Seattle Public Schools, 1862-2000: Holgate School (Duwamish Bend)

  • Posted 9/08/2013
  • Essay 10527

This People's History of Holgate 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.

Holgate School

Seattle's booming wartime industries brought an influx of new residents during the 1940s. To accommodate the growing population, chiefly employees of the Boeing Airplane Company, the federal government funded a 901-unit housing project called Duwamish Bend. Because nearby Georgetown School could not accommodate many more students, a new school was needed for the children of the families living in the housing project.

For the 1943-44 school year, Duwamish Bend School was established in two rows of housing project units (#6120-6139 Natches Place) as an annex to Georgetown. The transformation of the apartments into classrooms was not completed by the opening of school on September 29, 1943. Despite the cold and rainy weather, and lack of heat or furniture, students and teachers pitched in to help prepare the building and by the end of the first week seats and blackboards had been installed. Each classroom had a range, refrigerator, circulating heater, and bathroom. The teachers did the janitorial work until Thanksgiving, earning an extra 75 cents a day.

The first year at the Duwamish Bend School was full of changes. During the first two weeks, a temporary organization was set up with Ida Hermann, principal of Georgetown, serving as principal and seven new teachers handling the initial enrollment of 88 pupils. Later in the term, as more families moved into the housing project, the classrooms "burst at the seams" and four more teachers were brought in. Both students and teachers were mostly new arrivals to Seattle, coming from many different parts of the country.

In September 1944, a new school on federal property, built and equipped with federal funds, was ready to open. This single-story frame building had 16 rooms. In addition to classrooms, there were two large storage rooms, an auditorium, a kitchen, and administrative office. A year later the new Duwamish Bend School was large enough to warrant its own principal.

In 1947, the district purchased the school site from the federal government. The deal was a bargain for the district, which acquired a building constructed for $1,086,000 and equipped for $12,000, plus the land, all for a total of only $30,000.

In 1952, the school board decided to change the name of Duwamish Bend because of continual confusion with neighboring Duwamish School in the South Central School District. The name Holgate School commemorated John C. Holgate, the first white man to attempt to settle in what is now King County. Holgate arrived in the Duwamish River valley in fall 1849. The following year he left for awhile and when he found the property taken over by the Collins family (see Maple and Van Asselt) upon his return, he moved to another nearby location.

By 1952, the gradual closing of the housing project had reduced Holgate's enrollment to such an extent that the school was again placed under the principal of Georgetown School. In January 1955, foreseeing no need to operate both Georgetown and Holgate, the district reached an agreement with the Boeing Company by which Boeing would pay for the establishment of the Holgate Branch of Edison Technical School at the Holgate School. Edison's aircraft classes were to be moved to Holgate from Boeing property at 6736 Ellis Avenue. The agreement allowed for Holgate elementary students to complete the current school year. The following year they were transferred to Georgetown.

For a brief period in 1959-60 after the Warren Avenue School closed, Holgate Branch also housed pupils with cerebral palsy. The next year that program moved to a permanent home at Lowell.

Beginning with the 1961-62 school year, Holgate Branch was promoted to sister school status with Edison Technical School and renamed Holgate Technical School. While other off-site facilities remained with Edison, the Aircraft Branch moved under Holgate (see below). Holgate Technical formed part of Seattle Community College in 1966 and was transferred to Washington State the following year. General college courses were taught at Holgate prior to the opening of South Seattle Community College. Once that campus was built, the Holgate property was sold and the building demolished.


Name: Duwamish Bend
Location: 5925 3rd Avenue S
Building: 16-room wood
Architect: n.a.
Site: 2.05 acres
1944: Opened in September as annex to Georgetown
1945-54: Operated as independent school
1947: Purchased by school district in summer
1952: Name changed to Holgate on July 11
1954-55: Operated as annex to Georgetown
1955: Closed as elementary school in June; opened as Holgate Branch, Edison Technical
1959-60: Also housed Holgate Temporary Cerebral Palsy School
1962: Became Holgate Technical School
1966: Became part of Seattle Community College
1967: Transferred to State of Washington
n.a.: Demolished

Use of Holgate School site in 2000
Owned by Mobile Crane Co.


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

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
Major Support for Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You