For a Better Life -- School, Library, Parks
For a Better Life - School, Library, Parks
The 1868 school was outgrown within twenty years and voters agreed to build a new, larger school building. In 1911 the School Board announced plans to build a newer structure over the summer months that would double the capacity of the first two buildings. The eight room, two-story building was demolished in 1952.
As roads had improved throughout the east end and motor vehicles replaced horse-drawn school busses, eleven smaller schools were consolidated into the Sequim District between 1913 and 1938. To meet the demand of a growing population, a new brick building was finished in 1922. That building, the old brick high school building, has been added to three times and partly remodeled in early 2000's. Other high school buildings were erected in 1969. Eventually a new elementary school was built on Alder Street. After Helen Haller Elementary School was built, the Alder Street school served as the middle school.
In the 1990's a new middle school and an addition to the high school were added to the campus. The Sequim school campus now covered 60 acres - larger than the original 40-acre Seguin Town Plat.
Although sports, like horse racing and baseball, were an important part of life in early Seguin, and the entire town showed up for football and baseball games after a high school program was begun in 1915, parks were not an amenity offered by the Town for many years.
In Sequim, as in many other communities, women were responsible for starting libraries. By 1915 the Ladies' Club had collected books to be circulated in Town. The books were given to the Army during World War I, and a new collection begun after the war. By the 1930's the library had grown to 500 books in two bookcases. It was easy to move the "library" from one place to another. In 1923 the club bought four lots on which to build a library. Funds were not available until 1935 when the club transferred ownership of the land to the Town of Sequim which contracted with the Public Works Administration (PWA) to build the Clyde Rhodefer Memorial Library at the corner of North Sequim Avenue and Fir Street.
Over the years library use grew and in 1947 it became a branch of the County Library System. By 1976, in addition to the adult reading public, thirty classes from the middle and intermediate schools were coming to the library each month. In 1981, after serious community discussion and a fund-raising campaign, plans were drawn and a new library building that would meet the needs of the fast-growing community was built across from the high school.
Carrie Blake Park
In 1974 Charles Blake offered land around "Blake's Ponds" at the east end of town as a park - named for his wife, Caroline (Carrie) Blake. The ponds had been created by the Department of Transportation when they mined the gravely subsoil for material to build Highway 101. Later the Lions Club built a community/conference center in the park. Other amenities such as trails, picnic areas and children's playfield were added. A Parks Master Plan in 1993 called for baseball and soccer fields, tennis courts, a band shell, walking paths and transportation improvements. It became a well-used community facility.
Water Reuse Demonstration Site
In 1998, the City purchased 28.56 acres north of Carrie Blake Park with the help of a grant from the Department of Ecology. This property became a water reuse demonstration site educating the public on the use of reuse water.
In 2005, the Sequim City Band built and then dedicated the James Center for the Performing Arts to the City of Sequim. The "bandshell" is located on the water reuse demonstration site and is the site for many community events.
In 2010, Sequim Family Advocates received approval from the Sequim City Council to begin construction of playfields at the water reuse demonstration site. Construction should be completed in November 2011.
In 1976, John Kirner set two lots aside in the new Kirner Addition for a children's playground. It was dedicated to his wife, Margaret Kirner, and featured picnic tables and playground equipment.
During the late 1940's, descendants of Sequim pioneers worked with the Garden Club to dedicate hours of work clearing out blackberry vines and weeds and creating Pioneer Park where the original cemetery had been. Most of the bodies in the cemetery had been moved to Sequim View Cemetery in 1915. A clubhouse, flag pavilion, green lawn and ornamental plantings graced the landscape. A plaque was installed on a rock memorializing all of the area veterans who had served their country. In 2002 negotiations between the Garden Club and the City turned the park over to the City, although the Garden Club continues to maintain and manage the clubhouse.