Seattle Public Schools, 1862-2000: South Seattle School

  • Posted 9/12/2013
  • Essay 10594

This People's History of South Seattle 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.

South Seattle School

Head of the Bay was a single classroom school, which operated from October 1890 to June 1892 at the southeast end of Elliott Bay, perhaps near today's 6th Avenue S, just north of Andover Street. The site was near the bay before the shallow saltwater was replaced by fill in 1902.

In 1892, Head of the Bay closed, and South Seattle School was opened by School District No. 99, just south of the Seattle city limits (S Andover Street). The auditorium of the new school was on the third floor.

South Seattle's enrollment peaked at 300 in 1919-20, the first year kindergartners were added. As enrollment shrunk, all students, except for a single split class of 1st and 2nd graders, were sent to Maple for the 1931-32 school year. The school closed in June 1932.

When the building was demolished by WPA labor in 1939, the cornerstone was used to build a comfort station and shelter in South Seattle Playground.


Name: South Seattle School
Location: Maynard & Orange (4521 Maynard Avenue)
Building: 3-story, 8-room brick
Architect: John Parkinson
Site: 1.76 acres
1892: Opened by School District No. 99
1905: Annexed into Seattle School District
1929-32: Operated as annex to Maple
1932: Closed; grounds used by parks department as playfield
1939: Building presented to parks department; building demolished
1946: Site leased for 99 years to parks board
1964-65: Property deeded to parks department

Use of South Seattle School site in 2000
South Seattle Playground


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

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