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Trafton School receives historical site designation
Principal Ed Aylesworth was the perfect person to recognize the historical significance of Trafton School Friday, April 18, when school district officials and friends gathered to honor the designation of the school as an historical site.
"I went to school here and all my kids did too," Aylesworth told the shivering crowd, amid rain and sleet and hail.
The approval for designation by the National Register of Historic Places and the Washington Heritage Register came much earlier, but they now have plaques appropriately dedicated and it's all official.
Trafton is the oldest continuously running school in the state of Washington.
But to Linda Byrnes, it's just a shell.
"It's you kids who are the heart of any school building," she said, noting the excellent behavior of the children, sitting out in the rain and hail without a complaint.
A few tents provided cover for community members, but the kids were out in the open.
It was no secret to those in the audience that the district has tried numerous times to shut down the Trafton School for financial reasons, and Byrnes credited its current status as an historical building to the "persistence of the loyal and tenacious parents."
They are the ones who fought to save the community school and followed the process to this culmination.
Aylesworth read letters from United States lawmakers Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, and state Senator Val Stevens. He honored all the special guests, from his boss, Byrnes, and School Board President Kay Duskin, board members and City Council members as well as representatives from the state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (Allyson Brooks, director) and the chair of the Snohomish County's Historical Preservation Commission, Falken Forshaw.
In her letter, Murray mentioned the value of preserving old buildings, as a tourist attraction.
Duskin honored the school's history by doing her own little mini-survey of what former students remember about the school.
"I asked some people who were students there in the 1950s and the girls all remembered Mrs. Clark's fairy wand and the boys remember the frogs out back," she drew a chuckle from the crowd.
Trafton School was established as two-room school house in 1888 on the homestead of Thomas Jefferson, whose wife, Rachel taught the first term. When that building burned down on March 28, the current building was built in six months to open in September 1912.
"I wish we could build a school for $3,800 today," Duskin said.
After the ceremony, guests were offered tours of the school and refreshments.