History Of Everett Schools, From One Who's Been There

Larry O'Donnell has spent his life in the Everett School District.

He went to Jefferson Elementary School, South Junior High and Everett High School. Then he was a teacher and school administrator. Now he is the author of a wonderful book on the district's history.

The book is part of the district's centennial celebration.

Schools, always an important part of Everett's history, were in the area even before the city was incorporated in 1893.

It was Emma Yule who came to Everett to head up the first school. She was a very capable person and in many ways ahead of her time.

The first school was on Broadway near Hewitt Avenue. It was planned to be but a one-story building, then Everett founder Henry Hewitt suggested putting on a second story.

He figured right.

With area population booming, soon a second school was built in the north end of town. They called it Smelter School. It was primarily to serve the children of the workers at an ore refinery.

Another school, Lowell, was built for the children of the workers at the newly established pulp mill. For a long time, and before annexation, it was a separate little community.

All these things and more are in O'Donnell's book, "Everett Schools: the First 100 Years."

O'Donnell's book is delightful reading and covers the brief yet lively history of our schools, from wood chips to computer chips.

Many distinguished alumni are mentioned in the book's 160

pages: George Wilson, star of Everett High's mythical national championship football team; Henry "Scoop" Jackson, local son and U.S. senator; William Bolcom, Pulitzer Prize winner; Chuck Close, internationally recognized artist; and even Patrick Duffy, star of television's "Dallas."

O'Donnell went to many sources for his information. He pored over old school-district records and board minutes, most of which were written by hand in now-fragile journals. He combed photographic records and even private collections. Sometimes this took him to microfilm records of the old daily newspapers.

The artwork on the dust cover, by Bernie Webber, is a duplicate of a mural he did for the Everett district. Visible are the milkwagon that first delivered the small bottles of milk for hungry students, a good drawing of Emma Yule as first teacher, views of Jefferson School and Everett High. This mural hangs in administration headquarters.

Now a retired school administrator, O'Donnell has put in a great deal of time on this project. He takes us through the Depression, the turbulent '60s, and the astonishing growth of the system in the past 10 years.

The book is limited to 600 copies. It sells for $24.95, plus $2 for shipping and handling.

To order, contact O'Donnell at 3310 Grant Ave., Everett, WA 98201, or phone him at 252-4568.

"On the Main Line," Robert Humphrey's column about the history of South Snohomish County, appears occasionally in Snohomish Life.