Longfellow School — endangered building


Longfellow School, 3715 Oakes Ave, built in 1911.The new school, designed by Wesley R. Hastings and built by R.B. McAdam, was erected for about $38,000.  Its design reflected a subdued vernacular version of the popular Beaux Arts Classic style with symmetrically placed windows and a decorative cornice as part of a pronounced entablature.  The 12-room concrete structure was faced with a stucco finish.  The district broke tradition by naming the school for a literary figure instead of for a U.S. president.  Later other city schools were named for poets.

An auditorium/gymnasium/kitchen building were built immediately to the north of the building in 1957. It wasn’t the first school building on that part of the block.  Earlier, the 37th Street School, a two-room wooden building, stood on the southeast corner of 37th Street and Oakes Avenue facing 37th.  The two buildings shared the block for a time, but eventually the 37th Street  building was moved about four blocks north to 3409 Rockefeller where it serves today as a four-unit apartment.  It now faces south, but still resembles an old school.

No doubt the most famous alumni of the school was Senator Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson, who became county prosecuting attorney, U.S. Representative, and one of the most powerful members in the U.S Senate in his three decades there.  He even mad two bids for the Democratic nominee for President.  Another well-known attendee of Longfellow is Northwest entertainment legend Stan Boreson, who had a children’s program on Seattle’s KING-TV.  Anyone growing up in the Puget Sound area during the 1950s could probably finish the lines of his song, “Zero-dock…..”

Longfellow School closed in 1971 due to declining enrollment.  It was then enlisted to serve the school district with offices for various programs in the district.  It closed just recently with the opening of the district’s new administration building nearby.

Two schools in the district that also closed in 1971, Washington and Roosevelt, live on as a retirement home and church respectively.  In addition the Everett School District itself has restored  schools on the Everett and Sequoia high school campuses.

The building is listed on the Everett Historic Resource Survey, but that doesn’t give it any protection.  Unfortunately it is not listed on any historical register.  It is up to the owner to attain that status.  Members of the historical community have appealed to developers and introduced them to the possibilities of preserving this valuable piece of Everett’s history, It is our hope the school district will enter into a contract with someone this link to the city’s educational past.  Historic Everett is currently working with the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation to direct attention to the Longfellow Building by officially considering it one of Washington’s most endangered properties in 2015.  The Trust will work with the district to stress the importance of historic preservation and this slice of Everett’s past.  In a recent survey by the district more responded with saving the building than not.  It is not too late to let your feelings be known.  You can contact the Everett School Board and Superintendent Dr. Gary Cohn at 3900 Broadway, Everett, WA 98201, 425-385-4000.

The Everett School District plans to tear down historic Longfellow School. The area will increase parking by about 65 spaces. Historic Everett is aghast that this wonderful building will be replaced by asphalt and painted stripes!

 

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Sample Letter to send to Everett School Board and to the Superintendent of Everett Schools – Gary Cohn


Everett Public School District -Board of Directors
3900 Broadway
Everett, WA 98201
425-385-4000

December 5, 2016

Dear Everett School District Board of Directors
Mr. Gary Cohn, Superintendent

I am writing to voice my concern about the district’s plans to demolish the historic Longfellow School in the Port Gardner Neighborhood. The building is over a hundred years old and has inherent value in our community, being the place where generations have been educated as well as having historical architecture. To tear it down simply because the school doesn’t want it would be wrong.

The district’s inability to sell Longfellow in recent years and expense in maintaining it does not warrant the demolition of the edifice. This section of the Port Gardener – Longfellow Neighborhood does not need additional parking. Save the Longfellow School. Myself and many concerned citizens strongly believe that this place belongs in our community indefinitely and it identifies our neighborhood, a parking lot does not! Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

[Name]
[Address]
[Phone]

Longfellow School, built 1911.

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