Rural Clark County- All Within 45 Minutes Of Vancouver, WA!
I love the beginning of school! Autumn leafs, the smell of new pencils, fresh clothes, old friends, so I thought I would visit some historical local schoolhouses. I looked up several on the National Register of Historic Places, made notes about a few I knew existed and did some research with friends who live in areas I am not familiar with. Here are the results.
I headed out this morning with my son. Note, if you are intending to make this trip, pack some food and drink. It’s longer than anticipated because there is so much to see between stops.
Glenwood School- Vancouver, WA
Although in Vancouver, WA, Glenwood school is in a more remote section on a fairly busy road. According to articles I read, it was purchased in 1977 by Gary Erickson, a now retired middle school teacher who is restoring it to it’s original glory. Whether or not this has been completed, I cannot say as it is a private residence and thus not open to the public, but it is beautiful to view! Apparently it was built in 1901 and operated from 1910 to 1956.
Glenwood itself is an interesting area. While sprawling modern buildings are starting to appear, faded signs on old barns give a sense of an earlier time. Cows and calves ramble as they always have, without a care to the modern incoming tide. New and old abide side by side.
Glenwood is definitely worth a visit, albeit a quick one.
For more reading about this schoolhouse, here’s where I gathered my info for reference:
Lambert School- Ridgefield, WA
The drive from Glenwood to Lambert was about 20 minutes. Meandering slowly over the hills allows you time to view a myriad of autumn foliage, well placed old farm equipment, magnificent barns, and a variety of well kept stables.
Lambert School itself is now a food and clothing bank called Neighbors Helping Neighbors. Though not open to the public on the inside, I pulled up for a brief visit during the day. If you go, don’t plan on staying more than 5 or 10 minutes.
Built in 1926 and in operation until the 1940’s, the brick building provides a stout contrast to the glorious view from it’s ridge, where the name Ridgefield comes from. There is a very nice plaque with information on the school as well, but if you are looking for more background, I found valuable information here: https://clark.wa.gov/community-planning/lambert-school.
Lambert school, located at 21814 NW 11th Street Ridgefield, the view itself is worth the drive, as seen below.
Venserborg School- Battle Ground, WA
I had the most fun at this one. It is in the beautiful community of Venserborg and the old school is now a Community Club available to rent for multiple venues- visit https://www.venersborgschoolhouse.com/ for more information. When you pull up, you see a well maintained schoolhouse with a copse of evergreen trees, a number of benches and picnic tables, and a fire pit. We spent the most time here. My son needed to put a toy together, and we both needed to stretch our legs, so we headed to the picnic tables. Wild strawberries and blackberries add sweetness to an already sweet place and one can imagine the schoolchildren of yesteryear indulging in their tastiness. There are several nails in the large trees and I can’t help but wonder who put them there. Moreso than the schoolhouses, this one afforded the luxury of imagination along with a tangible connection to the past. One other place I referred to for this trip was https://clark.wa.gov/community-planning/venersborg-school.
The Way Home
Every trip so far as afforded me treasures. The nails in the trees will be “hammered in my memory” for years to come, but so will what we saw at the Hockinson Marketplace (staff, service and local goods all great by the way) on the way home- a car conjuring images of The Great Gatsby in a spectacular enamel white- wow!
The vehicle’s owners were kind enough to let me take a picture. I would like to dedicate this blog to them. In addition, this is for those who keep the spirit of education and community alive through these old, but not forgotten buildings.
Reader, dream fearlessly, buy local, travel locally, and let nothing hold you back from going where you’ve always wanted!