By Barbara Doyle

This is part two of a multi-part series on the history of Central School. Installments in this series are adapted from Barbara Doyle’s book on this topic: From Then ’til Now: Schooling in Newberg, Oregon.

Central School photo courtesy of the George Fox University.

Newberg didn’t get a new school. The community got an enlarged school.

The site purchased in 1889 covered a bit more than three acres – that’s plenty of room to expand the existing school. The 1892 plan included raising the building three and a half feet providing basement space for a furnace and a foundation for a four room addition. But only two of those rooms were used initially. Student population continued to rise reaching more than four hundred in 1893. Then the economic depression labeled the ‘Panic of 1893′ struck. Student attendance dropped off – families left town and some students ignored mandatory attendance in favor of earning some money.

Recovery was slow but by 1900 Newberg’s population had almost doubled. That meant many more students. And parents began to clamor for a kindergarten, a ninth grade, then a tenth grade. The school ran out of classroom space. The School District rented rooms in local businesses.

Beginning in 1904, Dundee School District resident W.H. Hubbard was responsible for two major changes. His home was closer to Newberg’s graded school – that his children attended because he paid the tuition. Hubbard petitioned Oregon’s State School Superintendent to change the boundary line between the two school districts. That was unheard of. Hubbard won; the line was moved and twenty-five more students were added to Newberg’s School District.

Some of those twenty-five students lived beyond the two-mile walking limit. Newberg School District had to provide some form of conveyance. A horse-drawn wagon, called the ‘Kid Wagon’, was introduced. It evolved into what we all know as ‘the school bus’, which became another financial responsibility for Newberg School District.

Parents living in adjacent ungraded school districts pushed to have their small districts incorporated into Newberg’s graded school – just have the boundary lines moved. This led to a large increase in the number of students. School board members recognized the need to increase the number of classrooms. They approved adding eight more rooms – four on each side of the existing building.

The new sixteen room schoolhouse opened in October 1905; student population quickly reached 480. This building was the third, and last, version of the original graded school. But it still didn’t have a name.

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The most recent renovation took place in 2019. The first floor of the west wing now includes a black-box theater, more rest rooms, more storage space and a commercial kitchen to facilitate dinner events and culinary classes. Most of the second floor is still unfinished.  

Read the rest of the story – and if you’ve enjoyed these histories, contact us about becoming a member!

part one | part two | part three | part four | part five | part six | part seven