If you build it…

IMG_8448It was hardly a year old when they realized that the new school wasn’t big enough. Constructed in 1949 with just eleven classrooms, offices, and an assembly hall, C.E. Mason Elementary School found itself not quite able to accommodate the postwar expansion that had prompted its creation and swelled the population of Beaverton from in the late 1940s to the early 1950s.

In 1950 a library and another seven classrooms joined the original construction, perched a bit higher on the incline north of the original building, high enough to provide students for the past sixty eight years with a ramp to climb on the way from the main office to the northernmost classrooms.

main hallwayBuilders added a play structure north of the assembly room in the early 1950s, which stood until replaced with our familiar Quonset Hut in 1958. To the west of the extended wing of classrooms students played in a courtyard looked out at through walls of windows, a temptation for flying rubber balls in the 1950s as much as those same windows are today.

Inside the building, a team of educators greeted students with the energy always present in a new school. Principal Esther Peer, whose alma mater Oregon Normal School (now Western Oregon University) now has a scholarship named after her, was the first administrator in the building. She oversaw eleven teachers when C.E. Mason opened its doors in the fall of 1949, and presided over the hiring of a few more as the school grew.

CE Mason OpensAround C.E. Mason Elementary Beaverton exploded with growth as well. Highways, neighborhoods, businesses, the history of Beaverton, Oregon is one of great postwar boom.

And as town grew, students in the 1950s, wearing skirts, slacks, and button down shirts, poured into the school to learn the three Rs …and a little art and music too. C.E. Mason alum remember the bright classrooms, both stern and kind teachers, and a sense of fun.

Then, after 8th grade, C.E. Masonites trooped across town to Beaverton High School, and later Sunset High, taking with them memories of Miss Moshofsky’s arts and crafts class, Mr. Gillmore’s band, and the cafeteria downstairs. Life at C.E. Mason prepared them for the greater world beyond the rounded entryway at the top of the front steps of their little school.

You can see living memories of the original C.E. Mason building in its current incarnation: a wooden door here, a fixture there, the assembly room’s wooden floor beneath the carpeting of today’s library.

Most schools have only one chance at the wild energy of the opening years; this campus will have at least three. And looking back through the fog of time it’s clear to see that the foundation on which so much history has been built is solid, and the notion that our school is always outgrowing itself is ever present.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s