Seattle Landmarks: Dunlap Elementary School (1924)

  • By Dave Wilma
  • Posted 4/06/2001
  • Essay 3166
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Address: 8621 48th Avenue South, Seattle. Dunlap School honors Joseph Dunlap (d. 1893), the first white settler of Rainier Beach who built a home on the site in the 1870s.

Tradition holds that Joseph Dunlap and his family arrived in the Puget Sound country in 1869 in a wagon over the Oregon Trail. On Beacon Hill, Dunlap instructed his 14-year-old son George to climb a tree to take a look around. George reportedly described a valley leading down to Lake Washington. Joseph Dunlap chose that for his 120-acre homestead. The farm became a stopping place for stockmen traveling between Snoqualmie Pass and Seattle.

The neighborhood's first school was built in 1898 at Rainier Avenue S at Leains Street (S Kenyon Street). In 1904, the Dunlap family donated the home site at Leanna Street (S Cloverdale Street) to the school district for a four-room school which was named after Dunlap. In 1907, the area was annexed into Seattle and Dunlap School became part of the Seattle School District. Except for the 1908-1908 school year, one principal was responsible for Dunlap School along with either Brighton School or Emerson School. In 1912, the school district purchased more of the original Dunlap property to the west.

In 1924, the district built the current structure in the twentieth century Georgian style, designed by school district architect Floyd A. Naramore (1879-1970). The structure included an assembly-lunchroom available for public gatherings. In 1952, more classrooms and a gymnasium were added. In 1974, the 5th and 6th grades were moved to the new South Shore Middle School.


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