Sno-Isle Genealogical Society

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Pioneer Edmonds School Days Are Recalled

by Mrs. Carrie Astell

Written and Delivered on the Occasion of the Founders Day Program of the Edmonds P.T.A.
Reprinted from the Edmonds Tribune-Review, Edmonds, Washington, March 13, 1936.

          I arrived in Edmonds at the age of eight with my parents.  The only transportation was a small tugboat called the Buckeye.  Some Indians were living on the beach, and a small settlement had already been started.  This was in the year of 1890 and 1891.

          The town consisted of a sawmill, store, post office, saloon and log houses—a few frame houses.  Shake houses were seen here and there throughout the woods.  A one-room schoolhouse had been built and stood on the hill on Fourth Street between Main and Bell streets, as they are called now.  There were only skid roads through the town, as the town was just being logged off. 

          Plenty of creeks and water ponds, large timber, wild flowers, blackberries and many wild animals were to be found, such as bear, deer, wildcat, cougar, mink, weasel, skunk, chipmunks and birds; besides plenty of clams and fish.  The tall timber looked like giants.  There was no railroad or wagon road in Edmonds but one was just being built.  Before this people walked to Seattle and carried their provisions from the city.

          This was done on Sunday as stores were open at all times.  Later they carried them by teams of horses.  This was an all day journey.

          The first team in Edmonds was an ox team.  This was used to draw the logs to the mill and clear land.  There were few horses and cows.  Frame houses were being built—among them the Olympic View hotel, Congregational church, and another schoolhouse.  This was the first school I attended.  The schoolhouse consisted of six large rooms, and a large hall to every room.  These were meant for cloakrooms.  Then in the main hall there was a small room which was used for a washroom, and a drinking fountain.  The fountain was a large bucket of water with a large dipper which was used by everyone. 

          Only two rooms were used the first year; two teachers to teach eight grades.  The parents bought the books, slates and pencils.  There were six months school terms.  A large bell was rung at 8:30, this meant to get ready, at 8:45 the second bell meant to start for school, and at 9:00 the last bell meant to be in line to march into the school room.  After school was called to order and the roll called, songs were sung before taking up the daily study; reading, arithmetic, spelling, etc., and Friday was used for spelling matches, penmanship or copy books, or for speaking pieces.  This was looked forward to as a great event, because on holidays and Friday afternoons the parents visited the school.  Sometimes a parent came in unexpected during the week.

          The first year, I remember we drew Valentines on our slates, also the cherry tree and hatchet for Washington’s birthday.  Later on, when the use of paper came along, we brought newspaper and cardboard to make them.  These were colored with chalk dipped in ink, as we had no colored crayons.

          Also examinations were written on slates until the school board furnished us with paper.  Large sheets of yellow paper were given to each one to do his work on.  These papers were corrected and taken home to our parents.

          Just a little about language.  We didn’t have to study French, German, etc.; instead, they refused to even let us speak it.

          As children came from all over, Alderwood, Cedar Valley, Esperance, and Meadowdale, to school, there were many who couldn’t speak the English language.  This made it difficult for the teachers as well as pupils.

          As years passed the schoolhouse was improved, until it out-grew its capacity, so a high school was built to care for our future growth.  When the old schoolhouse became unfit to use, it was taken down and replaced by a new grade school, which we have at the present time.


Carrie ASTELL was the daughter of Allen M. and Amanda C. YOST, pioneers in Edmonds. The family came from Pennsylvania by way of Kansas. They had nine children, seven boys and two girls—Carrie the elder of the two girls. Daniel, Joseph, John, Carrie, Elsie, and Jacob were born in Pennsylvania—Edward and George in Kansas, and Samuel in Edmonds. Carrie married George ASTELL. She died in 1946. Allen YOST died in 1915, and Amanda YOST in 1944.

When I was in the eighth grade in Edmonds, we were given assignments to interview several pioneers of the area—my person to interview was Amanda YOST, Carrie ASTELL’s mother. Mrs. YOST, at that time, was in her late 80s. I had heard she was very stern. I was scared to death. However, I found her to be a very nice lady—and I received an “A” for my report.

Submitted by Betty Lou Gaeng



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