OLD SCHOOL OF THE DAY
2781 Towne Road
Five miles north of Sequim along the banks of the Dungeness River stands a picturesque two-story building with a distinctive red-roofed bell tower built more than a century ago (1892) This is the Historic Dungeness Schoolhouse. Surrounded by farmland, the Dungeness School is a historical schoolhouse building located at 657 Towne Road in Dungeness, Washington. The idea for the school was formed in 1892 by the settlers of the Dungeness area. On May 10, 1892, a meeting was held in which settlers created a bond for land and a two-story school house. The school house opened on February 27, 1893. Its most distinctive feature is the decorative belfry with bell-shaped roof centered over the original two-room schoolhouse and upstairs auditorium. The school originally had 73 students from the ages of 5 to 20, with one teacher who lived on the second floor of the school. Classes were large and books and supplies not easy to get. School Board minutes of April 8, 1895, show a motion was passed to buy the school a bottle of ink. A two-story wing added in 1921 to provide more space. Of the more than 40 rural schools in the county, only Dungeness School was to later offer a full high school curriculum. Although high school classes were discontinued in 1923, junior high classes were held until 1940, and elementary school classes continued until 1955, when Dungeness School District No. 29 consolidated with Sequim School District No. 323, and the old Dungeness School was closed.
For nearly 10 years following the school’s closure, the building was leased by the Dungeness Community Club which in 1967 purchased the land and the building from the Sequim School District. The Women of Dungeness group was organized to help the Dungeness Community Club restore and maintain the building, and thanks to their efforts, the Dungeness School was designated a Washington State Historical Site in 1973. On May 19, 1988, the building was listed on the National Register of Historical Places. In 1995, faced with rising maintenance costs, the schoolhouse was donated to the local museum and is now operated as a division of the Sequim Museum and Arts Center. The schoolhouse retains its educational heritage as a venue for classes and programs throughout the year. The first-floor classroom is available to rent for programs and classes, as well as weddings, family reunions, business seminars, birthdays and small gatherings and holds about 30 people. A wide hallway and staircase lead to the second story, which features an auditorium with stage and holds 90 people for larger gatherings. An elevator is available for access to the auditorium to assist handicap persons.