History from the pages of the Forks Forum Aug. 4, 1977

  • Thu Jul 30th, 2015 10:38pm
  • Life

Clallam Bay School.

Historic Clallam Bay School to go

The old Clallam Bay School will be torn down this summer to make way for new shop, music, art and physical education facilities. The decision was made Monday night by the Cape Flattery School Board. Herb Balch, vocational instructor at Clallam Bay offered to tear down the building for little or nothing, but Superintendent Marvin Lam said the job must go up for bid.

Many students passed through those historic halls

Clallam Bay School will soon be a thing of the past, with its demise will go a historic landmark of the county.

The enormous wood-framed building had a humble beginning in 1917. Two rooms were constructed to house the children of East Clallam, as it was then known. The main town was Sekiu, with loggers moving in to take out trees on the recently constructed railway near it. The little school in the sea port held nine grades taught by one teacher Hazel Murray.

Miss Murray came to Clallam Bay in 1900, went away to school at Port Angeles, then Reed College.

The spunky little lady, 5 feet tall and weighing 95 pounds, returned in 1912 with her teaching certificate. The first part of the school was soon accommodating her and approximately 50 students.

The parents not only were loggers, there was a sawmill on the beach, providing lumber to sailing ships in the bay. Miss Murray left for a period of time, returning with more training to become the Principal of Clallam Bay School. She spent the next 29 years at that job.

The school grew, as the town did. In 1927 the auditorium, gym and library were added, as well as another classroom. In those days, Clallam Bay was connected by road to Sappho. Any other travel was by canoe, dugout, or horseback. Clallam Bay had a livery stable for travelers, too.

By 1932, the students were growing up, and a high school annex was added. The school became fully accredited. The great white building overlooking the town sheltered students and townsfolk through the years.

Miss Murray continued her position as principal until 1950 when she retired. Glen Willison then became principal, but Miss Murray continued to teach.

Time has taken its toll on the old school. The exterior still looks good, thanks to the excellent care it received. The inside, however is sadly falling apart.

With new building codes, it became cheaper to build a new building than fix the old one. A new complex was built some time ago, and now the main building must come down to make way for more new facilities.