The earliest predecessor to Spokane’s Lewis and Clark High School was a four-room, two-story schoolhouse called Central School, which opened in 1883.
The all-ages school filled quickly, and in 1890 Spokane voted to issue bonds to build a new high school on the site as well as four elementary schools. The new high school, which opened in 1891, was called Spokane High School. This also filled quickly, and in 1906 North Central High School was added. Spokane High School became known as South Central.
On June 21, 1910, fire broke out at South Central and the spectacular blaze gutted the entire structure, taking all the books and school equipment with it. Faced with the loss, school officials decided to double-shift the students at North Central for two years while building a new, bigger school at Fourth and Stevens.
Loren L. Rand designed the new building in the Collegiate Gothic style. Former President Theodore Roosevelt helped lay the cornerstone in April 1911, and Lewis and Clark High School opened in April 1912. The Hunter Field House was added in 1965.
Voters approved a bond issue for school improvements in 1998, and $27 million was earmarked for Lewis and Clark. The field house and adjacent administration building were demolished and the interior remodeled. It reopened in 2001 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
– Jesse Tinsley
1800s: Central School opened in 1883 at Fourth and Stevens. In 1891, this school was replaced with the large brick structure of Spokane High School. The wood building was moved to the corner of Fifth and Bernard and used as a private school.
Present day: Lewis and Clark High School opened in 1912 after the previous building, South Central High School, originally called Spokane High School, burned down in 1910.