A strange type of front . architecture seemingly was not in ill repute, as it would be today, during the period from 1910 to 1915. During those years Salem Built five of its still used elementary schools. Highland being one of them. The style surely was highly approved at that time, as two of the schools were built 2 years before Highland, one built the same year, 1912; and one built 3 years later.
On entering any one of these 5 schools from the front entrance one is slapped in the face by an ascending stairs. But the stairs have stood the test of many years, and will undoubtedly continue to do so for many years to come. Although Highland School is 45 years old, and undoubtedly in that length of time hundreds have been in attendance, there seems to be little source of pertinent information about the school.
One would assume that 20 years ago there was a definite growth in this area of town as there was an addition built to the north of the original 8 rooms- in use. This addition also gave to the school an auditorium with a large play area be- neath it. The large basement play. area has since been converted into a cafeteria which also doubles as inside space for P.E. classes. Those at Highland now feel especially favored by the 1937 addition because it gives to them a separate auditorium, a luxury which the recently built schools in Salem do not have.
Because of the lack of new buildings in Salem for a long period of time and in order to house youngsters, several bus loads of pupils were transported to Highland from that area of town now. serviced by Washington School. After World War II, when the big rise in school population became a real housing problem, it was discovered that the Highland district by itself was supplying enough boys and girls to fill the building. | Basement rooms, which formerly had been used for storage or playrooms had to be vented to classrooms, and no transported youngsters were sent to the school.
Even that did not satisfy the demand, so again in 1950 an addition of 6 classrooms, 2 on each of the 3 floors was added to the south end of the building.
The new addition also included. new and modern toilet facilities on all three floors. – I At the time the 1950 addition was constructed, all of the classrooms of the old part of the building were modernized, with new chalk and bulletin boards, sinks, drinking fountains, enclosed counters, tile on the floor and new paint.” Progress now is being made with the ceilings being acoustically treated.
A modern kitchen and dining room at this time also replaced the inadequate old one Hallways and stairs areas were tiled and acoustically treated, fire doors installed an at long last, with its many new exits, the school was no longer the fire trap it could easily have been. Thus, at the present time, in spite of its age the building is quite modern. Although one must admit, the building renovation is similar to taking an elderly man to the barb shop. He can be given a hair cut, but his wrinkles cannot be erased.
The first rustic schools had hardly been established in the pioneer Oregon Territory before our professional predecessors held their first professional meeting in Salem on October 17, 1855. They formed the Association of the Teachers and Friends of Education of the Territory of Oregon. Their public spirit was epitomized in the constitution which they adopted. It declared the object of the organization was “to promote the intellectual improvement of its members, and diffuse a sound, healthful, and thorough education among the mass of the people.