Seattle Public Schools, 1862-2000: Mercer School

  • Posted 9/10/2013
  • Essay 10561

This People's History of Mercer 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.

Mercer School

Mercer School was named after Seattle pioneer Thomas Mercer upon whose donation claim the school was located. Mercer was one of the early directors of the Seattle School District. Mercer School had an identical floor plan to Minor, Columbia, and Rainier, although each was done in a different architectural style. The Italian Renaissance-style Mercer was considered Seattle's finest school in 1892 and was included in the city's exhibit at the International Columbian Exposition in Chicago to showcase Seattle's modern educational facilities.

A four-room addition opened in 1892. From January 1901 until spring 1903, the Mercer Annex operated in rented space at 401 5th Avenue N for a single 1st grade class, which could not be accommodated at Mercer. However, Mercer's enrollment began to decline beginning with the opening of Warren Avenue School in 1902. After the completion of the Denny Regrade, Mercer was phased out. Most students were sent to Warren Avenue and John Hay after the end of the 1930-31 school year. From 1931-33, there were only a few 1st through 3rd grade classes left at Mercer.

After the school building was demolished in 1948, the district's Administrative and Service Center was constructed on the site.


Name: Mercer School
Location: 4th Avenue N & Valley Street
Building: 8-room wood
Architect: Saunders & Houghton
Site: 1.41 acres
1890: Opened
1892: Addition (n.a.)
1903: Renamed Jefferson on March 7; renamed Mercer on March 23
1931: Became annex to Warren Avenue in September
1933: Closed as regular school in September; operated as Mercer Adjustment Center
1940: Closed as a school; used as training site for district custodians
1942: Edison Vocational School
1948: Closed and demolished
1949: District's Administration and Service Center opened at 815 4th Avenue N

Use of Mercer School site in 2000
Administration and Service 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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