Where in the world is Lincoln High School?
Lincoln was the first Portland high school and is still the only one in downtown. It has occupied six locations over the past years 153 years and is about to move into its newest one.
With an initial enrollment of 45 students, Portland High School was established in 1869 on the top floors of North Central School. It was located on Block 80 of Couch's Addition, bounded by Northwest 11th and 12th avenues, and Couch and Davis streets.
When the school outgrew the space above the elementary school, it moved to a shared space with Central School, located where Pioneer Courthouse Square now stands, in 1874. Four years later, the high school moved once again to Park School located at the site of the current Portland Art Museum site.
By 1885 the high school had outgrown all the shared spaces. Students and staff moved into their own home at Southwest 14th Avenue and Morrison Street. This school was known as "the Marvel of the West" for its gothic architecture. The land was given to the school district by Mrs. Simeon Reed, wife of the founder of Reed College. This ornate structure was designed by William Stokes, an architect who had moved recently from Oakland, California to Portland.
In 1909, the school was renamed Lincoln High School and moved to a 45-room new building on the South Park Blocks location — bounded by Market and Mill streets and Park and Boundary avenues in 1912. This building is now part of Portland State University and is known as Lincoln Hall.
One more move, 40 years later, brought Lincoln to its most recent location in the Goose Hollow neighborhood, which once was occupied by the Jacob Kamm estate. The building opened in 1952 with considerable celebration because it was the first new high school to be built in Portland since Cleveland High School broke ground in 1929.
This fall, Lincoln High School will move into its new location, a nearby multi-block development featuring a six-story high rise, gym, performing arts center and adjacent athletic field. It cost $242.5 million and was financed by a 2017 bond measure approved by PPS voters.
Much more information is available in the richly illustrated book "150 Years of Lincoln High School" published by the Lincoln High School Alumni Association. A few remaining copies are available on the association's website at lincolnalum.org
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