Keizer Heritage Foundation
Where the history of Keizer celebrates
the spirit of Community, Culture and Art.
980 Chemawa Rd. N.E. · P.O. Box 20845, Keizer, OR 97307
Phone: (503) 393-9660 Fax: (503) 393-0209
History of "The Old School"
Predating "The Old School" was a one-room schoolhouse built in 1878 on the corner of River Road and Chemawa, which was then known as Spongís Landing Road. The school was named after the Keizer family of John B., Pleasant, Cicero and Thomas. The first teacher was Nina McNary. Her younger brother Charles was later a U.S. Senator from Oregon. This school was torn down in 1915 to make way for a larger school as the population of "Keizer" grew.
In 1916, "The Old School" was built in the Craftsman style of architecture. It had four rooms and a basement with two playrooms and a wood furnace under the stairs. They used just two of the four rooms for the 66 students. The first teachers were Cora Miller (Clark) and Anna Lindgren (Myers).
By the mid-20's, all four rooms were in use. Each room had a blackboard, a picture of George Washington and a large school clock.
In 1939, a second building was added with four classrooms, health room, teacherís lounge, kitchen, auditorium and principalís office. The auditorium was also used for Community Club and 4-H meetings. 4-H was an important part of school and community life. Every student was a member of 4-H.
In 1948, they added ten more classrooms and then, in 1949, another five classrooms were added along with two storerooms and a teacherís lounge. The basement now housed a music room and school library.
The Keizer area was still growing and, in 1953, a bond measure passed for a new elementary school. Cummings School opened in November 1953.
Still growing, in 1955 they had to use the basement rooms for more classrooms. The music room and yet another classroom were set up in the auditorium. Effective on July 1st of that year, Keizer School District #88 and Salem School District # 24CJ merged.
By the 1980ís, the school complex was found to be obsolete and unsafe. The new Keizer Elementary School opened in 1987.
The Story of the Restoration
In 1985, a committee named "Preserve Keizer School" was formed to look into preservation ideas.
Since 1986, the Old Keizer School had sat empty as more modern buildings were built in the community. In 1988 the school property, once the core of the community, was to become a shopping mall. That meant the destruction of this historic 1916 building, the only historic public building in Keizer. That news jolted key local citizens into action to save the Old Keizer School. The new organization included the "Preserve Keizer School" group plus Westmoreland Garden Club and Keizer Art Association. This was the beginning of the Keizer Heritage Foundation.
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© 2003 Keizer Heritage Foundation, Inc.