Washington State Normal School at Ellensburg

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The theme for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is architecture. I love old buildings of all kinds. But especially neat are old buildings of stone or brick with all their flourishes and adornments.

This is Barge Hall at Central Washington University. It was built in 1894 as the first building for the Washington State Normal School at Ellensburg, three years after the school was established.

Normal Schools provided an education for teachers to work in the public school system when Washington became a state. In the beginning students attended free of charge in order to attract people to the profession, since teacher pay was so low and the rapidly expanding public schools were in great need of qualified teachers.

Barge Hall was named after Benjamin Franklin Barge, who was the school’s president for its first three years. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places.


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5 thoughts on “Washington State Normal School at Ellensburg

    • Evidently the Normal School movement started in Massachusetts as a system for training educators. The focus was on learning how to inspire children to want to learn, rather than relying on the authoritarian/rote memorization style of teaching that was prevalent at the time. I didn’t see why they chose “normal” though. My maternal grandmother was a grade school teacher and graduated from the Normal School in Bellingham, which is now Western Washington University.


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