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1913 Pacific Highway School House & 1935 Ccc Camp Found!

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Elsewhere I have discussed how the Pacific Highway passed through the Lewis and Clark State park in Washington, between the towns of Toledo and Chehalis. I drove around the Park today to get some photos of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) structures there. Then I decided to look for another landmark on the Pacific Highway.


Note the La Camas school beside the Pacific Highway (north south road) near the bottom of the section of the 1913-1916 USGS map shown below. That was the Lacamas one room schoolhouse, built in 1900. It continued as a school until 1942! The coordinates are 46.517554°, -122.812242°. The schoolhouse is immediately south of the State Park, which today occupies most of the section (light grey grid) just north of the school. It doesn't show on the map because it wasn't created until 1922.




I have driven by the site many times and concluded from cursory looks from the highway that the school no longer exists. Wrong, it is there as big as life, but now hidden in a lot of trees and shrubbery. It looked occupied, so I took a quick grab shot from the side road that intersects the old Pacific Highway here and drove on. But there is no mistaking that it was the schoolhouse.


The good folks at the Lewis County Museum in Chehalis dug me out an article with a photo of the schoolhouse from the June 28, 1979 Centralia Chronicle, but they charge $30 for use of the photo in a publication, so you won't get to see it. Sorry! The story tells of a planned reunion of alumni.




You can imagine the children in the old school house looking out the windows or playing in the schoolyard while wagons, and later, early automobiles went past on the Pacific Highway. I suppose some of the children waved. I wonder what it was like when they saw the first automobile pass?




Keep the Show on the Road!

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You are getting close to your Route 66 trip!! Great. I hope the boys are excited.


Yah, it is both a shame and a blessing that it is occupied. It was owned, at least in the 60's by the Lewis and Clark Club, which I take to be, or have bee, a civic minded group. They sold it in the 60's, with something like 25% of the proceeds going to the Lewis County Historical Society, and the rest, I think to a Children's Hospital. Starting bid was $1,000, and I doubt it went for too much more.


The family that owned it in 1979 had an interest in history and refurnished it with historical pieces and donations. My newspaper research also turned up announcements for a box social in 1915....ladies to bring the food.


In 1979 it was still pretty open around the property and much more visible...not so much today. The stained glass window and the dormer are new since the 1979 photo.


I will be posting some CCC built structures (circa 1935) that were (are) on old US99 in the Park. Too bad the state can't afford the schoolhouse property.




Keep the Show on the Road!

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I'm guessing that porch was added as part of the conversion or did you westerners put those on your schools?


Ohio has quite a few one room schools that have been converted to residences and even more that are, or at least were, used by farmers for storage. All that I can think of are brick though I imagine there were some frame ones once upon a time.

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Thanks for the comment!


The one room schoolhouse beside the country road is sort of an American icon. This one (built 1900) sat beside a wagon road for many years before the first automobile came by on what had become the Pacific Highway by 1913, and it witnessed travel on US99 until just before WWII (1940) when it closed. Then it “went private” and saw old 99 decommissioned and eventually become the Jackson Highway.


I'm so old I recall the original one room schoolhouse was still used as a classroom at my elementary school in La Canada, California, and the bell was still rung to remind us that it was time for school! The elementary school was on Foothill Boulevard, which became Route 66 further east, so maybe I should claim I went to school on Route 66!


The section of the old Pacific Highway that runs past the school, passes the CCC Camp Lewis and Clark, Company 1633 headquarters about a third of a mile to the north. The 1936 B&W photo below from the Washington State Archives is the “custodian’s house” built in 1935 by the 17-25 year old’s who were in the CCC. The cracked concrete is US99. About 250 boys were at the camp in 1935-36.


I want to do a little post in the near future on what I found still standing from their efforts. The color photo is a “grab shot” taken from the modern Jackson Highway (old US99) about a week ago.




Keep the Show on the Road!






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