Seattle Public Schools, 1862-2000: Ingraham High School

  • Posted 11/28/2013
  • Essay 10530
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This People's History of Edward S. Ingraham High School is taken from Building for Learning: Seattle Public School Histories, 1862-2000 by Nile Thompson and Carolyn J. Marr. That book, published in 2002 by Seattle Public Schools, compiled profiles of all the public school buildings that had been used by the school district since its formation around 1862. The profiles from the book are being made available as People's Histories on courtesy of Seattle Public Schools. It should be noted that these essays are from 2000. Some of the buildings profiled are historic, some of recent vintage, and many no longer exist (new names and buildings not included in these profiles from 2000 have been added), but each plays or has played an important role in the education of Seattle's youth.

Edward S. Ingraham High School

Following the Seattle School District's annexation of five elementary schools and Jane Addams Junior High School from the Shoreline School District in 1954, planning began for a new high school in the north end. A 25-acre site was included in the annexed land, and, in 1956, federal funds were sought to design a school. In 1958, an agreement between the Seattle School District and the parks department was adopted for the exchange and joint use of adjacent properties.

The proposed North End High School got its permanent name after the circulation of a list of possible names (including Marcus Whitman and Nathan Hale, which were later used for other schools) among principals and PTA presidents at nearby junior high schools. When no clear-cut favorite emerged, the school board voted to adopt the name Edward S. Ingraham, which was not on the original list. The choice was apt, however, because it honored a notable leader and innovator in local education.

Major Edward Sturgis Ingraham became the first superintendent of Seattle Public Schools in 1882, having served as King County Superintendent of Schools from 1876. Because Ingraham was an avid mountaineer (successfully climbing Mt. Rainier 11 times), the students chose the nickname "The Mountaineers," with the "Ram" as their mascot. The school newspaper became the Cascade and the yearbook, the Glacier. The school colors of blue, white, and gray symbolize snow-capped mountains on a blue horizon. When the building was officially dedicated on April 29, 1960, Kenneth Ingraham, a relative of the Major, attended the ceremony.

The design for the new high school included a distinctive oval dome auditorium, which seats 1,200 in amphitheater style. The auditorium is considered an acoustical masterpiece. Also included were a lunchroom, gymnasium, industrial arts building, and science-arts-business wing.

The 1,000 students attending the inaugural year in 1959-60 at first endured a number of problems as construction was far from complete. In the streets, sewer pipes awaited installation. Mud covered the access route to the building when it rained, and when the weather was dry, dust was a problem. As the year progressed, Ingraham students flourished under the guidance of Principal Claude Turner, who set high standards in all areas of high school education. Enrollment increased to 1,565 with the addition of the 12th grade, and by 1963, more than 2,200 students attended the school.

In 1963, Ingraham became one of the first schools in the nation to establish a 10-year self-evaluation program. Music was one of Ingraham's early strengths. The concert choir toured Japan in 1964, and its marching band has received many awards through the years.

In athletics, the Rams achieved notable success during the 1960s and early 1970s. The football team won a record 38 victories in the north division of the Metro league. Many state titles in basketball and
track also belonged to the Rams.
Ingraham's school paper, the Cascade, has received several state and national awards. In 1973, students from Ingraham won the local "Quizathon" for the third time in a row.

In 1985, Ingraham was one of six high schools selected from 37 in the state to advance to a national competition for outstanding secondary schools. It became the first urban high school in the state to be a finalist. Noted among the school's accomplishments was the success of a multiracial group of students and parents who worked to reduce tensions in the diverse student body.

In 1981, Ingraham added 9th graders. Curriculum highlights include a special 9th grade orientation program, career training, automotive repair, and advanced computer technology. Its school-to-career programs, such as Microsoft AATP, Cisco Networking Academy, and Electric Car and Bicycle, are leaders in the district.


Name: Edward S. Ingraham High School
Location: 1819 N 135th Street
Building: 56-room concrete
Architect: Naramore, Bain, Brady & Johanson
Site: 28.92 acres
1959: Named on June 3; opened on September 9

Edward S. Ingraham High School in 2000
Enrollment: 1,092
Address: 1819 N 135th Street
Nickname: Rams
Configuration: 9-12
Colors: Blue, white and gray
Newspaper: Cascade
Yearbook: Glacier


Nile Thompson and Carolyn J. Marr, Building for Learning: Seattle Public School Histories, 1862-2000 (Seattle: Seattle Public Schools, 2002).

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