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Jim Kershner’s This day in history

Fri., Oct. 8, 2010, midnight

From our archives, 100 years ago

A crowd at a mass meeting in Spokane expressed furious indignation at the school board’s proposed plan for rebuilding South Central High School, which had burned down in June 1910.

The design called for reusing the three remaining walls and the partially ruined tower. Citizens were appalled at the idea of using these dangerously fire-weakened walls and bricks.

But the complaints didn’t stop there. People also protested the lack of light in the new classrooms; the old-fashioned “Romanesque” design; and the susceptibility of the new building to another fire.

“If it is to be used by my daughter, who is to be injured by this patchwork building, I would rather pay the $45,000 or $50,000 myself than make this saving of expense and run the risk,” said one man.

The most damning statement came from the architect’s draftsman. He said he drew up the plans under protest and decided to resign rather than be associated with this “proposed architectural monstrosity.”

That winter, citizens passed a $500,000 bond issue to tear down the damaged school and replace it entirely. After numerous delays, the school would finally open in 1912, with a new design and a new name, Lewis and Clark High School.

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