Seattle Public Schools, 1862-2000: Ross School

  • Posted 9/11/2013
  • Essay 10583

This People's History of Ross 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.

Ross School

The first Ross School opened in 1873 when Mary Jane (McMillan) Ross decided she wanted to have her children educated closer to home. The Rosses had moved to North Queen Anne (at the north end of today's Seattle Pacific University where Third Avenue West meets the Ship Canal). In order to keep her younger children from having to board in town while attending school, Mrs. Ross set up a classroom in a vacant second-floor room in her home and hired Lima Penfield to teach. Children came from not only North Queen Anne but also Fremont and what would become Phinney Ridge.

In 1883, Mary and her husband John moved to the north side of the creek flowing between Fremont and Ballard, and there, along with their neighbor William Ashworth, built a two-room schoolhouse.

Over Christmas recess in 1902-03, the old schoolhouse closed and a new building opened. When the new school closed in 1940, students were sent to West Woodland, which had its origins as the Ross Annex.


Name: Ross School
Location: 3rd Avenue NW & (N)W 43rd Street
Building: 2-room wood
Architect: n.a.
Site: 1.16 acres
1883: Opened
1891: Annexed into Seattle School District on June 1
1902: Closed in December
1903: Rented for use as dressmaking shop
1916: Old schoolhouse sold on March 22

Name: Ross School
Location: 3rd Avenue NW & (N)W 43rd Street
Building: 8-room wood
Architect: n.a.
Site: 1.16 acres
1903: Opened on January 5; renamed Farragut on March 7; renamed Ross on September 1
1939: Leased to park board for 99 years for playground purposes
1940: School closed in June
1941: Building demolished on January 18

Use of Ross School site in 2000
Ross Playfield

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

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