By: Dorothy Rea
First mention of a proposed school site in South Salem appeared in the board minutes, Nov. 14, 1914 in a communication to the Board from B. C. Miles and Sarah A. Judson. In January 8,1915, motion was passed that the Board receive deed and accept title for tract of land known as the Voget Site, situated on South High and McGilchrist Streets for the sum of $5, 000. Geo. M. Post was engaged as architect.
The name McKinley was accepted at a regular Board Meet- ing April 12, 1915. Plans and specifications were adopted April 30, 1915, with bids to be opened I .. May 14, 1915. Each bid must be accompanied by a thousand dollar check. .Bids were received from 10 contractors. Salem Building Council “prayed” the board that Salem workmen be employed in the construction of the school. Snook and Travers, with a bid of $20,120 were awarded the contract.
George M. Post was hired as supervisor of construction. S. A. McFadden was later hired at $5. 00 per day, representing the district in the new construction. . The construction was completed and the building opened for use the fall of 1915. The faculty consisted of Emma Kramer – principal and teacher for grades 2 and 3, Delta Dillard `- grade 1, Lulu R. Walton – grades 4 and 5, Ermine Bushnell – grade 6. 1-t is interesting to note the decline in enrollment as indicated by the faculty for 1916-fi7 which was composed of; Ermine Bus fell ‘- principal and grade 6, Grace H. Lick – grades 1 and 2, Lula R. Walton – grades 3 and 4. In 1917-18: Helena Willett- principal and grades 1 and 2, Alta Patterson – grades 3, 4, and 5. Due~ to continued small enrollment and need for hospital facilities during World War 1, McKinley School, for an interim of two years, was used as a hospital. The sick were cared for and babies drew their first breath in the “educational atmosphere”
of the school’s classrooms. It was reopened as a Junior High in 1920-21 with LaMoine Clark as principal and the following faculty members: Bolin, Foster, Hale, Halvorsen Hamilton, Kreamer, Rotzien, White, Power and Rirrgheim. It continued as South Salem’s Junior high school from that year thru 1926-27, with increasing enrollment and faculty.
It became an elementary school again in 19274-28 when Leslie Junior High was open ed. W. A. Davenport was named to the principalship of both McKinley and Lincoln and there was a McKinley faculty of 8 teachers In 1928-29. Dorothy M. Taylor was named as principal of the two south elementary schools, McKinley and Lincoln.
In 1932 the board decided, for evident reasons of the greatly increased enrollment, to name a principal for each school. Miss Taylor was named for McKinley and Mrs. Daugherty assumed leadership at Lincoln. McKinley School continued a gradual growth as the surrounding territory was opened up for home building. In 1950 two wings were constructed by E. E. Batterman, to the original building adding four new classrooms and a multiple purpose room and cafeteria I The school has an approximate enrollment of 400, with a supervising principal, 14 teachers, 1 cook and 1 1/2 custodians.