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A-Z History of Sumner, Washington - Schools

Provided in part by Daffodil Valley Times and the City of Sumner.

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Laura Kincaid (youngest daughter of Sumner's founder, William Kincaid) and then John Meeker (who brought the first hops to Sumner) taught nine students in Sumner’s first school, a twelve by sixteen foot building constructed in 1863 of logs, mud, and shakes with a clay and stick fireplace. Two more schoolhouses, each an improvement over the first, accommodated the growing number of Sumner students until a three-story school with full basement and bell tower housing all grades opened in 1891 at a cost of $40,000.

Madge and Tress remember that students entered the three-story schoolhouse in orderly lines, girls on the left and boys on the right, to a march played on piano and triangle. Outhouses had been replayed with flush toilets in the basement. Tress recalls a GMC truck commandeered for bus service-the girls sat on benches inside the bed of the truck, and the boys hung onto the back. This school was destroyed by fire in 1924. Students soon moved into Wade Calavan Elementary School, where Sumner School District now had its offices.

Sumner fought its first football game against Puyallup in 1905, inaugurating what Tress, Mary Elizabeth, and Madge describe as an intense sports rivalry that only subsided when the schools began playing in different leagues. The first high school was constructed in 1911. Mary Elizabeth says there was a "Dieringer Bunch" at Sumner High, the kids of Engineers who lived above the Dieringer Power plant on the East Valley Highway.

Sumner School District now operates eight grade schools, three junior high schools, and one high school for over 7,000 students throughout Sumner, Bonney Lake, and unincorporated Pierce County. Four schools were located in the heart of Sumner (Daffodil Valley Elementary, Maple Lawn Elementary, Sumner Junior High, and Sumner High) are participating in the Spirit of Sumner Arts Education Community Consortium:

  • Maple Lawn Elementary is known as a writing-focus school
  • Daffodil Valley is establishing a reputation for dance and movement instruction
  • Sumner Junior High has a vigorous music program, led by 1997 Washington State Teacher of the Year Karen Fulmer
  • Sumner High has a healthy visual arts program augmented by the school's commitment to applying learnings throughout the community.

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Information on these pages is provided in part by Daffodil Valley Times Staff and The City of Sumner, Wa.

Main History page | Puyallup History | Sumner History |The Puyallup Indians | The Puyallup Fair | Read more about Ezra Meeker | Read more about William Kincaid |Why Daffodil Valley? | History of the Daffodil Festival | Indian War of 1855
All historical information has been compiled through the hard work and diligence of the Daffodil Valley Times staff. Anyone may copy this information for private or public use provided links are given to Daffodil Valley Times (http://www.daffodilvalleytimes.com) and full credit is given to Daffodil Valley Times. Thank you!

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