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School History

Story of the Washington (Lake Linden-Hubbell) High School

Alfred and James Beesley arrived at the head of the Torch Lake about two years after the settlement, later to be called Lake Linden, was established. Alfred Beesley built the first house in the area, which was later used as a one-room schoolhouse with Miss Seeley as the teacher.

The first one-room school building was erected in 1867 and used by all denominations for church services and for all town meetings and entertainment. Two additions were added with funding for the first from taxation and the second by Calumet and Hecla Mining Company.

Historical photo of school

The first teacher on record is a Miss Kate Quinn, who was hired to teach "Primary District #1, Schoolcraft Township for the term of nine months, commencing on the first day of November , 1869." Miss Quinn was seventeen years old when she was hired to teach in Lake Linden and was paid $450 for her nine month teaching contract. In addition to her teaching salary, she was paid five dollars per month to attend to daily sweeping and making or starting a fire.

The school building cost about $2,000 but was destroyed by fire in November of 1881. It was rebuilt the same year at a cost of $15,000 by the Calumet and Hecla Copper Mining Company on the site occupied by the present high school building, and leased to the school district at a nominal sum. The fixtures in the building cost $4,000.

The influx of children into the area was quite rapid and the schools expanded to meet the demands of the growing population. By 1872, a male teacher and female teacher were hired and two years later, the school had a staff of three, a male teacher as principal and two female assistants. In 1875, there were enough students to warrant a form of departmentalization: Mr. William Bath, the principal; Miss Daily and Miss Gilbert, primary teachers; Miss J. Johns, intermediate department and Miss B. Widner, preceptress and teacher of music, both vocal and instrumental.

In 1883, there were seven hundred and fifty-four pupils of school age with an attendance of six hundred in thirteen departments served by thirteen teachers; the directors of the school were authorized to establish a high school, so the building was rearranged to provide suitable facilities for use as a high school as well as a grade school.

Two years later, in 1885, the first class was graduated. The all-girl class consisted of Belle McIntyre, Anna Pauline, Maggie Lamont, Mary Sullivan, Clara Schlichting, Sarah Lamond, Sarah Kaufman and Bertha Schlichting. The first male student to graduate was Samuel Eddy in a class of four pupils in 1886.

Starting in July of 1887, many changes were made in the Lake Linden-Hubbell school building. The Calumet and Hecla Company, who owned the property, put in a new entrance to the hall from Calumet Street and another stairway from the second story, thus rendering escape from the building in case of fire or a panic from any cause. In addition to this, the school board had all the exit doors changed so as to open out - in accordance with the State law and all of the rooms re-plastered.

After a quarter of a century of use, the school building was sadly outgrown. The number of Lake Linden and Hubbell children had been steadily increasing since the first high school classes had been offered in 1883. In addition, St. Ann's Academy was to discontinue high school instruction with the June 1915 graduation ceremonies. This would add fifty or more students a year to the public school enrollment.

Lake Linden School Building

At a special meeting held on June 21, 1915, the Lake Linden-Hubbell School Board resolved: "....whereas this Board has investigated and considered the question of the inadequacy and insufficiency of the present Central High School Building for the purpose of accommodating in a suitable, sanitary, and proper manner for the pupils of this District, and have found and determined that such buildings are altogether inadequate, insufficient, unsafe and unsanitary and that the proper housing, the health and educational requirements of the present High School Building are altogether insufficient for these purposes and that the erection of a new complete, sanitary and up-to-date Central High School Building is necessary;...."

A special election was called to decide whether the School Board would be authorized to issue bonds and borrow money "for the purpose of erecting and furnishing a new Central High School Building." After eighty persons had cast their ballots, the Election Board discovered that the amount of proposed bond did not appear on the ballot. If the proposal on the ballot passed, a second election would have to be held to set the amount of indebtedness that the School Board could incur.

Following a consultation with the Prosecuting Attorney, the Election Board decided to ask the people who had already voted to return to the city hall and vote again on correct ballots. All eighty voters returned and "voted the corrected ballots with the other voters." A total of one hundred and fifty ballots were cast, one hundred and thirty-nine in favor of bonding the school district for $100,000 to build a new school, ten against and one not voting.

Bonds, which were to run for fifteen years, were sold and the rate of interest was four and one-half percent, with payments scheduled to be made beginning in 1920 and extending through 1929.

Before construction could begin, two major problems had to be considered. First, the property on which the old building stood, as well as the building itself, belonged to the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company. The site problem was solved when C&H agreed to give the school a ninety-nine year lease on the property.

The second problem was more difficult. It was necessary to provide a place for the children to attend school during the period when the new building was being constructed. Since the same site was to be used, temporary facilities elsewhere had to be found or the old building had to be moved to a different site.

Within a week of the July 1st election, the School Board advertised for bids "to move the Washington School Building from its present location across Front Street to near the shore of Torch Lake." Two bids were received and the contract was awarded to the Edward Ulseth Company of Calumet who agreed to move the school for $6,325.

Lake Linden School Building and Loading Zone

Mr. Ulseth's bid was accepted on July 17, 1915, and one month after receiving the contract, Mr. Ulseth had the big Washington school just about moved to its new position. The moving of the building was done with jacks-slow but sure-and not even a pane of glass was cracked during the move. Mr. Ulseth finished the task by tearing out the stone foundation from the three story school house, put it on some three hundred wooden rollers, and moved it over two hundred feet.

When it was torn down some years later, the salvaged materials were used in the construction of the present Dee Stadium in Houghton.

The structure was completed in 1918. It served not only the Lake Linden and Hubbell area, but all surrounding towns and hamlets. The building was named the Washington High School.

When the St. Joseph School was closed, a special meeting of the lake Linden High School Board of Education was conducted on Sunday, August 6, 1972. The meeting was called to determine if they should purchase this building and property to relieve the already over crowded public school system. With the closing of the St. Joseph School, many more students would be added to the public school system. It was moved and supported that they purchase the school building and grounds for the sum of $70,000 from Charles Salatka, Bishop of the Diocese of Marquette. This included all of the property, buildings, structures and appurtenace. The payments were to be made over a in-year period with no interest to be paid.

Several years later, on December 17, 1974, at a regular meeting of the School Board, the members decided that the school district should purchase twenty lots of property from Universal Oil Products Company for the sum of $12,000 when it became available. This property was located behind the school, between Torch Lake and the school. It was originally used as a sports area, playground and location of the football field and track. It also contains the new elementary school that was opened to student use in 1998.