Seattle’s Lincoln High School is coming back from the dead.
After decades of serving as a temporary building for other schools undergoing major construction, Lincoln will have its own student body again when classes begin Sept. 4. The last time that happened was nearly 40 years ago, when Amazonia could only be found in South America.
It’s a rebirth that the school’s graduates — the youngest of whom are in their mid-50s — couldn’t have predicted. Jeff Taylor, who graduated in 1979, remembers the fight students and parents put up when they learned the school would close in 1981 due to falling enrollment. He thought it was gone for good.
Over the years, that sense of finality brought graduates closer — if only to keep the rich history of the school alive, Taylor said. The Lincoln Lynx Alumni Association, named after the school’s mascot, still writes a quarterly newspaper. In the absence of new graduates, the association raised money to fund scholarships for the children and grandchildren of Lincoln alumni, said Taylor, who serves as his class’s representative in the association.
Lincoln, which opened in 1907, was the second high-school the district built and will be the city’s oldest public high-school in operation. When the late civil-rights leader Roberta Byrd Barr took over as principal of the school in 1973, she became the first black woman in city history to lead a high school. The stairwells and facade of the building, just off North 45th Street in Wallingford, are historic landmarks. (The building just underwent a voter-approved $93 million renovation.)
Taylor attended the school during the district’s racial integration efforts. He remembers the passionate spirit weeks at the school: students in each graduating class competed against each other in hallway-decorating competitions for bragging rights, and gathered around a bronze bust of Abraham Lincoln to elect a Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln. (And hear a student recite the Gettysburg address.)
As the school prepares for its reboot, we’d like to hear your memories of the school to use in a future story. If you’re a graduate, tell us what it was like to attend. If you attended another high school in Seattle at the time Lincoln was still open, tell us about the school’s reputation.
We’re collecting responses in the form below until Aug. 28. Please note: you may be contacted by a Seattle Times reporter if you share your story.