The Hood River County Sun, Hood River, OR., November 24, 1937, page 1

(By Gladys Hinrichs, Sun Correspondent, who when a young girl, attended Barrett School)

     Another milestone has been passed in the history of the Barrett School with the dedication program held in the new auditorium on Thursday evening, November 19, 1937.
     Mrs. Don Yeck, principal, was a master of ceremonies. The Little Symphony Orchestra delighted with several selections and demonstrated conclusively that the acoustics of the auditorium are excellent; L.B. Gibson, County School Superintendent, told of the plans for the new wing from their inception two years ago to their completion, of the difficulties encountered and overcome, and of adjustments yet to be made; William Carlson, pupil, gave a reading, "A Bit of a Grin;" another reading was given by Iris Gilbert, pupil; Dr. L.L. Murphy, who attended this school for several years, told incidents of the time his father, the late B.L. Murphy, was principal of Barrett. Dr. Murphy also told of the success of a former pupil of Barrett, Earl Thompson. Earl, as many recall, was of an invented turn of mind even during school days. Later he invented an improved gear used on most automobiles today -- he sold this patent for a million and a quarter; Floyd Nunamaker, chairman of the County School Board, told of problems of the Board and its willingness to cooperate at all times with the local Boards; E.R. Moller, chairman of the local board -- other members being Mrs. Carl Smith and Ralph Hinrichs -- formally turned the new building over to the use of the pupils and teachers; Dale Jones, speaking for the pupils, told what the added facilities mean to the children and asked all of them to make the most of their opportunities and to help keep the new building lovely; Henry L. Howe, city recorder, was introduced by Mr. Gibson. Mr. Howe has had a long career as teacher in the valley schools. He began teaching in the Barrett school early in the eighties and taught there intermittently until about 1900. He told some interesting happenings. Mrs. Yeck asked all former pupils of Mr. Howe to stand, and surprisingly nearly a dozen men and women responded, which seems to prove Hood River Valley and particularly the Barrett district, No. 4, is a good place to stay.

More Than 100 Present

     In spite of the first snow storm of the season more than a hundred people gathered for this event. The entire brick addition, which joins on the south the brick building in 1910, was open for inspection. The entrance to the auditorium is through the main hall of the old building. On the east end of the auditorium are the stage and two dressing rooms. Besides programs and socials of different kinds this room will also be used for basket ball and other games. From this room broad stairs lead to the hall on the lower floor where two fine light class rooms and a shop are located. The new unit is well lighted and has adequate heating facilities.
     Residents of Barrett district can well be proud of our modern school building, our large enrollment and the efficient teaching staff. Mrs. Don Yeck has been principal consecutively since 1922. Other teachers are Mrs. Blanche Acree, Mrs. Leonard Wallace, Miss Dorothy Gilmore, and Mrs. Henry Steele.
     Barrett school was named in honor of Dr. Barrett who lived for many years on a homestead located about the present site of the C.M. Hurlburt home.
     I can remember three different school houses on the grounds of the Barrett school. Each time the school outgrew the building an addition was added. The topography of the school grounds has changed, also. The school house stood on an island in Indian Creek about fifty feet south of the front gate.
     The first school building erected about 1877 was of rough 12 inch boards, and at the time I first saw it, dark with age and weather. C.L. Gilbert, for a number of years superintendent of Wasco County, was one of the early teachers, and Miss Anna Sears, now Mrs. Hawkes, was another. However, my first teacher was Miss Josie Hansberry. Auburn haired, an artist of sorts, and even with an ungraded school of more than fifty pupils Ms. Hansberry had time to do fancy work during school hours.
     When the enrollment increased a cloak room was built across the north end of the school house. There was a wide doorway on the north side of the addition of no door. Wraps were hung on nails, and dinner buckets -- most of them five or ten pound lard pails -- were placed on the floor. During zero temperatures the lunches had a habit of freezing but as such weather cut down on the attendance lunches could be placed under and around the stove to thaw out.

Employ Second Teacher

     When the pupils grew too numerous and Charles E. Ellery, the next teacher, was unable to handle them, a second teacher was secured -- Miss Lindsay, now Mrs. Chas. Reed -- and the schooling progressed merrily with nearly 80 pupils and two teachers in our room. Mr. Ellery was an ordained Methodist minister with a quick temper. One of his ferocious threats to the boys was "I'll shake the buttons off your coat," and one day this literally happened -- more than one button parted company with a boy's tightly buttoned coat and popped across the room.
     Then a two-room frame school house with a cloak room on the front was built in the late nineties just south of the original building. In the cloak room was a table for the water bucket. This bucket was of paper composition and glazed a dark brown; a tin dipper was always handy. Two granite wash basins and a crash roller towel completed the equipment. Drinking water was carried from neighboring homes -- the best from a spring on the old Hill ranch about 200 feet east of the present Downing house. Lucky were the children allowed to bring water during school hours.
     Moving into the new building was accomplished during one week-end by the school board. All the old desks and many new ones were installed. When the children arrived Monday morning what a sight! Books, slates, pencils and whatnot had been piled in one corner of the primary room without regard to ownership. The pile was three feet high and radiated five feet or more from the corner. Never before or since have I seen such a heap of school books, and many losses of prized pencils and pens, and broken slate pencils were lamented.

Howe First Principal

     Henry L. Howe, who had taught several terms in the first building, was the first principal in the second schoolhouse and Mrs. Allard, whose husband taught the town school, was the primary teacher. At about this time the school was graded. Mr. Howe used the psychology of rewards, giving small, original free-hand drawings as awards of merit -- and some of these drawings are still prized by former pupils. It would be interesting to hold a "school meeting" of the old pupils with Mr. Howe in the role of teacher.
     The next principal was a Mr. Morey. He wore a heavy mustache which was dyed, but the secret was an open one albeit never mentioned in his presence. Every third Friday the mustang wood be faded to a peculiar pink rue but the following Monday would flaunt a rich purple.
     Another principal was Mr. Fred Barnes, a good instructor whose assistant was Miss Nettie Kemp. The first eighth grade graduation exercise was held while Mr. Barnes was principal; pupils in this graduation class were: Flora Wilson, Arvilla Poore, Orpha and Audrey Markley -- twins, Edith Moore, Stella Richardson, Grace Upton, Mae Borman, Frank Gibbons, Tom Bishop, Max and Ralph Henrichs, Bert Kelly, Byron Smith, and Alfred Ingals.
     When a primary room was added to the south of this building Miss Lorene Bridges was the principal, Miss Kemp, the intermediate teacher, and Miss Audrey Markley -- my sister -- the primary teacher. It was during the time Miss Bridges was principal that the 9th grade was taught here for the first time and was continued for several years. Another distinction we had a drummer girl for a number of terms - Lucy Jenkins, older daughter of the Rev. C.H. Jenkins, minister of the Valley Christian Church. Miss Hulda Hinrichs, now Mrs. O.L. Craton, was at one time the primary teacher.
     In 1910 the present brick building was erected and we now have a splendid schoolhouse with six class rooms, an auditorium, library, and shop.

©  Jeffrey L. Elmer