Burien Washington - Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services

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Improvements to the School
Changes Throughout the Years
Terra cotta sculptures over the school’s entrances were installed in 1926. (Between 1890 and 1940 terra cotta, now considered a historic art form, was widely used.) The Lake Burien sculptures consisted of:
  • A 551-pound, 3 foot by 5 foot owl with outstretched wings, reading a book
  • Two “fish gargoyles”
  • A globe with two candles and the word "LIGHT" above it
  • A plaque with the words "LAKE BURIEN SCHOOL 1926"

In 1930, the school added a gym with a fine hardwood floor. The gym also served as lunchroom, music room, classroom, and PTA meeting hall. During the Depression, the school cook served three kinds of soup daily, knowing that, for some of the children, this would be their only meal.

Continuing efforts were made to keep up with the flood of new pupils. Three more classrooms were added in 1937, and a lunchroom in 1938. Five portables were added in the 1940s. On September 19, 1949, LIFE Magazine featured the entire student body on its centerfold: the 380 students the school was designed to hold peering from the windows, with the remaining 457 standing on the lawn.

Freeman J. Mercer was principal of the school from 1924 until 1952. He first came to Seahurst by streetcar and his initial salary was $166 a month. He was also a teacher for 17 of his 28 years at the school.

Continue on to learn about the more recent history of the school and park.

14700 6th Avenue SW   /  Burien, WA 98166  /  Ph: (206) 988-3700  /  Fax: (206) 243-2784
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