The Bay City Times - Saturday, Nov 10, 1940.
Building Opened for Use in 1896
Addition Constructed in September, 1929
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the ninth in a series of stories relating the history of Bay City schools, and published each Saturday in The Times. Next week’s history will deal with the Wenona school.)
The Washington school was erected during one of the happiest and most prosperous years in Bay City’s history, that of the nineties... gay here, too, as they were in the rest of the world. Bay City was settling down to a cultural environment after the hectic lumber days, and people moved here from the East for timber activity, had decided to make the city a permanent residence.
The Washington school was erected during the period when numerous education institutions were being constructed in all parts of the city. When the residential section of Bay City on the east side moved eastward toward Trumbull avenue in the vicinity between Center and Columbus avenues it became necessary to have a school building for the children. The construction on the present site was started in 1895 and the building was opened in 1896.
Had Five Principals
The first principal of the school was Miss Cora McCombs from 1896 to 1902. Following her death that year, Miss Flora McLean succeeded her and served until her retirement in 1906. At this time Miss Nellie Newkirk was appointed and remained until 1915, when Miss Alta Porter replaced her. Miss Porter was principal of the school until this September, when she took over duties at the Wenona school. Ralph H. MacDonald, formerly a T. L. Handy Junior High school instructor, now is principal of the school.
The original building became crowded as the years went on as this portion of East Bay City continued to gain favor as a residential section. An addition was built in September of 1929, after a portable building placed in the rear of the main building had been used for awhile. This new part of the school had six classrooms, an auditorium and gymnasium, and provided for all the children in the district as well as for the seventh and eight grades that could not be handled at Eastern Junior High school, one of the oldest school buildings in the city. When the addition was opened a reception was held for parents and Bay City school teachers.
The school today rates as one of the best in the elementary group. The old building is rated as “fair” on 21 determining factors of education efficiency and “good” on special rooms and water supply. The “fair” ratings go to location, playgrounds, landscape, architecture, height, efficiency for administration, class rooms, general condition, heating, ventilation and equipment. The addition is rated “good” on 12 items and “fair” on eight.
Has Active Program
Throughout its existence students at Washington have been active in many lines. Newspapers and magazines have been published by the children, school concerts were held, and one of the first physical training exhibits in the city was given in the ballroom of the home of Mrs. Walter Young. Similar performances have been held at the school especially since the auditorium has been built.
Dramatics have always been important to Washington school children, and one of the earliest performances was that of an Indian play written and produced by the third grade group at Central High school. This was followed by an original play, “The Magic-Necklace,” written by 8A children and given in a local theatre. Following came such performances as an all-school pageant of the history of Bay City, a pageant of Colonial days, an opera, “The Snow Queen,” and an impersonation of actors. These performances all took place at Central. Then in the Washington auditorium, the play, “The Wizard,” was given, followed by a pageant, “Colonia Days in North and South America,” scenes of which were used in the move production of Bay City schools. Dramatization of various well known children’s books were given only a few years ago, and last year an original pageant of the history of Michigan. For a great any years the Christmas story was dramatized under the direction of Miss Charlotte McLean.
Besides the numerous extra-curricular activities of the schools, such as Girl Reserves, Campfire Girls, Boy Scouts, Student Council, Junior Red Cross, student patrols, orchestra and basket ball teams, the school has a museum, which is much enjoyed by the pupils. The honor rolls, stress effort and department rather than scholastic attainment.
On the teaching staff of the school at the present time are: MacDonald, principal; Miss Jane Dempter, Miss Betty Haynes, Miss Genevieve Kelly, Miss Ellen MacDonald, Miss Amelia McGibbon, Miss Madeline Meloche, Mrs. Lou Monks, W. Harold Reese, Miss Ruth Schindler, Miss Ruth Sutton, Miss Nell Tracy, Mrs. Glenn M. Vallender, and Miss Frieda Volz.