location for the first schoolhouse in Beaverton, Oregon was a 40,000
square foot parcel of land (200’ x 200’) purchased for $50 in gold
coins from James and Mary Steel. The land was located between Canyon
Road and Broadway Street, south of where Beaverton Transit Center is
today. According to the
Washington Independent newspaper, the schoolhouse
was called Beaverton Public School when it opened in 1875, and
consisted of a single classroom. By 1885, two additional rooms were
added. Alas, neither was a bathroom.
Beaverton Public School was
surrounded by a six-foot fence that had the dual purpose of keeping the
students from trespassing on nearby property owners and keeping nearby
livestock from wandering onto the school grounds. In 1902, Beaverton
Public School began offering ninth-grade-level classes, with 10th grade
added in 1910, 11th grade in 1915 and finally a 12th-grade curriculum
in 1916 when the new Beaverton High School building opened in 1916.
1910, voters authorized the school board to purchase land from the
Meier & Frank Co. for $1,500 to build a four-room, two story
schoolhouse. Beaverton Grade School was completed in December 1910;
classes convened on January 3, 1911 but running water wasn’t connected
to the building until February 1914. The land was south of Second
Street between Stott and Erickson, where Beaverton High School would be
built a few years later.
In 1915, the School Board asked voters
to approve a $21,000 bond issue to construct a 21-room high school
building, even though there were only 21 students currently attending
Beaverton Public School. Voters approved the measure, apparently swayed
by the argument that a shining new school would attract more students.
The argument turned out to be correct…enrollment doubled in 1915 in
anticipation of the new building, severely overcrowding the existing
On June 8, 1916, Beaverton High School was dedicated to huge fanfare, as described by the
Beaverton Times on June 22: “Never in the history of
Beaverton has so large a crowd gathered to dedicate a public enterprise
and through the entire assembly there seemed to run the feeling of
pride and the enthusiasm of progress.” Construction costs were reported
to be $20,778; two teachers taught all four grades: C.W. Burtt,
teacher and principal, and Ruth E. Johnston, teach and assistant
Beaverton Grade School once again became just a grade
school upon completion of Beaverton High School in 1916. By the late
1920s, both schools were filled to capacity, prompting an election in
July 1929 to approve $30,000 in bonds to expand the high school, which
was dedicated in December of that year. The grade school, however, was
not upgraded; by the mid 1930s it had become a fire hazard. The
site for a new grade school, located just east of Beaverton High
School, was purchased in 1936 and dedicated on November 22, 1938.
Originally called Beaverton Grade School, like the schoolhouse it
replaced that was subsequently razed, the building would be renamed
Merle Davies School in 1948 to honor a longtime teacher and principal.
As the grade school population grew, the school board persuaded voters
to approve additional funds that added five classrooms and a cafeteria
to the school. Starting in 1983, the Merle Davies building became a classroom annex to Beaverton High School.