This year marks a significant milestone for the historic Center School (aka Lopez Island Grange) as it celebrates its 120th Birthday. From 1903 until the early 1940s, Center School served as one of four schools on the island until the current school was built and the district consolidated. From the early 40s onward, it has been stewarded by the Lopez Grange membership and served as a Grange and community hall. Many hands, past and present, contributed to building the original school and its ongoing maintenance. As a result, generations of Lopezians have been educated and attended countless celebrations and events in its hallowed halls. There’s a lot to celebrate, and everyone is invited to share on this momentous occasion on the afternoon of Sunday, April 30.
The afternoon of festivities kicks off at 3 PM with a National Historic Registry bronze plaque unveiling and dedication. This past year, Center School was listed in the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior, as well as the Washington Heritage Register, for its unique contributions to Washington state’s heritage. The William G. Pomeroy Foundation provided the bronze plaque. This achievement gives both state and national recognition to all the hard work done by Lopez pioneers and the community that followed in our preservation of this island gem.
At 4 p.m., we will weave a Maypole with the dance called by Alex MacLeod and music provided by Lopez’s own Southend Stringband. As is tradition, dancers will weave colorful ribbons around a tall pole as they celebrate spring and the fertility to come. No need for prior Maypole experience, all ages and levels of expertise are welcome.
After the Maypole, we will sing the building into its 120th Birthday and enjoy some cake and refreshments. Center School will be open and available to tour its storied past and present. Come see and feel our most recent improvements, including insulation and heat pumps leading to a more energy-efficient, cozier building. We’ll have some surprises, historical photos of Center School students courtesy of the Lopez Island Historical Society and Museum, and some items unearthed from the closets and the building shed during our recent upgrades. More info: www.lopezislandgrange.org.