Pacific Northwest | July 6, 2003Pacific Northwest MagazineJuly 6, 2003seattletimes.com home
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CONTENTS
COVER STORY
PLANT LIFE
TASTE
ON FITNESS
ESSAY
NOW & THEN
PREVIOUS ISSUES OF PACIFIC NW


WRITTEN BY PAUL DORPAT Lewis & Clark

Schooled in 'LC'

Photo
COURTESY OF JACK ARKILLS
The black elm trees on the right of the "now" scene help dampen the noise of the Spokane Freeway that, since the mid-1960s, has faced Lewis and Clark directly across Fourth Avenue. Soundproofing with new windows was a feature of the school's recent restoration. The school was also expanded across Stevens Street with an addition reached by the bridge shown here.

 
 Photo
COURTESY OF PAUL DORPAT
Opened in 1891, Spokane High School was renamed South Central when North Central was created in 1908. Two years later, it was destroyed by fire and soon replaced by Lewis and Clark High School.
IF THE LISTINGS in the Seattle phone book are any indication of how resonant the legacy of Lewis and Clark is here, their eternally joined names appear only once — and that for a theater in Tukwila.

Portland seems more attuned to the heroics of that Corps of Discovery. The National Council for the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial is headquartered there — on the campus, of course, of Lewis and Clark College.

In the spirit of this bicentennial education, I have returned not to college but to Spokane and the high school I entered as a freshman in 1952, Lewis and Clark.

The grandiose late-Victorian taste shown here is not "LC," as we called it, but its predecessor, South Central High. When South Central was gutted by fire in 1910, the Tudor-Gothic Lewis and Clark was built above its ashes. In the hunt for a name it was first suggested by the principal of a packed North Central High School (South Central students had been temporarily ensconced there) that the name Lewis and Clark be divided — Lewis for his school north of the Spokane River and Clark for the new facility. However, both the school board and the lively correspondents for the Spokane Chronicle agreed that Lewis and Clark should be kept together south of the river.

Like the historical photo of South Central, the contemporary shot of Lewis and Clark looks southwest from the Spokane intersection of Fourth Avenue and Stevens Street. It was photographed by the only Spokane photographer I could command with a single telephone call, my best friend at Lewis and Clark, Jack Arkills. Jack and I always walked home together after school, until our senior year when I transferred to an academy in, yes, Portland.

Paul Dorpat specializes in historical photography and has published several books on early Seattle.

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