Early Schools (5)

In early 1911 the superintendent approved a new school building  at the beach formerly known as Phinney, near the later location of the Jim John’s Resort. Construction began in Feb. School started on March 17, 1911 with Mrs. Amelia Fiske as teacher. It’s first term closed in late May. Sept 15, 1911 Miss Woodhouse was the teacher at the Beach School.

Switching to Mutiny Bay, on Dec. 30, 1911, N.E. Porter and Louisa A. Porter sell 4 acres to school district #10. This location was a bit further from the shore and east of the earlier Porter  deeded school. This was the final Mutiny Bay School and many still living went to that really nice schoolhouse. The first school session started Sept. 9, 1912 in their new schoolhouse.

At the Clinton area, the Island County Times Jan. 26, 1912 edition in the Clinton Brevities column, it says that the beach school is abandoned and Miss Woodhouse transferred to the Island school. Feb. 8, 1912 Superintendent approves plans for a new school house on the bluff above the brickyard at Clinton. Unable to find when they started building the Brickyard school but it was first visited by the school superintendent Oct. 31, 1912

Dec. 13, 1913 the state of Washington deeds 5 acres to school district #22 (Ingleside). This deed describes the present location of the Bailey’s store. I am presuming the last Ingleside schoolhouse which later became Bailey’s store, was constructed after this date, but in those days sometimes construction started before an actual deed was in hand.

“May 29, 1914 Mary W. Reynolds and G.P Reynolds her husband, the grandparents of Fred Frei Sr. sold 5 acres in Langley to district #202.” This is where the present buildings are located.

June 4, 1914 Alfred B Simmons and Bell Simmons his wife sold 5 acres to school district # 202 formerly school dist. #11.  This was where the last Deer Lake School was located Aug. 18, 1915 Schoolhouse plans approved for Intervale school.  The date 1915 was on the front of the school, not sure of the exact date school started. First visit of school supt. Apr. 18, 1916, Final Deer Lake school completed before Dec. 31, 1915 according  to the Dec. 31, 1915 edition of the Island Co. Times.

Going back to Langley, according to Vol. II of South Whidbey and Its People grade 9 to 11 were taught in a large house at the  corner of Anthes and 2nd street prior to 1916. In 1915 a large frame schoolhouse was completed on the property acquired from the Reynolds. This housed all 12 grades for a time. This was the only place on South Whidbey that had a high school at this time. School began in this new building in Jan. 1916.  Last mentioned visit Freeland school by the superintendent  was Nov. 14, 1917

Last mentioned visit to Woodland school by the school superintendent was Feb. 18, 1918.

One report says a gym was built in Langley in 1920, however the Is. Co. Times Oct. 28 edition says “new gym to be built at Langley 1921. The annex building was there in the early 1920s according to reports of people still living.  i.

The Brickyard or Scenic Heights school closed for good at the end of the term in 1921. They went to the large Deer Lake School.  As near as can be determined, the Saratoga school closed down at the end of the term in the spring of 1930.

I have been unable to find any new buildings or closures until the year 1932 when in Oct. the Deer Lake school burned down. On Nov. 18, 1932 Andrew and Minnie Orvick deeded all of block 6 plat of Clinton to district #202. While the school was being built her the pupils met in a meat market close by which in turn burned down. On April 28, 1933 the new school house at Clinton was dedicated.

June 12, 1934 – Jeff W. Lyston deeded additional land north and west of the land deeded by the Reynolds several years earlier.  This gave the Langley school site a fair bit of additional area.  Also in 1934 the need was seen for a separate building for high school. It had been hoped that it would be completed in time for the class of “35″ to have their graduation exercises in it but that didn’t happen.

In 1935 at the end of their school term in May, Clinton, Ingleside and Intervale schools closed down for good. They all went to the Langley school in Sept. 1935.  Newspaper articles or school records confirm that Bayview and Mutiny Bay were the only South Whidbey schools not attending Langley. With the lower 8 grades in the wooden frame building and the high school in the new brick building there seemed to be ample room until it was decided Bayview and Mutiny schools should also shut down and come to Langley.

With the completion of the 1939-40 school year the old wooden frame school building built in 1915 at Langley was torn down and a new brick building was built. At the start of the next school year in Sept. 1940, grades 1,2, and 3 had classes in what was called the annex. Grades 4 and 5 occupied what was called “the cottage” in the NW corner of the school grounds. Grades 6,7 and 8 had their classes in the Island County Fair building.

Aug. 6, 1941 Bayview district #8 and Mutiny Bay district #10 were finally consolidated on paper at least, with Langley. The number changed from #202 to #206. However both schools stayed put.  The following Sept. 1942 the new brick building was not quite ready so we went for about 2 or 3 weeks in the previous terms locations. I couldn’t seem to find the exact date we moved into the new building. The desks, etc were delayed by the war.  I was one of those that went to school in the cottage. Sept. 1942 when Bayview students came to Langley, many of the Bayview parents and students were unhappy having to abandon their old school.

It was not until the next school term, Sept. 1943 that Mutiny Bay students finally came to Langley. The June 3, 1943 Whidbey Record has an article “80 enjoy picnic as school closes at Mutiny Bay.” I will also add this quote from the article “It was with understandable regret that many viewed the finality of the occasion since the rural school has been the community and cultural center of the neighborhood since the first settling of the district.”

The gym at Langley burned in Oct. 1943 and scorched some of the new school building and destroyed some windows, but they were fixed quickly.(Editors Note: According to Norma (Grant) Metcalf she recalls her parents saying that some Army boys from Ft Casey had used the gym and left the wood burning stove going when they left and that was the reason the gym caught fire.)

So ends this rambling account of the early schools on South Whidbey. There may be a few dates that some old timers may question but I believe they are all backed up with written accounts either in the school records, the old newspapers, or history books, however newspapers and histories do make mistakes. I would appreciate anyone’s comments on dates or events that they know to be in error. None of us were alive when the first schools started and I don’t go back as far as some of you do out there.