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Sunday, September 26, 2010

1912- What Happened the Year that the Ronald School Was Built?

Shoreline's Historically Landmarked Ronald School was built in 1912.  It was a significant year in many ways. 

Arts Service Station, Richmond Highlands Neighborhood - circa 1945

Now that the Shoreline Historical Museum is being uprooted and the Ronald School buildings integrity is threatened, let's look at the era it was built in, and think about its uniqueness in relation to our history and that era. Let's look at the year 1912 to get a better context on why this place matters.

In 1912 Judge JT Ronald, former Seattle Mayor donated the land that the current Ronald School and Shoreline Historical Museum occupies to build a grade school. It was on the western edge of his property, and near the soon to be developed Highway 99, now Aurora Ave North. Judge Ronald believed in education, but he also believed in commerce and opportunity.
The Ronald Interurban Depot at North 175th and Midvale, ca. 1915
Courtesy Shoreline Historical Museum

History Link has the story:

A Stop Called Ronald
An early resident in the Shoreline community around the turn of the century was Judge James Ronald. Ronald purchased five acres of land for $100 from a friend who owed him money. Working on the weekends, he cleared his tract and planted cherry and apple trees. Improving the land came naturally to him, he claimed, having been raised in the Deep South.
Judge Ronald was a friend of Fred Sander, the man who built the Interurban. Ronald gave right-of-way through his property for Sander's rail line and offered to build a small station house if he could name it. Sander agreed, and after the station was built, Ronald gave him a sign reading "Evanor," named for Ronald’s daughters, Eva and Norma.
Shortly thereafter, Judge Ronald was riding the train. He got off at his station and was shocked to see that its name had been changed to Ronald. Not wanting to see his name in a public place, he confronted Sander. Sander informed Ronald that he'd promised to name the station "Evanor" but not to keep the name.
Said Sander, "This is my railway and I change names of stations when I please. I have changed it to Ronald and if you don’t like that name you can stay away and not see it!" The name further ingrained itself into the community a few years later when Ronald donated land for a school building. The name of the building? Ronald School, now (1999) home to the Shoreline Historical Museum.

Rogers General Store, Richmond Highlands -1912
courtesy of Shoreline Historical Museum

Not the Scenic Route
By the 1930s, the Interurban had outlived its usefulness. America was turning automotive, and cars were the preferred method of travel. By 1939, the Interurban rails were sold for scrap metal and paved roads crisscrossed the community.
Aurora Avenue, or Highway 99, was originally a bumpy wagon-trail that closely paralleled the rail line. By 1912, it was paved with brick all the way to the county line. As the Interurban faded away, Aurora Avenue became the most heavily trafficked road in the community. Evidence of this can be seen today in the old motels and gas stations still located along the sides.

What else was go'in on in the world in 1912?

Here's a selection of events that took place in that year from

Jan 17th - Robert Scott expedition arrives at South Pole, 1 month after Amundsen
Jan 18th - English explorer Robert F Scott & his expedition reach South Pole, only to discover that Roald Amundsen had gotten there before

Feb 8th - 1st eastbound US transcontinental flight lands in Jacksonville, Fla
Mar 12th - Girl Guides (Girl Scouts) forms in Savannah, by Juliette Gordon Low
Mar 29th - Capt Robert Scott, storm-bound in a tent near South Pole, makes last entry in his diary "the end cannot be far"
Apr 15th - Titanic sinks at 2:27 AM off Newfoundland as band plays on
Apr 16th - Harriet Quimby becomes 1st woman pilot to cross English Channel
Apr 20th - Fenway Park officially opens, Red Sox beat NY Highlanders 7-6 in 11
Jun 4th - Massachusetts passes 1st US minimum wage law
Jun 5th - US marines invade Cuba (3rd time)

Aug 7th - Progressive (Bull Moose) Party nominates Theodore Roosevelt for pres
Aug 24th - NYC ticker tape parade for Jim Thorpe and victorious US olympians
Aug 24th - Territory of Alaska organizes

Aug 27th - Edgar Rice Burroughs' publishes "Tarzan of the Apes"
Sep 27th - W C Handy publishes "Memphis Blues" 1st Blues Song, 1912
Oct 14th - Bull Moose Teddy Roosevelt shot while campaigning in Milwaukee
Oct 16th - Boston beats NY Giants, 4 games to 3 with a tie in 9th World Series
Nov 5th - Arizona, Kansas & Wisconsin vote for female suffrage
Nov 5th - Woodrow Wilson (D) defeats Theodore Roosevelt (Prog) and Pres Taft (R)
Dec 6th - China votes for universal human rights
Dec 7th - Bust of Queen Nefertete found in El-Amarna, Egypt

Meanwhile in a place that would become Shoreline, just north of Seattle, Judge JT Ronald kept working on making his home city a place for education, commerce and continued his service as a King County Superior Court Judge.
King County Superior Court Judge J.T. Ronald

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