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A Hillyard history, piece by piece

Mon., Feb. 27, 2006

Tile by tile, the history of Hillyard unfolded Sunday morning at Shaw Middle School.

Art teachers and students have spent four years creating a tribute to the hard-working northeast Spokane neighborhood – a mural that spans the inside main entrance to the school on the 4100 block of North Cook Street.

It replaces a mosaic that first graced the outside of the school starting in 1969. That art project also was made by students.

But weather, including hot summer sun and blowing rain and snow, damaged it. The mosaic was removed in 1979.

“We’re just happy that we were able to re-create something like this,” said art teacher Dean Tyler-Babkirk.

Hundreds of students during the past several years have contributed to the project led by the Mural Club. Some helped design, some drew and painted, others helped fire more than 400 tiles in the mural.

On Sunday, about a half-dozen students got together and put it up for all to see. It will be formally dedicated Wednesday.

“It’s just fun to do,” said Mika Eden, a junior at Lewis and Clark High School who returned to help assemble the mural.

It features a pair of horses in a field as a nod to the name “Wild Horse Prairie,” given to the area by American Indians.

A scene depicting the fur trading history and salmon fishing follows. Moving along from left to right, the mural shows the Cataldo Mission and a soldier and bunkhouse representing Fort Spokane.

Shown next are railroad workers and a locomotive. The railroad was a major influence on the area. A building indicative of the architecture of Hillyard bears a symbolic Great Northern Railroad sign on the side.

The students also included Dr. Mary Latham in the mural. She was the first female doctor in Spokane.

A Pierce Arrow automobile symbolizes what once was Hillyard’s affluent past.

Last shown is an ethnically diverse group of Shaw students.

A jet airplane soars overhead to signal the influx of new immigrants.

“This has been a diverse area of Spokane from the start,” said art teacher Shelly Hallsted.

Completing the mural is a relief.

“We’re happy and very relieved we were able to make this happen this year,” she said.


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