On May 21 and 22, 2009, Franklin alumni, students, and friends gathered to celebrate Franklin's centennial. There was an Alumni-Friends Reception and an assembly. Both events offered speeches by people with memories of Franklin. They are oral histories. The following paragraphs are those histories.
A Few More Memories From The 1926-36 Period
By Bill Counsell at Franklin's 100th Anniversary, Class of 1936
Elements of this letter were presented at the Alumni-Friends Reception on May 21, 2009
My family lived at 2028 E. 15th Avenue which was the last house in the block (still there) and there were no houses in the 2100 block. Fifteenth ended at Crestline. East Girard Place now extends from there to Cook. A long treeless area about a block wide ran north along Crestline--we called it "The Meadow." East of there to the school was "The Woods." Through the meadow and the woods was the shortcut to school. There was a small grocery store on 16th at about Hogan. Most weekday shopping was done at the business area on Perry which still looks pretty much the same. We pulled a wagon (or sled) and walked. Main shopping (groceries and dry goods) was done on Saturday. Going to and from town on the electric streetcar (The Lincoln Park Line). As a special treat on some Sunday afternoons (late) I was sent on the streetcar- 4 cent student fare each way--to buy 4 Coney Island hot dogs at Georges on Sprague Avenue. They were 2 for 15cents. I returned home on the next streetcar southbound. Dad got 2 hot dogs and mom and I one each.
In the summer we played at Lincoln Park and learned to swim (self taught) in the one foot of water in the wading pool at the west end of the park. We pitched horseshoes and played mumbly peg. We threw steel shoes and tossed our jackknives to stick in the grass--lived though it!
Miss Sporber and Miss Ogalvie traded classrooms at times as Miss Sporber taught music to 8th and 7th graders and Miss Ogalvie taught penmanship to both classes. When I was in 7th grade my voice started changing and I was suddenly a bass. Miss Sporber had a good 8th grade singing group, but was short on basses--sooo I would get to go sing with 8th graders once in a while and skip penmanship-- that's why I print. In the summer of 1936 Miss Sporber hired Ted Green and me to paint the fence at the house where she and Miss Nelson (also a teacher) lived. It was on 13th, I think. As special reward for doing a good job the ladies took us in Miss Nelson's car to see where they were building Grand Coulee Dam. We even got to eat lunch in the mess hall where all the workers ate. It was served family style. It was such a special treat-- I seldom got to ride in a car.
Looking back I now can see and appreciate all that the wonderful, dedicated ladies who taught at Franklin did for all of us kids, many of whom came from poor families as it was the depths of the Great Depression.
Brian, hope this is of interest. As you know I do enjoy reminiscing-- guess it goes with the ego!
Tales from Franklin School
By Wendy Hinckle (Heath) Class of 1963.
Presented at the Centennial Assembly, May 22, 2009.
Wendy Hinckle (Heath) on left with friend, Camille Erickson
I am delighted to be here today. I taught school in Ellensburg for 31 years, so it is a joy to see so many students and staff members here. How exciting that we have come together to celebrate Franklin School's centennial!
When I came to Franklin School in the fifth grade, I already had a dream of becoming a teacher. My grandfather and mother were teachers, and I wanted to do the same. I loved learning, and the Franklin teachers gave me an excellent education. I am so thankful that my parents and I moved to this neighborhood. Now I'd like to share some tales of when I was at Franklin School fifty years ago.
Our classrooms looked very old, since we were in the main part of the school. We had desks that had black iron sides and were bolted to the floor. The seats and desktops were made of wood. The seats could be put up or down. There was a hole in the upper right corner of the desk to put a pot of ink in. Luckily we used pencils and pens, so we didn't have to use those. In the past, girls' braids used to be dipped into the ink by the naughty children behind them. The desks could not be moved around the room like desks today. We all sat in straight rows facing the teacher. If we wanted to work in groups, we had to sit on the floor or go out in the hall.
You are probably wondering how the boys and girls dressed fifty years ago. We dressed more formally than you do today. Girls wore dresses or skirts and blouses. This type of clothing made it hard to play at recess. The full skirts also made it terrifying to go down the iron mesh fire escapes that are on the outside of the building. Our skirts would drag on the stair step behind us, then other students would step on them, and we'd pitch forward holding on for dear life to the railing. Girls were lucky enough to wear pants or shorts for field days and some physical education classes. Boys usually wore dress pants or jeans. Often they would wear short or long sleeved cotton shirts. If they wore a T-shirt, they didn't have drawings or words on them like the ones you wear today. Many of them were striped. All their shirts would be tucked in and their pants belted.
Fifty years ago we had little of the technology that you have today. Our school television sets were black and white. About the only time we used television set was to see a German teacher named Frau Tupper. I believe that we watched her everyday for 15 minutes. She would say, "Guten Morgen Klasse", and we would say, "Guten Morgan, Frau Tupper." She would point to objects and say their names in German, and we would repeat them. I think the program lasted one year. The show was quite dull, and I don't think many of us learned much German although I did study it in high school. Our class had no computers, DVD players, document cameras or VCRs. We played records on phonographs. We did have films on small or large reels. The film was so hard to thread into the projector that it often took the teacher a long time to get it ready. The films would be projected on a screen, and the projector made a clicking sound as it played. We also had filmstrips that showed us pictures one at a time. The pictures would have writing below, and we’d take turns reading them. We always thought films and filmstrips were a treat. Transistor radios were popular, because they did not use electricity from the wall. The World Series baseball games were broadcast during the school day, and a lot of boys tried to sneak the radios into the school, so they could listen to the games. This was against the rules. If they were caught, they were in big trouble. Of course we only had landline phones and no text messaging. Some students would pass notes in class to communicate with each other. Of course this was a no-no. Sometimes the teacher would read aloud the notes she intercepted in class. Whoaaa! Busted and embarrassed!
School lunch was not always a pleasant experience for me. The cafeteria rule was that all food had to be eaten. I could not stand the disgusting, slimy canned spinach that they served. I had my own form of sit-in. I refused to eat it and just sat there. I was often the last person left in the cafeteria, so the custodians finally had to dismiss me in order to put the tables away and mop the floor. I don't know how the other kids managed to gag that stuff down. Maybe they hid it in their napkins, and I wasn't smart enough to think of that.
Franklin was a great place to go to school as long as you didn't get in trouble. Mr. Hardin, the principal, had a collection of paddles and wasn’t afraid to use them. I believe that boys were on the receiving end of most of the swats. The offender would have to bend over and grab his/her ankles and "Bam!" a swat was delivered to the rear end. Ouch! I don't know if one swat was enough. I don't think many of the receivers wanted to share the details, although we could tell when a person had a hard time sitting after a visit to the office. One could get paddled for such things as fighting, vandalism or being disrespectful to a teacher. I am sure there were other offenses that he thought merited a paddling. Rulers were used by the teachers to hit the backs of hands or other body parts. One teacher would hit kids with her cane if their feet were in the aisles, or she didn't like their behavior. She terrified me. Fortunately I never got in trouble in her class. I did feel bad for the children who were whacked or swatted. Children are lucky today because hitting a child is now against the law and consequences work a lot better.
Franklin's next principal was Miss Margaret Tully. She was a no nonsense woman. I had never had a female principal, so I didn't know what to expect. The biggest thing I remember about her was when she walked into the boys' bathroom, because some boys were misbehaving. My friends and I were absolutely shocked that a woman would do such a thing. I don't know what the boys thought about her surprise visit.
I usually was a very well behaved child. Would you like to hear about the time I did something very naughty? In sixth grade, a boy stood up in front of the class and read a poem he had written about me. He said very mean things about me, and I am sure everyone in the class knew it was I. I won't share what he said, but I still remember the exact hurtful words. As I sat in my seat I felt so embarrassed and angry. I am sure my face turned red. After school, my friend Alice and I made a plan. She had a small metal lunch pail that was the perfect size. At the end of the day, we rushed out of school and ran to the house at the end of the block. We hid in the bushes and waited. Soon the boy came walking by. Just as he passed, I jumped out and clobbered him on top of his head with the pail. He ran crying down the street. He never said another unkind word to me, and I never physically hurt anyone again. When this incident happened, we did not have training in how to handle problems with another person. What I did was not okay. Students today are taught in school how to use words instead of hurting someone. I hope all of you will remember to use words to solve problems instead of what I did.
When I went to Franklin School, there were grades kindergarten through eighth grade. The eighth graders in my 1962-1963 class were in a large wooden building next to the main school. Now there is a parking lot where it used to be. Many of the students in the Spokane Public Schools went to junior high schools. Franklin was one of the few schools to have K-8. In order to have home economics and wood shop, we were bussed to Libby Junior High. Unlike today when girls and boys can take the same classes, the girls learned to cook and sew and the boys learned how to do wood projects. It was uncomfortable going to Libby Jr. High, because we didn't know any of the students there, and they stared at us.
While I attended Franklin in 1962, something very scary happened. The Cuban Missile Crisis was a frightening time in American history. Missiles were being constructed on an island called Cuba about 90 miles from Florida. Americans were terrified that the nuclear missiles would be launched and blow up many parts of our country. At Franklin we practiced air raid drills. An alarm would sound and we would go out in the hall and squat next to the wall with our hands on our necks and heads. I started having nightmares because I was so scared. The entire country was relieved when the missiles were removed from Cuba. You'll probably study the Cuban Missile Crisis in your high school history class, which will be good because I have left out a lot of important information.
Now I will share a happier time. The parent group helped to raise money for the school. They put on a production called the Franklin Follies. I am not sure how many years they lasted, but I do know that my father participated in one. Can you imagine the embarrassment I had seeing my father up on stage singing "Down By the Old Millstream" dressed in a cave man outfit? His hairy chest and legs were showing, and he wore an imitation spotted animal skin. Yikes! He looked like Fred Flintstone.
The most fun I had at Franklin was on Friday nights. The fifth grade teacher, Omar McCarty, held dances for the 7th and 8th graders. The gym was filled with sweaty pre-teens square dancing, doing the Virginia Reel and my favorite "The Salty Dog Rag". We would dance for two hours without stopping. Throughout the evening we changed partners, so we had a chance to dance with everyone. It was especially thrilling to be able to spend a few minutes with a boy who I thought was cute.
Before I close, I want to share some of the history and culture that happened during my Franklin years. John F. Kennedy was elected president in 1960, and my sixth grade class watched his inauguration on televison on January 20,1961. I was so excited to have such a young and inspiring president. Next Alan Shepard, Jr. was the first American in space in 1961. His flight lasted 15 minutes and 28 seconds. Much later his spacecraft came to Spokane and thousands of people went to see it. Now when the space shuttle goes into space for many days, most of us don't think it is remarkable.
Here are some songs that were popular fifty years ago. How do they sound compared to the songs that you listen to? "Pink Shoe Laces," "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," "Alvin's Harmonica," and "Kookie, Kookie Lend Me Your Comb."
Some of the television programs were "Howdy Doody," "Bozo the Clown", "Bonanza," and "Leave It to Beaver" which can still be seen on television. I'll always love The Beav.
There is so much more to say about the special memories I have about this great school, but it is time to finish. I hope that I have helped you visualize what life was like at Franklin School fifty years ago. I wish you much happiness and success as you continue through your school years. Remember to dream big. Thank you for including me in this special centennial celebration. Happy 100th birthday, Franklin School!
Recollections of a Franklin Student
By Bob Mosher at Franklin's 100th Anniversary, Class of 1954
Presented at the Alumni-Friends Reception May 21, 2009
I am Bob Mosher from the class of 1954. My brother Ray is also here-he is from the class of 1957. We both attended Franklin from kindergarten through the eighth grade.
We have an additional tie to Franklin as our uncle, Harry Bates, also attended Franklin. Only it was the original Franklin located down near Front and Sherman streets. When that building was closed in 1909, he transferred to the Webster school, and then moved on to North Central High School. If he were living today, he would be 107 years old.
I have many memories of Franklin. I have one fleeting recollection of my first principal, Mr. Lewis Stevens, when I was in kindergarten. There were several first graders giving me and a couple of other kindergarteners a hard time. Mr. Stevens intervened and resolved the problem on the spot. The principal for my remaining eight years was Mr. Walter Wildey. Both these gentlemen left me with no doubt that they were in charge.
Mr. Wildey was a nice guy, and a really good man... until you broke his rules. I did that at least once, and received two or three hacks on my behind for my trouble. One of my "crimes" was throwing snowballs from the north end of the middle playground down to the lower playground. Throwing snowballs at other students was okay, but not between playgrounds.
In my earliest years, one either walked to school, rode their bicycle, rode the city bus, or hitched a ride with parents. You also brought your own lunch or went home for lunch. A hot lunch program was first offered around the time I was in the 4th grade. I believe a cafeteria lunch back then cost students $1.25 per week. We ate lots of chili and Waldorf salad.
I have recollections of most of my teachers [see Oral-Written History Section of this site]. Of particular note was my eighth grade teacher, Mr. Gerald Saling. Back then he had recently been discharged from the Navy and he told us about many of his experiences in Western Pacific near China. He went on to become a principal at another elementary school, acquired a Ph.D, was the president at one of the local community colleges, and then went on to be a state legislator. Mr. Saling passed away last year.
I was surprised when Brian Shute told me that our current principal's name is Mickey Hanson, because I attended school here with a Mickey Hanson. However, he was a boy, and he was here from kindergarten through the third grade. He moved away after that. He lived at 17th and Mt. Vernon on the corner opposite the school.
We received a good education while we were here. This is where it all started. This is where we students began to assemble the building blocks of our respective futures. We continued this process in high school and beyond. One of my classmates became a clergyman, several more became teachers, one made a career in law enforcement, several more were in health care. My brother became an electrical engineer. I was in manufacturing materials management.
What we learned here at Franklin is what got the educational and career processes started for all of us. This school has an enduring tradition of solid education that I am sure is being continued to this day.
Thank you for your time and attention.
Eight Wonderful Years at Franklin
By Diane Wynne Alfano Class of 1962
Presented at the Alumni-Friends Reception May 21, 2009
First of all I want to thank Brian Shute for all that he has done to create this memorable evening for all of us Franklin "Giants" and Falcons. Thank you so much, Brian!!!
I remember my first conversation with him after hearing about the anniversary from my dad. I knew this was one event I couldn't miss. One of those "once in a lifetime" opportunities that one couldn't pass up as it would never come again. My flight from Phoenix was booked within an hour of our conversation.
I think back at my eight years at Franklin and have nothing but fond memories. We had moved into the home my dad built the summer before my year as a first grader so I was not only new to Franklin but new to the "south side" of town. The wing where my 1st grade classroom was housed had been recently added to the main building. I delighted in everything about going to school as I hadn't gone to kindergarten or preschool. Mrs. Neiswender made everything we did so fun and interesting. One memory I have, that I wish hadn't happened, took place at the drinking fountain outside the office. There was a brass ball that the water came up through. My new best friend, Cindy Pratt, thought it would be fun to push my head down to get my face wet while I was drinking. Well, it got wet and the corner of my tooth also broke off. I "wore" that chipped tooth for many years. We did remain friends.
Mr. Hardin was our principal. We all loved him. Back then it was a rule in the district that a principal couldn't be at a building longer than 7 years, so after 7th grade we sadly said good-bye to him and greeted Miss Tully for our final year.
Then it was on to 2nd grade. Oh my gosh! When I got to school that first day and saw my teacher, Miss Danielson, I was in love. She was tall, young and beautiful. It was during that year that I decided I wanted to be a teacher, just like her! Which I did, for 33 years, and loved every minute of my job as much as I loved being in her class. Oh, and she had a red MG convertible sports car on top of that. It just so happened that she drove past my house every morning on her way to school. I'll never forget the day when I was walking up the street just as she drove by. She stopped and asked if I wanted a ride to school. I was in heaven! Well, I'm sure you can guess what I did from that day on. I had a new goal in life - see how often I could time my walk to school with Miss Danielson's drive up Ray Street.
Also in the new building, besides the gym/lunch room, was the library and teachers' lounge. In those days teachers were allowed to smoke in the building so there was always a smoky smell coming from that part of the building. I never have smoked and always wonder if that had any influence on my decision! In the hallways in the basement as well as in the gym were held many carnivals. That was the highlight of the year. Prior to that the Franklin Follies were held in the old auditorium on the east side of the school. It had a stage with maroon colored curtains. We used to play co-ed volleyball and have dances there. Metal grates covered the windows to protect them. This later became Mr. Hamilton's 7th & 8th English classroom. I'll never forget sitting there in 8th grade watching John Glenn be the first man to orbit the earth.
Since we didn't have facilities for Home-Ec and Shop, the 7th graders were bussed to Lincoln School and the 8th graders to Libby Junior High. I remember making aprons that we put on a plastic hoop that we could pry open to put on. Then there were those ugly blouses we made and never wore again! The boys took shop classes - no co-ed Life Skills in those days.
The 3rd & 4th grades were in the portables, with the 5th through 8th grades in the main building. In order to prepare us for high school, we moved from class to class for our core subjects in 7th & 8th grade. Miss Ogilvie taught social studies, Mrs. Morgan science, Mr. Hamilton English and Mr. McCarty math, if my memory is right. Miss Ogilvie was, in those days, what you would call an "old maid", older and never been married. She had a brace on her leg, possibly from polio (we never really knew) and was quite stern. I often stayed after school or came early to help her with whatever she needed to be done. I respected her ability to teach and her knowledge of what she taught. We had a great time in our junior high "upstairs." The building was heated with steam radiators so our classes were often interrupted with the clanging sound characteristic to them. As a teacher the one thing I would like to have had in my classroom that I had as a student would be the desks. All in a row attached to each other and nailed to the floor - no tipping back or moving around. They are collectibles now!
Though nothing compares to my MG rides from Miss Danielson, there are many things that also stand out in my mind about my years at Franklin. Back in my day the girls weren't allowed to wear pants to school. So in the winter we would wear pants under our skirts or dresses for our cold walk to school, then have to take them off as soon as we got to school. My how times have changed! It was also on those cold days that they would set up ping pong tables in the basement for us to play before school and during recesses. This was also the only place in the old building where there were bathrooms. So if our class was on the second floor it was a real "trip" every time we needed to use the facilities.
Having a fire drill was another interesting experience. We had to go out the windows of each classroom onto a metal fire escape and walk carefully to the ground. Well, since the girls were in dresses you can imagine how tightly we kept those skirts twisted around our legs! Luckily we didn't have to go back up them.
My siblings and I almost always brought lunch from home or walked home to eat - unheard of in today's world. We had an hour for lunch so there was enough time for this. However, if chili and cinnamon rolls were being served, I begged my mom to let me take hot lunch. We also had to eat ALL of our lunch before we could go outside. Sometimes there were kids still sitting there when it was time to go back to class. There was also no free or reduced lunch - somehow everyone could afford it - and very little bussing of students to school. We either walked or our parents took us, which didn't happen very often!!
And then there were the dances in the gym/cafeteria after school on Friday. Mrs. Morgan and Mr. McCarty would be there playing the 45s so we could dance. The Salty Dog Rag (my personal favorite), Teton Mountain Stomp, Oh Johnny, were some of the dances we had learned in PE class. I can remember working up a good sweat many times. We also learned square dancing in PE and competed at the Coliseum, now Veterans Arena, in an all-city competition.
As we progressed through the years life didn't change much for us as students at Franklin. Kids weren't mixed up each year to pass on to the next grade. So if you had formed a friendship in the "other" class you could count on never having the same teacher.
Recess was always something we all looked forward to, not because we got a reprieve from the classroom, but because we got to go play tetherball or kickball. I became pretty good at tetherball (had convinced my dad to put a pole in our driveway so I had plenty of time to practice). The first two to the pole played a game and the winner went on to be challenged by the next person in line. On the other side of the playground where the kickball game always took place, teams were formed and the game began. It was 15 minutes of steady playing.
In PE we all had to wear white shorts and blouses which were kept in wire baskets in the locker room (so the sweaty clothes could "breathe"). These were taken home every Friday to be washed, ironed and returned on Monday. I loved PE except for the "group" shower we had to take after every class. Again, how times have changed.
Finally, I'll never forget our 8th grade graduation. The girls all wore white dresses, the guys had on shirts and ties, many of them even wore sports coats or suits. It was quite the formal affair and very respected. Some of us had corsages and boutonniers - it was an event we cherished.
I want to again thank Brian and the staff of Franklin for all they have done to make this anniversary celebration happen. I am so glad I am here and feel very honored to have walked these halls for eight years.
Brian Shute, Centennial Historian, Speech-Language Pathologist
Presented at the Centennial Assembly May 22, 2009
Good Afternoon. When I arrived here at Franklin School several years ago, I was immediately taken back by this old building. Mrs. Andrews was the first to take me around the campus, show me my office, and tell me about the place. Franklin has a story alright.
I was captured and captivated starting at that moment and I would argue that Franklin is no ordinary school. It has zeal, it has personality, it has heritage, it's got community, and it's got a fabulous story.
Back in the day, it was the Spokane School Board who hired architect, Loren Rand, to design Franklin and about a dozen other schools including the Old Lewis & Clark building. Loren Rand was a yesteryear architectural genius. He was known for his neo-classical designs found in First Presbyterian Church and the old Crescent Building. Those huge columns at Franklin's front entrance and the granite threshold are his brainchild. Many of his buildings have met the bulldozer, but not Franklin.
Materials to build the structure were brought here by horse and wagon on what was then a dirt road called 17th Avenue. That represents a lot of bricks, a lot of cement, a lot of basalt rock, a lot of wood and a lot of horse power. The people who built Franklin were old and new world craftsmen who had no clue what a Skill Saw was. Everything was cut using hand tools.
Franklin's personality shows up in the woodwork, the scrolled out staircase, and the wooden floors. It's personality comes through the way it is heated, complete with single pipe radiators that hiss, spit and emit a friendly warmth. Perhaps it's wavy glass windows, and the brick and mortar that makes up a very solid building.
But Franklin's personality is much more than just a physical structure. No ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. Franklin's personality comes from the tens of thousands of students who have received their early education here and have given back to the Lilac City... and beyond. Franklin's personality are the parents, teachers and principals who have made it happen. That personality is the current student body. That personality is each of you.
Franklin has always enjoyed a sense of community too. In the 1940s, Franklin was a hopping place. Attempts to have a Kindergarten took place in a cloak closet on the main floor and it spilled out into the hallways. This needed a change and the Franklin parents came together to raise money for what would become the Franklin Kinderhouse. Through dances, socials, skits, and card parties, the Franklin community helped raise the money that purchased the Kinderhouse on Mt. Vernon and the property behind it. In fact, Franklin dads built the early miniature furniture that was used inside. Gladys Hoagland-Knight was the early teacher who guided those early minds. Now it is Miriam Ritchey whose been here for a quarter century doing the same.
And there is the APPLE program that has incorporated parents into the learning experience.
And then there are the parent volunteers, the neighbors and a huge array of people who make this place a community of learning.
There were the students who, in 1985, folded 1000 origami cranes and sent them to President Reagan as part of the Million Cranes for Peace. Their message was clear: Peace.
There was Rhonda Langford, who in Mrs. Maddox's third grade, designed a Christmas Seal for the American Lung Association. Her design rose to the top and she was awarded by President Jimmy Carter in 1977.
Other stories such as these illustrate the strong community that makes up Franklin.
In 2004 the Department of Education recognized Franklin with the distinction of the Blue Ribbon Award.
And look at the people who have come out of Franklin. People like brothers Bob and Ray Mosher, Doug Clark, Wendy Hinckle, Randy Shaw, Dirk Kempthorne and many others. Look at the people to your right and to your left, we are all part of the Franklin community, and after 100 years, it's worth celebrating!
For the celebration, Dirk Kempthorne submitted this letter. It was read to the attendees by Mickey Hanson at the Alumni-Friends Reception on May 21, 2009.
Franklin School has always held a special spot in Kempthorn's memory and heart. He attributes his early education and success to Franklin. In 1999 he visited Franklin and submitted this photograph.