About us

3615 SE 174th Ave.
Portland, OR 97236
Phone: (503) 762-3204
Fax: (503) 762-3244

Principal: Andrea Sande
Secretaries: Cheryl Bratcher, Corinna Jobe

A History of Lynch Schools

This is a reprint of the booklet produced by the Civic Leadership Class of 1964:

The name "Lynch School" dates back to 1900 when a one room school was built on the present site of the Lynch School at S.E. 162nd Avenue and Division Street, but school history extends back twenty-two years before the turn of the twentieth century.

The first school in the area was the Elliott Prairie School built in 1878 on the old Elliott place near Section Line Road (now Division) and Laurel (now S.E. 157). Two of the directors were Alonzo Gates and Mr. Kronenberg; the teacher was Jane Right. Pupils attending the Elliott Prairie School included Lillie, Anna, and Alonzo Gates Jr., Martin, Helen, and Carrie Kronenberg, Ed Camp, Jim Dickson, Tom Vance, Billie Reams, Fanny Winters, and Arthur Grant.

On March 13, 1900, Patrick and Catherine Lynch donated one acre of ground located at Section Line Road (Division) and Barker Road (162nd Ave.) on which was built a new one room school pictured on the front of this booklet.

This is the origin of the name "Lynch." The Lynch farm originally consisted of 160.3 acres granted to Patrick and Catherine Lynch on August 1, 1874, under the Homestead Act passed by Congress in 1862. The original deed granted the land to the Lynch family and was signed by Ulysses S. Grant, President of the United States. Although the property included land on both sides of Section Line Road, the farm home was located across Division Street in the vicinity of The Hut, a restaurant now situated at 167th and Division.

The deed to the property donated to the Lynch School District in 1900 describes the location of the survey markers marking the boundary of the property as being located three inches below the wheel ruts in the adjoining roads. The stone markers had chiseled grooves on the top side for identification purposes. The stone marking the corner of the property at S.E. Division 10" x 15" x 22" set flat side down 3" below surface of gravel in the north wheel rut of graveled Section Line Road and tamped firmly in place".

The "Buckley School" located at Buckley Avenue and Section Line Road (122nd and Division) is reported to have been built about the same time as the original one room Lynch School. For a time, students walked to the Lynch School from as far away as S.E. 122nd. When the Buckley School was built, the boundary between the two districts was established on the present boundary between Lynch and the David Douglas districts.

The area around the Lynch School was entirely devoted to agriculture in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The principal crops were potatoes, grain, raspberries, strawberries, and hay for feeding to livestock. Grain and other farm products were shipped to market on the Western Pacific Railroad located south of Powell. Threshing was a community undertaking and many boys missed school because they were needed at harvest time. Usually, a steam operated threshing machine would thresh all the grain in the vicinity. All the neighbors would "pitch in" and help each other thresh their grain. Many of the residents kept large flocks of chickens. The prevalence of coyotes was always a problem to the chicken raisers. Every farm had cows for beef and milk. With the rapid growth of Portland, dairying became important. The largest dairy herds in the community included those owned by the Zenger family and the present and past owners of the Meadowland Dairy-the Wilsons, Middletons, and Andereggs.

The original one room Lynch School which started with fifteen to twenty students increased in number until in 1914 there were about fifty students in the one room school. Some say there were as many as sixty for the one and only teacher. Some of the former students of those "good old days" say that the only way the teacher could handle all eight grades was to divide up her time so each class had a recitation period. She would start in the morning with the first grade, and would by afternoon, finally get around to the eighth grade. Meanwhile, the rest of the classes were working on assigned work. Of course, some activities and classes were jointly carried on together, such as music, writing practice, and practicing for school plays. In 1915 a large multiple purpose room, which served as an auditorium and meeting place for community functions was built onto the existing one room school. Folding doors were extended during the day making it into two classrooms giving the school a grand total of three rooms.

The one room school featured an old fashioned pot-bellied stove. When the east wind blew, it was necessary for the children to all gather around the stove to keep warm. Old time residents of the community say that the winters used to be much colder than they are now, with more snow and east wind. Some of the boys who attended the school had the responsibility of chopping the wood for the stove. They also helped fill the basement with wood during the summer for the following school year. A furnace was installed in the basement of the 1915 addition.

When snow used to be more prevalent, Wilson's Butte, now known as Anderegg's
Hill above Meadowland Dairy, was a common gathering place for skiing. Many parents would get together and dig paths through the drifts so their children could walk to school. The two most common reasons for missing school were inclement weather and harvest time.

The Lynch P.T.A. was first organized in 1917 and undertook as its main project, the serving of hot soup and chocolate at lunch time. Residents who remember those days, say it was prepared at the W.B. Steel home where the Big Dollar Shopping Center is now located. Several of the boys would be asked to go over and carry back the kettles of soup and cocoa along with a pail or two of water before lunch.

There was no running water or electricity until at least 1924 or 1925. Water for washing and drinking was obtained from the old W.B. Steel place mentioned in the preceding paragraph, where there was a windmill. The children shared a common water dipper. Kerosene lamps were the only source of light for many years. A well as put down at the time the 1915 addition was built which had a hand pump. A stove was later installed in the basement to make soup and hot chocolate.

As the community grew and time passed, more and more modern conveniences began to make their debut. The first crank-type telephone made its appearance at the home of the Zenger family located near Barker Avenue and Powell Valley Road. Until more phones were installed, the Zenger home became a community message relay center. The Zengers also were the proud possessors of one of the community's first automobiles about 1915.

The first stores in the community were Metzgers General Store in Gresham, the General Store in Rockwood owned by Mr. Bell, and the Dissmore Store located on the site where the Richfield service station is across from the Lynch School on S.E. 162nd Avenue. The Dissmore Store used to be McGreggor's Store prior to its sale to Mr. Dissmore. Shopping in downtown Portland involved a three-hour trip by trolley car either way.

The main means of transportation for school children until 1925 was walking. A few students who lived in the more remote corners of the district rode horses, which were stabled in a barn located where the bus shed is now. Each youngster who had a horse brought along a bag of hay and oats for his horse and had to feed his horse after eating his own lunch at noon. In 1925, the district acquired its first school bus.

During the 1920's the school's population continued to grow. The Lynch School anticipated the need for future expansion and purchased an additional 2.68 acres from John Lynch, one of Patrick Lynch's heirs, in 1922. People moving into the community from Portland and elsewhere were conscious of the good schools that existed in the city and wanted a school equal to or better than the ones they knew about, so in keeping with times and community growth, they built a new modern brick school, one of the first in east Multnomah County, in 1927 replacing the wooden frame structure built in 1900 and added onto in 1915. The new brick building built in 1927 had five rooms, a dome-covered gymnasium and a basement housing the furnace, cafeteria, lavatories, and storerooms.

Just prior to World War II, additional rooms were needed, so the rooms just north of the gym (now the library) were added. During World War II a population boom began to affect the Lynch district and it became necessary to add the present seventh and eighth grade wing along with the cafeteria, now located where the bus shed used to be. It was during this trying war period that half of the ceiling of the old gymnasium fell in. It fell in on a Saturday after being used for an assembly the previous day. Ladies counting ballots on election evening heard a creaking noise and thought it to be rats in the building. On Saturday the janitor discovered that half of the ceiling with all the wiring lying on the gym floor.

The circular dome has since been replaced with a flat roof. The additions built during World War II were only the beginning. After the war, the new gymnasium and the primary wing were erected. Future building sites in the district were purchased. In 1950 the teaching staff had increased to twenty-three and the enrollment was 527 students. In the fourteen years that have followed, the teaching staff has increased to 166 and the enrollment to nearly 3400.

Many obstacles have had to be overcome during this period of rapid growth that Lynch has experienced. There have been times when the population has increased faster than schools or new wings could be built. This was frustration to all concerned board members, administrators, teachers, parents and students, as classrooms had to be improvised. On one occasion the stage of the gym had to be used as a classroom while gym classes used the gym. Later the gym itself was divided with a partition and used for two additional classrooms. A basement room had to be converted into a classroom.

This most crucial period occurred prior to the completion of two additional wings to Lynch Park in 1956. Lynch Park's original wing was built in 1953, with the additions in 1954 and 1956. Lynch View was erected in 1957 and added onto in 1958. Lynch Wood was erected in 1959. Lynch Plaza was built in 1960 and in 1962 added another wing. Lynch Terrace, which houses the administrative offices, was built in 1962 and added onto in 1964. The area is still growing, so it is very possible that another school will be built in the near future.

The trying period of the mid-1950s when such rapid growth took place has given all people concerned foresight to plan better for the future. The only buildings where sufficient groundscape is available for future building are at Lynch Plaza and Lynch Terrace. Studies are now being made so that this space may be put to the best possible use.

We, the Civic Leadership Class under the instruction of Mr. Curtis Hoyle and administrative supervision of Mr. H.L. Hering at the Lynch Plaza School during the summer of 1964 wish to thank each of the following people for their assistance in supplying information for the writing of this booklet:

  • Mrs. Helen Kirk, who attended the Lynch School in 1915 when it was added onto. She is presently a teacher at Lynch. She is the fifth girl from the right in the picture taken on the occasion when Lynch became a "Standard" school. (Ribbon in hair)
  • Mr. Quinton Kummel, who attended the original one room school. He is shown third from the left in the one room school picture.
  • Mr. Walter Anderegg, owner of Meadowland Dairy.
  • Miss Elizabeth Canning, former teacher and principal of Lynch School from 1918 until 1950.
  • Mr. William Hornicker, who used to farm the old Lynch place. Mr. Lee Sheller, who attended Lynch in its early days and later became one of the school board members.
  • Mrs. Virginia Stevenson, who attended Lynch as a youngster and is now teaching at Lynch Plaza.
  • Mr. Harold Oliver, Superintendent of the Lynch School District.
  • Mr. Ivan Steward, Assistance Superintendent of Lynch School District.
Previous Page   Home  | Email  | About us  | Newsletter Dates  |  Parents  |  Teachers  |  District   Top of Page