Fauntleroy Schoolhouse
Centennial Celebration
  • 1917 Schoolhouse
  • 1918 Schoolhouse
  • 1960 Schoolhouse
  • 2013 Schoolhouse
  • 2015 Schoolhouse

History


Fauntleroy Cove was named in 1857 by the leader of a U.S. Geodetic Survey party for his future father-in-law. When Seattle businessman John F. Adams bought land there in 1903, he called it Fauntleroy Park and platted it through his Fauntleroy Land Company. Among his earliest buyers were a group of friends who were members of the Plymouth Congregational Church in downtown Seattle. They first visited the area aboard Lawrence Colman’s yacht, and Colman himself purchased 17 acres for a summer home. This group forged a union between church and school that long shaped lives in the Fauntleroy community.

Fauntleroy School began with grades 1–3 in one of Adams’s storerooms. The student body included children from neighboring areas of West Seattle. In February 1907 the area and school were annexed into Seattle.

After the first building burned in 1911, the school was relocated in two portables on the south side of Fauntleroy Creek, on property also owned by Mr. Adams “east of 44th, and along what became Brace Drive SW.” This second Fauntleroy School, on the northeast corner of 45th Avenue SW and Wildwood Place opened in 1911 for grades 1–4, while older children continued to attend Gatewood.

In April 1915, members of the community petitioned the school board to purchase a permanent site adjacent to the congregational Church that was erected on land donated by Adams. Their intent was to situate the school near a gymnasium that church leaders had encouraged the community to build on church grounds. Attendance at Fauntleroy School rose 43 percent in fall 1915 and, the following May, the board purchased property from Adams across California Avenue from the church and gym. Designed in the Jacobean style, the new school was smaller and more compact than other schools of that period. It opened in the middle of the year with the children from the portable school occupying just two rooms for the remainder of the year.

Grades 4–7 were added in 1918–19 and the following year, with the addition of the 8th grade, Fauntleroy became an independent school.

As enrollment grew during the 1920s, the district chose not to add to the site but instead to build a new E.C. Hughes between Fauntleroy and Gatewood In fall 1929, the 7th and 8th grades were transferred to James Madison Jr. High. This lowered enrollment at Fauntleroy to just 189, well below the minimum of 280 required for a principal. The school operated under a head teacher until enrollment grew to 311 in 1942–43 (when a portable was moved in from West Seattle High School), and the principal position was reinstated in fall 1943.

“Some say [the] Fauntleroy [neighborhood]’s golden years were the 1950s, when its post war population swelled and its church, YMCA and schoolhouse became a type of institutional triumvirate for the community.” The postwar boom pushed Fauntleroy School’s enrollment back over 400. It opened in fall 1950 after being completely remodeled and with a new addition containing five classrooms, an auditorium- lunchroom, and a playroom. The new north and south wings were blended to match the exterior of the original structure. That same year Arbor Heights opened as a K–4 annex of Fauntleroy.

By 1952, attendance at Fauntleroy had soared to 525. Off-site annexes were opened across the street at the Fauntleroy Congregational Church and the Fauntleroy Community Club, as the gymnasium was then called. These annexes were closed when four additional classrooms and a school gymnasium were opened in February 1953. In 1978–79, under the district’s desegregation plan, Fauntleroy formed a triad with Roxhill and Dunlap and changed from a K-6 to a K-3 configuration. Enrollment at Fauntleroy gradually declined from a high of 700 in 1954-55, about 400 in 1972-73, and 175 in 1980-81, its final year of operation [as a Seattle public school].

In October of 1981, the building was leased to the Fauntleroy Day Care Center Board, and re-opened. In 2010, the building was purchased from the Seattle School district by the Fauntleroy Children’s Center/Community Service Agency, re-purposing the building as a community center.