Seattle Public Schools, 1862-2000: Lake City School

  • Posted 9/08/2013
  • Essay 10541
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This People's History of Lake City 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.

Lake City School

The community of Lake City developed along the state highway running from Seattle through Bothell to Monroe. Early Lake City found itself divided between three school districts: Maple Leaf, Oak Lake, and Lake Forest Park. Lake City School District No. 180 was created from parts of those districts in summer 1912. That fall the first Lake City School opened for 12 pupils in a house donated by H. L. Hilman at 37th Avenue NE and NE 123rd Street.

During the first school year, property was purchased as a permanent site. The following year the school operated temporarily (September-December) in a camp store owned by Mr. C. T. Chittenden while the new school was being completed. The new school opened after Christmas vacation in January 1914.

Two trees were planted in front of the school on Arbor Day of 1919 in memory of two young neighborhood men who lost their lives, one in a sawmill accident and the other in World War I. The trees remained there as late as 1961. Also in 1919, two classrooms were added to the building.

In 1931, a new Georgian-style Lake City School was opened on a site across the street and about a block away from the old school. As the school population continued to grow, a four-room addition was made in 1939. Another three classrooms were added in 1943.

The population of the Lake City area grew still more following World War II. This growth meant a triple-shift for kindergarten classes and double-shifts for the primary grades at Lake City School, which was then in Shoreline School District No. 412. With the opening of Jane Addams Junior High School in September 1949, Lake City became a K-6 school. Enrollment peaked at Lake City School in 1952-53 with 1,144 pupils. Some classes met in the old Lake City School building. With the opening of Pinehurst in 1950, followed by Rogers, Northgate, and Olympic Hills, some pressure was lifted.

New schools were still needed, however, even after Lake City School was annexed into Seattle Public Schools. Cedar Park opened in 1956 as an annex to Lake City for grades 1-3. This expansion of schools, combined with a dropping birthrate and changing demographics in the neighborhood, resulted in a decline in enrollment at Lake City to about 550 in 1961 and 370 in 1974. With fewer classes in 1972-73, Lake City was able to combine two classrooms to make room for a model math lab, the first in the city.

In 1969, the number of minority students enrolled at Lake City School rose with the advent of busing. In 1970, the Jackson Park Housing Project opened to the west of Lake City and more minorities began moving into existing Lake City houses and apartments. By 1975, Lake City School had desegregated "naturally." Lake City was paired with King in 1974-75 as part of a federal program to increase contact between school-age children of different backgrounds.

Lake City School closed in June 1981. Following a 50-year lease, the building was extensively remodeled by a developer in 1987 and transformed into a professional office building. The original school entrance was preserved and two large entry structures of the same style were added to either side of the old gym.


Name: Lake City School
Location: 28th Avenue NE & (N)E 125th Street
Building: 2-room wood
Architect: n.a.
Site: n.a.
1914: Opened in January
1919: Addition (n.a.)
1931: Closed
1944: Became part of Shoreline School District
1952-53: Used as annex to new building
1954: Annexed into Seattle School District
1958: Sold to City of Seattle
n.a.: Demolished
Present: Site of Lake City Branch of Seattle Public Library

Name: Lake City School
Location: 2611 NE 125th Street
Building: Wood and brick veneer
Architect: n.a.
Site: 5.57 acres
1931: Opened
1939: Addition (n.a.)
1943: Addition (n.a.)
1944: Became part of Shoreline School District
1954: Annexed into Seattle School District
1981: Closed in June; short-term lease to local citizens' group
1985: Former playground sold to Seattle Parks Department
1986: Long-term lease
1987: Building remodeled

Use of Lake City School site in 2000
Lake City Professional Center


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

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