.”   A “Miss Curry” was the principal and May Robinson was her assistant.

News Articles

The entertainment goven recently aby the pupils of the Forest school at McKenna and witnessed by quite a few peple from this town was a big success, netting the school $18.50 to be appliaed on the purschase of piano and gving the attendants a most pleasant evening.

Washington Standard 5-8-1914

A literary society was organized last Friday evening iat the Forest school.  A short program was rendered and there was a debate between Mr. J. C. Conine, R. F. King, and Mr. Peters and R. S. Smith.  The subject discussed was, “Resolved, Tat the United States should own and maintain a merchant marine.”  This was enjoyed by everyone present.   There literary meeting will be held every two weeks and promises to be both instructive and entertaining and should have the co-operation of everyone in the district.

Washington Standard 10-19-1915

Miss Eide, the primary teacher of the Forest school, was a week-end visitor with her parents in Tacoma.

Washington Standard 11-19-1915

Hot Lunch Program is Great Success 1921-03-25  Morning Olympian

The Forest school hot lunch, which was organized by William H. Dunham, county club  leader, January 12, has proven a great success under the supervision of Miss  Mary   Curry  and Miss  Bessie  Evans.

The lunch is cooked Ly a club organized or pupils over ten years of age and the children bring all or the food themselves except staples. Before the hot noon lunch was opened a big social was held one night which resulted in $42.67 being secured to start the work.

Now the children sit down for 20 minutes and eat a good hot lunch before going to play while formerly they swallowed  a  cold  sandwich, and then out to spend the rest of  the noon hour playing.

A survey was taken before the lunch was opened and 15 or the 42 were found to be  overweight.  Since then 1 has gained 5 1/2 pounds, another 4 1/2, while 4 others have gained 2 pounds and many others one pound. No charges are made for the lunch but every one brings what he can.  In the past month 37 servings  of  hot  drinks  and food” were  made,  totaling  1375 cups.

These contained 3 3/4  pounds  of  butter  and  120 quarts of  milk.