Lincoln High School (Seattle)

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Lincoln High School
Lincoln HS Seattle entry 2019.jpg
Historic Entry in 2019
4400 Interlake Avenue North
Seattle, Washington 98103
United States
Closed1981 (Has reopened 2019)
School districtSeattle Public Schools
PrincipalRuth Medsker
Grades10–12 [senior h.s.]  (1907–1971),
 9–12 [high school]  (1971–1981)
9-10 (2019-2020)
9-11 (2020-2021),
9-12 (2021-on)[2]
Enrollment900 max as elementary,
2,800 at peak (1950s)[1]
Color(s)Crimson and black[1]
Newspaper"The Lincoln Totem"
Yearbook"The Totem"

Abraham Lincoln High School (shortened to Lincoln High, Lincoln, or L.H.S.) is a public high school in Seattle, Washington, part of the Seattle Public Schools district and named in honor of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States.

The school was re-established as a comprehensive high school in the fall of 2019 after being closed in 1981 and comprehensively renovated in 2017-2019. During the years when the high school was not operating, the school buildings served as the North Seattle site for Cascadia Elementary, which offered the Highly Capable Cohort for academically highly gifted students, as well as the temporary homes for an 18-21 transition program and Licton Springs K-8, an alternative school program.

The school re-opened with grades 9-10 and will add one grade per year until it reaches full capacity serving grades 9-12 starting in the fall of 2021.


The school was built in 1906 in the Wallingford neighborhood to handle the growth in the area.[3] It opened in 1907 and until 1971 was a three-year senior high school (grades 10-11-12, sophomores/juniors/seniors), thereafter a four-year high school with grades 9 to 12. Lincoln High closed as a school in its own right after 74 years in 1981, and the building has been used several times since as a temporary holding location for other Seattle public schools as their own buildings underwent renovations / remodelings / rebuildings.[1][4] The Lincoln building housed Ballard High School in 1997–1999 while their current facility was being built, then the Latona Elementary School (1999–2000) and Bryant Elementary School (2000–2001) while their respective buildings were also renovated.[1] It next housed Roosevelt High School in 2004–2006 and Garfield High School in 2006–2008 while their respective buildings were being renovated and upgraded. September 2009 to June 2010, Lincoln was the home to the Hamilton International Middle School while the Hamilton building was renovated and housed the recently split APP North middle school cohort for one year with Hamilton in 2009-2010.[citation needed] McDonald Elementary occupied the old Lincoln building during the 2010 and 2011 school years while their building was being renovated. Beginning in September 2011, the Lincoln structure became the home of the elementary Highly Capable Cohort, for students who live in the north end of the city (including Queen Anne and Magnolia.) In September 2012, the site was renamed APP at Lincoln (now Cascadia Elementary) for the interim. Cascadia Elementary and the north-end Highly Capable Cohort relocated to a newly constructed permanent location on the Wilson-Pacific campus in Fall of 2017. The old Lincoln High building will then undergo its own renovations and become an Attendance Area / zoned neighborhood comprehensive public high school once again in 2019.

Like many Seattle schools, Lincoln was impacted by the Japanese American internment during World War II. Among those interned were the president of the boys' Lynx Club and girls' Triple L and the editor of the school newspaper, the Totem.[1]

After the war, Edison Technical School (later Seattle Central College) on Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood expanded and took over the facilities of Broadway High School, mainly to serve returning veterans. Broadway's regular high school student body were all transferred to Lincoln High.[5] For some years after the war, Lincoln also served Seattle's northern neighbor Shoreline, until that suburb built its own public high school. In 1948, during the national "Red Scare" controversy, the school was receiving letters warning of communists within the teaching staff.[3] In 1949, during a tuberculosis outbreak, Lincoln sent teachers to Firland Sanatorium, and patients earned Lincoln diplomas.[1]

The 1950s were Lincoln's heyday. In 1959–60, enrollment reached 2,800, the city's largest at that time. Under principal Homer M. Davis (served 1954–1969), a former teacher and coach, the school was a major power in interscholastic sports, especially basketball and baseball.[1]

In 1953, Warren Littlejohn joined Lincoln's faculty, becoming the first African American to teach in a Seattle public high school.[6] In 1973, Roberta Byrd Barr became Lincoln's principal, making her both the first woman principal and the first African American principal of a Seattle public high school.[7][8][9]

During this period "busing" was introduced and some saw the decline in numbers due to residents moving or deciding to send their children to private schools.[10]

Despite its enormous attendance less than a generation earlier, Lincoln High School after 74 years, was closed in 1981 due to declining enrollment. At the time the decision was made to shutter Lincoln, the Totem newspaper had been rated All-American status by the National Scholastic Press Association seven semesters in a row, and it had a notable arts magnet program and an excellent special education program.[1]

In the years after its closure, the Lincoln High building was used by various community and religious organizations, including the Wallingford Boys and Girls Club. A 1993 plan would have renovated Lincoln as a new home for Hamilton Middle School, also setting aside part of the building for community services. Instead, it has become an interim location for various other schools over the next few decades.[1]


North facade with Library windows in 2007

Lincoln High School comprises five main buildings on a single campus. The three western buildings (1907/1914-1920/1930), are co-joined and form a cohesive historic presence facing Interlake Avenue North. The two eastern buildings are stand-alone structures constructed in the late 1950s and opened 1959.

The original building of L.H.S., which opened in 1907, is now the center block of the three co-joined historic buildings. It was designed by the school district’s in-house architect, James Stephen.

Between 1914 and 1920, the north wing and several other minor additions were added by Stephen’s architectural successor, Edgar Blair. The 1930 south wing was added by Stephen’s successor, Floyd A. Naramore,

In the late 1950s, the Gymnasium building and Theater building, both along the east edge of the site, were designed by the architectural firm of Naramore, Bain, Brady, and Johanson (founded by Naramore after he left the employ of the public school district, and now known by abbreviated initials as NBBJ).[1][11] These two mid-century modernistic style buildings were constructed and opened in 1959.

The school’s property for its campus was also enlarged in 1957 to cover 6.72 acres. Since then the playfield has been replaced by a paved parking area.[12][13][14][15]

In 2013, the Building Excellence IV (BEX IV) Capital Levy was approved by Seattle voters, which, in combination with approval of the Buildings, Technology and Academics IV (BTA IV) Capital Levy in 2016, allocated $93.3 million in funds for modernizing the existing Lincoln High School building and repurposing it to serve as a comprehensive high school.[16].[17][18]

A bronze bust of a young Abe Lincoln of Illinois (1809-1865), the school's namesake, sculpted in 1964 by Avard Fairbanks, stood on the east side of the school[1] until its relocation into a new entryway in 2019.

The 2017-2019 renovation to the historic buildings included relocating the main entry away from the historic entry, restoring the historic library, creating a new two-story central commons space, and upgrading the structure, mechanical and electrical systems, and providing new energy-efficient windows and exterior walls.[19][20]

Notable alumni[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Thompson, Nile; Marr, Carolyn J. (2002). "Lincoln High School". Building for Learning: Seattle Public School Histories, 1862-2000. Seattle Public Schools. OCLC 54019052. Republished online by HistoryLink by permission of the Seattle Public School District: Seattle Public Schools, 1862-2000: Lincoln High School, HistoryLink, 2013-09-08, retrieved 2018-01-01


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Thompson & Marr 2002
  2. ^ Lincoln High School reopening next fall, Queen Anne News, 10/8/2018. Retrieved 2019-10-26
  3. ^ a b Seattle's women teachers of the interwar years, Doris Hinson Pieroth, p 15, 2004, ISBN 0-295-98445-7, accessed May 2009
  4. ^ Clark Humphrey, Vanishing Seattle, Arcadia Publishing, 2006. ISBN 978-0-7385-4869-2. p. 74.
  5. ^ Paul Dorpat, Broadway High School, Seattle's first dedicated high school, opens in 1902, HistoryLink, 2001-04-15. Accessed 2009-05-25.
  6. ^ Carole Beers, Warren Littlejohn, 80, Teacher Who Instilled Love Of Language, Seattle Times, 1997-10-04. Accessed 2009-05-25.
  7. ^ Mary T. Henry, Barr, Roberta Byrd (1919-1993), HistoryLink, 1998-11-09. Accessed 2009-05-25.
  8. ^ MetropoLIST 150: The 150 Most Influential People in Seattle/King County History Archived 2007-12-27 at the Wayback Machine (nominations), Seattle Times, part of "150 Years, Seattle By and By" (2007). Accessed 2009-05-25.
  9. ^ Women educators, Patricia A. Schmuck, p136, accessed May 2009
  10. ^ Seattle, past to present, Roger Sale, p 243, ISBN 0-295-95615-1, accessed May 2009]
  11. ^ Landmark Nomination Application, Chief Sealth High School Archived 2011-06-04 at the Wayback Machine, (Seattle) Landmarks Preservation Board, p. 11. Accessed 2009-05-25.
  12. ^ James Stephen, Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2016-03-20
  13. ^ Seattle Public Schools, Lincoln, Abraham, High School, PCAD Library. Retrieved 2016-03-20
  14. ^ Edgar Blair (Architect), PCAD Library. Retrieved 2016-03-20
  15. ^ Floyd Archibald Naramore (Architect), PCAD Library. Retrieved 2016-03-20
  16. ^ "Lincoln Building". Seattle Public Schools. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  17. ^ BTA IV levy information. Retrieved 2016-03-20
  18. ^ Seattle Public Schools BEX IV information. Retrieved 2016-03-20
  19. ^ Seattle's renovated Lincohn HS reopening for first time in 4 decades, KIRO7, September 3, 2019. Retrieved 2019-10-26
  20. ^ Seattle’s Lincoln High to reopen 38 years after closing, Seattle DJC, August 24, 2017. Retrieved 2019-10-26
  21. ^ Paula Becker, Carlson, Edward "Eddie" E. (1911-1990), HistoryLink, 2005-01-05. Accessed 2009-05-25.
  22. ^ Joe Veyera, "Mariners' 'Peanut Man' Had Shoreline Connection Rick Kaminski was a King's and Shoreline Community College Student," Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Patch, July 28, 2011.
  23. ^ Sheila Farr, John Franklin Koenig, prolific artist, dies at 83 Archived 2009-06-21 at the Wayback Machine, Seattle Times, 2008-01-04. Accessed 2009-05-25.
  24. ^ Mildred Andrews, MacDonald, Betty (1908-1958), 1994-11-04. Accessed 2009-05-25.
  25. ^ Dorothy M. Provine Day, Obituary, Seattle Times, May 2, 2010. Accessed 2015-10-23.
  26. ^ Frank Chesley, Stern, Bernice (1916-2007), HistoryLink, 2006-11-07, updated 2007-06-30. Accessed 2009-05-25.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°39′36″N 122°20′24″W / 47.66000°N 122.34000°W / 47.66000; -122.34000