Mon., Oct. 3, 2016
Houston School for Boys a familiar foe to Spokane schools in early 1900s
North Central’s first football game was in October of 1908. Its opponent that fall day was the Episcopalian Houston School For Boys. NC’s roster was made up of inexperienced underclassmen. The result was a 5-5 tie.
Houston School was an active athletic opponent for local teams in the early twentieth century. Dean Richmond Babbitt established the school as St. John’s in 1896, succeeding the old Rodney Morris School for Boys. It later became St. Stephen’s, before becoming Houston School in 1904.
In 1908 the school had 175 boarders and a number of day students from the community. Eventually, 40 acres were purchased near 12th and Jefferson, with some of the acreage overlooking Hangman Creek. Thirteen acres were set aside for an athletic field. In 1914 three new buildings were proposed for the school at a cost of $75.000 to $100,000.
Houston actively participated in sports, not only against North Central, but South Central, and later Lewis and Clark. Against the larger schools it generally competed against second teams. Houston often scheduled smaller high schools such as Vera, Hillyard, Cheney, Colville and St. John’s. It also took the field against Spokane College and Gonzaga University junior varsities.
In 1916, a new floor for the gym was put down in anticipation of the upcoming basketball season. As it turned out, it wasn’t to get much use. In September of 1917, Bishop Herman Page announced the school would be suspended indefinitely as “so few boys appeared” for the new school year. It never operated again.
In 1931, some of the acreage was donated to the city. As the years went by most of the site became residential housing.
The Houston School is all but forgotten today, but in the early 1900’s, it was a familiar foe to many Spokane area schools.