Top photo by Steve Shay
Glacier High School, pictured, is abandoned. It was part of the Highline School District from 1961 to 1985, then shut when SeaTac Airport expansion displaced families there. Alumni just celebrated their 50th reunion from the school, and a book has been released. It was written and compiled by alumni, author, and historian Harland Eastwood, pictured in the book as he looks today with an assortment of his classmates. The Burien Public Library has two hardcovers. The Highline Historical Society helped share memorabilia with Eastwood & others who assisted.

Glacier High School is long gone, but grads will never forget

Compared to Highline High School, which remains open since 1924, Glacier High School, also in the Highline School District, came and went in the blink of an eye. The former school, now a lonely collection of vacated buildings and covered outdoor walkways punctuated by tall stalks of pampas grass on South 142nd St. opened in 1960 and close just 25 years later. The extension of SeaTac Airport caused a demographic population shift resulting in the closure, and those of Puget Sound Junior High, Beverly Elementary School, and others.

Long after its disappearance, its alumni still express school pride. The first graduating class held its 50-year reunion Oct. 6 at nearby Rainier Golf and Country Club. Reunion committee member Harland Eastwood has been publishing a monthly newsletter, "The Avalanche" with old stories and photos pertaining to Glacier High School, plus grade schools and middle schools Glacier alumni had attended.

That led to a book, "Taku Memories", named for the school's annual, and an Alaskan glacier. One hundred copies were made, including about a dozen hardcovers, two going to the Burien Public Library. Copies will also go to the Highline Historical Society for their future Burien Museum. Its curator, Nancy McKay, helped with the project by allowing Eastwood and other committee members access to the Society's collection of Glacier High School photographs and other memorabilia that appear in the book.

Harland Eastwood

"I wasn't a very good student," admitted Eastwood, reached by phone at his home in Ritzville, 220 miles east of Seattle on I-90. "There's no hiding that. I didn't like school at all. I was short credits, and supposed to graduate class of '61. I didn't have a clue of what I wanted to do so I went back for another year. I mostly needed English and maybe some math because I had taken a lot of shop classes, electricity, metal, wood, engine, and just one English class. I did well at shop. If I could 'get my hands on it', then I could probably do it. I just didn't do to well in the academic stuff."

He would go on to author 17 self-published books, most focusing on Ritzville's Adams County history, and he continues to publish.

In his Oct., 2011 edition of Avalanche, Eastwood recounts a somewhat brilliant and humorous strategy he employed to improve his flailing test scores.

He writes: "Some of our readers may remember Cecil Anderson as a typing teacher at Glacier. Your editor was in his class, but typing was definitely not my thing. In my mind typing was a first cousin to home economics and I wanted no part of it (...) I was never fast, although I was reasonably accurate. The name of the game was now speed, which caused me to make more mistakes than usual. We had to take off about five words a minute for each mistake. Much to my horror I found that I was coming out in the hole. In other words I was typing at something like minus 25 or 30 words a minute (...) It occurred to me that I could raise my score by some 20 or 30 points by not typing a single word - the reason being that I had no mistakes. Granted, my score was zero, but it was still an improvement of 25 to 30 words."

This inventive stunt got him kicked out of typing class, his wish in the first place.

In the June, 2012 Avalanche, he recalls Coy’s Highline Theater: "The unique theater was located at 13400 1st Ave, South and was designed by noted theater architect Bjarne Moe and built around the frame of a World War II Quonset Hut. The theater seated 875 people and included an enclosed balcony with a 'crying room' for families with noisy babies. In addition it featured a three bedroom apartment above the lobby. It first opened for business in the fall of 1947. When first entering the lobby there was a large fish pond stocked with Rainbow Trout (...)

Alumni Ron Peterson adds, "In 1955 admission was 9 cents for the Sunday afternoon matinee. The thing that we did was to pay for our admission with a dime, get a penny change and throw the penny in the fish pond."

"I think generally our feeling was it did, and does add a loss to our generation because the school is gone," Eastwood acknowledged. "Highline High School is still there and seems like it's been there forever. Most of our class did attend Evergreen and Highline first, (Eastwood attended Highline) then Glacier beginning in '60 and '61. Back then we attended junior high for three years, then high school for three years."

After Eastwood graduated, during the Vietnam War, he was sent to Japan to set up an army hospital. It's official capacity was 1,000 beds, but they were never below 2,000 beds and often much higher. He got serious about a career upon his return.

"I went to North Seattle Community College to learn the clock and watch repair trade, horology and micro-precison instrumentation classes," he said. "Coincidently, my teacher, George Lewis, happened to be a gymnastic coach, and coached Glacier High School graduate Dale McClements. She was a USA Team member at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, and had the best American AA score."

Keve Bray, Glacier Professor, Activist

Another Glacier notable, pictured in the book, was English teacher Keve Bray, its only African American professor, notable for his role in the black power movement in the Central District in the 1960's, He co-founded the Negro Voters League in 1966, and headed the Black Cultural Center in Seattle. Tragically, he was shot and killed at his front doorstep in Denver in 1972 at age 47 after becoming a Black Muslim, allegedly by members of the Nation of Islam, according to BlackPast.org.

Cliff Heino of West Seattle

West Seattle resident Cliff Heino was on the Glacier High School reunion committee and helped Eastwood with "Taku Memories". Heino started as a "kennel boy" at Rainier Veterinary Hospital on weekends as a teen and would become a vet, and then buy the business. A Marine for two years in Vietnam, one might call him a "veteran veterinarian". At one time his family kept 22 pets in their West Seattle house, including dogs, cats, birds, and ferrets.

"Glacier High School was basically kids of blue collar workers from Boeing," said Heino, whose father was employed by them. "The airport bought up the territory where students lived to expand. So most schools in the area shut down. I'm not angry. It was just history, a demographics change."

Cliff Heino palled around with Robinson Newspapers' Ken and Tim Robinson for two years when all attended Beverly Park Elementary School. Ken was quarterback on their flag football team in 5th and 6th grade. Both families then moved.

"Highline High School had a lot of clique groups," said Heino of his first high school years before transferring to the new Glacier campus, recalling it was difficult to fit in. "Glacier was smaller and you could turn up for almost any sport and get in. (There was) less competition, less status, and everyone got to have fun. I had a broken, paralyzed arm for two years, so I played on the tennis team. I just used my other arm."

Harland Eastwood plans to publish more hardcovers of "Taku Memories". Those interested in purchasing a copy can email him at collectorscorner@ccser.net, or mail him at: 402 East 2nd Avenue, Ritzvile, WA. 99169

UPDATE: I originally posted an incorrect email to reach Harland. It has now been corrected. I am sorry for any inconvenience. Thank you.

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