B. F. Day Elementary School opens in Fremont (Seattle) in September 1892.

  • By Priscilla Long
  • Posted 5/25/2001
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 3308
In September 1892, the B. F. Day Elementary School, which is is oldest continuously operating elementary school in the Seattle School District, opens in the Fremont neighborhood. The year after the town of Fremont is annexed to Seattle (1891), the four-room brick school building is designed by the school district architect, John Parkinson (1861-1935). The land is donated by Benjamin Franklin Day and Francis Day, who own a 160-acre farm overlooking the community of Fremont.

In 1900, James Stephen (1858-1938) designed an eight-room addition (based on Parkinson's earlier design). It was built in 1901. In 1916, further additions to the school were built, along with concrete retaining walls and stairs along the west edge of the site. These were designed by Edgar Blair.

By 1909, almost 700 students were attending the school. For almost 20 years, the B. F. Day School was the largest elementary school in the city, with enrollment peaking in the mid-1920s at more than 900 students.

School Before the B. F. Day School

In 1889, the children of Fremont went to school at a house at the corner of 36th Avenue N and Whitman Street. There were two teachers. Fremont was reached by boat. Passengers rode the Maude Foster or the Mud Hen and landed at a dock at the foot of what is now Stone Way. In 1890, the school moved to a store building at 36th Avenue N and Aurora, and the following year was relocated to the Good Templars Hall at the corner of 35th Avenue N and Albion Place.

In 1991, the B. F. Day School received a $5 million renovation. The school is (in 2001) a K-5 elementary school, and is a designated historic landmark. It is located at 3921 Linden Avenue N. Susan McCloskey is principal.

Sources: Patricia C. Erigero, Seattle Public Schools: Historic Building Survey (Seattle: Seattle Public Schools and Historic Seattle Preservation and Development Authority, 1989), 54-61; "B. F. Day School" (www.bfday.org); Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, "John Parkinson," in Shaping Seattle Architecture ed by Jeffrey Karl Ochsner (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994), 28-33.

Related Topics:   Buildings | Education | Landmarks | Seattle Neighborhoods

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