Oysterville’s Bastion of Democracy

Oct 20, 2015 | 3 comments


Oysterville Schoolhouse

Oysterville Schoolhouse, 2009

Since it was built in 1907, the Oysterville School has served the community in numerous ways. It is the third school building in Oysterville and served in its intended capacity for fifty years. By 1957, with too few children in town to warrant hiring a teacher, the school was retired as the seat of learning and became, instead, the village community center.

Over the years, the school and grounds have been the centerpiece of almost every community celebration. In 1876 the residents whooped it up for our nation’s centennial with a picnic on the schoolhouse grounds. Ditto the 1976 bicentennial and, in both cases, the greater community (read all of Pacific County) participated. After all, Oysterville had been the County Seat during Territorial times and beyond, and it seemed fitting that the festivities should occur in the County’s oldest remaining community.

Oysterville Centennial Celebration, 1954

Oysterville Centennial Celebration, 1954

The school has also seen the centennial and sesquicentennial celebrations of the village, itself, in 1954 and 2004, respectively. And, along the same lines, in 2007 we celebrated the hundredth birthday of the school building, and in 2009 the Oysterville Community Club hosted the sesquicentennial of the Oysterville Post Office, the oldest continuing post office in Washington.

It almost goes without saying that the little one-room school has been the site of almost every other sort of celebration and commemoration over the years – wedding receptions, memorial gatherings, anniversary and birthday parties, Easter egg hunts and meetings of every description. It is the one place in town, besides the church, where large gatherings can be held.   It’s where we go to sort out our differences and to celebrate our accomplishments. “See you at the schoolhouse,” is a familiar phrase in Oysterville.

School Street, 1964

School Street, 1964

Today, our Pacific County Board of Commissioners is meeting from 1:00 to 3:00 at the Oysterville Schoolhouse to hear what the community has to say about Ordinance 162, Section 20 of the County’s Comprehensive Zoning Plan. It is the ordinance that sets forth the provisions for construction and future development in the village. For 37 years it has protected us from the onslaught of “modern incursions” (trailer courts, neon lights, cyclone fences, etc.) and had helped us keep our historic ambiance intact.

I feel like I should be able to call out to our pioneer forebears, “See you at the schoolhouse.” I hope they will be watching over today’s proceedings and, somehow, influencing all of us toward thoughtful next steps in Oysterville’s governance.


  1. Stephanie Frieze

    Good luck, Sydney! May the sense of history and community prevail over greed.

  2. Betsy Millard

    I hope all goes well. I’m unable to attend as I’ll be here at the Museum with Investment Advisory meetings but Bill will be representing us in Oysterville!

  3. Larry Murante

    Wishing the best for Oysterville! Good luck!


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