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The Puyallup School District was organized in 1854, and was the third school district formed in the state of Washington. Fort Maloney, also known as the "Blockhouse," was built on the south bank of the Puyallup River. It was used by U.S. soldiers as a storehouse and was occupied by the John Carson family. Emma Carson was the first teacher in Puyallup and had four students in the Blockhouse School in 1861. Fort Maloney also served as the first post office.

Several one-room log schools were built in the area to serve the children of the pioneer families moving to the west. Also, Puyallup's hop crop was booming. This and a stave (strips of wood that make a barrel) factory attracted many families to Puyallup.

In February 1885, a vote was taken calling for the building of a school. According to the "Puyallup Notes" section of the Tacoma Ledger, "The children suffered very much in the old log schoolhouse during the recent cold weather. People hesitate to settle here because of the poor condition of our school buildings. Something ought to be done at once." The result was the building of Central School, which cost the town $3,035. The Karshner Museum stands today where Central School was built. About 305 first- through eighth-grade students were the first to attend.

By 1891, settlers were flocking to Puyallup, having heard that it was a thriving agricultural center, and that it had a new "state-of-the-art" school. Central School began the 1889-90 school year with four classrooms:

     • First grade taught by Miss Ankrom had 82 pupils.
Second grade taught by Miss Lacey had 69 pupils.
Third and fourth grades taught by Miss Addie Hubbard had 67 pupils.
Fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grades were together taught by Professor Dresbach and his wife, and had 87 pupils.

With such overcrowded classrooms, two new schools were planned: Maplewood and Spinning elementary schools.

Since then, the Puyallup School District has continued to grow. More than 150 years later, the district is home to 21 elementary schools, seven junior high schools, three high schools, and one alternative high school.

District timeline

     • 1854 - Puyallup School District established

     • 1861 - First school held in the Blockhouse

     • 1864 - Franklin School opened (also called "Log School")

     • 1871 - Liberty School opened (also called "Green School")

     • 1884 - Woodland School opened

     • 1886 - Central School opened

     • 1889 - Washington statehood established

     • 1890 - Meeker Elementary School opened (also called "Pink School")

     • 1891 - Maplewood and Spinning elementary schools opened

     • 1895 - Firgrove School opened

     • 1906 - Bryant School opened (became Riverside School)

     • 1910 - Puyallup High School opened

     • 1913 - Waller Road Elementary School opened (previously named Woodrow School)

     • 1923 - Stewart Elementary School opened

     • 1930 - Firgrove elementary school opened and Karshner Museum established

     • 1938 - Edgemont School opened

     • 1953 - Karshner Elementary School opened

     • 1956 - East Junior High School opened (renamed Kalles Junior High)

     • 1957 - Hilltop Elementary School opened, Edgemont School became Edgemont Junior High School

     • 1962 - West Junior High School opened (renamed Aylen Junior High)

     • 1965 - Fruitland Elementary School opened

     • 1966 - Mt. View and Wildwood Park elementary schools opened

     • 1968 - Rogers High School opened

     • 1970 - Ballou Junior High School opened

     • 1973 - Sunrise Elementary School opened

     • 1974 - Northwood Elementary School opened

     • 1975 - Walker High School opened (previously named Puyallup Continuation School)

     • 1981 - Ridgecrest and Pope elementary schools opened

     • 1982 - Ferrucci Junior High School opened

     • 1990 - Hunt and Brouillet elementary schools opened

     • 1992 - Shaw Road Elementary School opened

     • 1993 - Stahl Junior High School opened

     • 1996 - Zeiger Elementary School opened

     • 2000 - Emerald Ridge High School opened

     • 2007 - Carson and Edgerton elementary schools opened

     • 2008 - Glacier View Junior High School opened

     • 2019 - Dessie F. Evans Elementary School opened