Location: 325 Plymouth St NW

garfield school 1919Garfield School in 1919 (original location), State Library Photograph Collection, Digital Archives garfield nowGarfield School today (2012) photograph by
Matt Kennelly

According to Olympia School District historian Esther Knox, the first school near this location was the Westside school on Rogers Street, which served all children in West Olympia and was built in the 1880s. As the area grew, particularly after the platting of the Woodruff and other subdivisions, two other schools were established in West Olympia to serve the smaller children who had difficulty making it from the north end of West Olympia to the site on Plymouth Avenue. The name of the school was changed in the early 20th century to honor President James Garfield.

A new structure was erected in 1930 adjacent to the original structure, with a design by Joseph Wohleb very similar to the Lincoln School building erected about the same time. 

In a controversial move, the Olympia School District was permitted to demolish the historic Garfield school building in 1987 and replace it with the current building.

Additional links:

Photograph at above left, Digital Archives

History of Olympia School District, Esther Knox

Thurston Talk article, the Story of Olympia’s Garfield School

Copyright © 2022 Deborah Ross