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School district celebrates 100 years: Centennial commemoration is this Sunday at Burlingame’s McKinley Elementary School
September 21, 2013, 05:00 AM By Angela Swartz Daily Journal

Photo courtesy of the Burlingame Elementary School District
McKinley Elementary School, Burlingame Grammar School at the time, in 1913.

McKinley Elementary School as it is today.

With 100 years under its belt, the Burlingame Elementary School District is celebrating with cake, vintage games, a juggler for children, a car exhibition, a performance by the West Bay Community Band and more this Sunday.

As the first school in the district, this is also the 100th anniversary for McKinley Elementary School. Tours of the McKinley school buildings, along with the opportunity to talk with representatives from the Burlingame Historical Society, will run from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, the actual 100-year anniversary date.

“It should be fun,” said Superintendent Maggie MacIsaac. “I hope everyone comes to that day; we’re going to go ahead and celebrate all year long, especially at McKinley.”

There will be a centennial logo design, T-shirts and celebrations at special events like the Harvest Festival.

Originally Burlingame Grammar School, McKinley’s name changed to usher in a second grammar school, Washington Elementary, in 1915. Around that time, all the schools in the district were typically named after U.S. presidents.

Public officials will offer proclamations at the event, including Supervisor Dave Pine, Mayor Ann Keighran, Councilman Michael Brownrigg and state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo. MacIsaac and school board President Davina Drabkin will lead a ceremony. Speakers will honor the birthday and discuss moving forward with 21st century learning. There will be a ribbon cutting to mark the refurbishment of school buildings.

In 1911, Burlingame residents voted to approve the school district and began plans to build a permanent school. During the construction, a temporary eight-room schoolhouse was built in 1912 on Howard and Primrose avenues, according to the Burlingame Historical Society.

This new school came as a result of Burlingame’s population jumping from 200 to 1,000 shortly after the 1906 earthquake, according to the society. At that time, the children of Burlingame were schooled through the county at the Burlingame School on Peninsula Avenue and County Road, now El Camino Real. Burlingame School was built in 1906 and later changed its name to Peninsula Avenue Schools.

The well-known California architect William H. Weeks was hired to design McKinley, which is located on the corner of Oak Grove and Paloma avenues. Paloma was formerly called Grange. Weeks was well-known at time for creating brick exterior. In the school’s modernization over the in last several years, the school has gone back to the blonde brick detail. The columns at the building are also a trademark of Weeks.

“It’s a unique and unusual looking school,” MacIsaac said. “It’s been much loved.”

In the early 1920s, there were cookbook sales and Fathers Clubs events.

Other schools followed. In 1919, Roosevelt Elementary School opened, with Pershing following in 1921, Coolidge Elementary School in 1926, Hoover Elementary School in 1930, Lincoln Elementary School in 1950, Burlingame Intermediate School in 1953 and Franklin Elementary School in 1958. These schools will put on their own 100-year anniversary celebrations as well.

Currently, the district has five elementary schools and one middle school. A committee of people from across the district, including board members, and parents helped organized the celebration.

Food will be available for purchase from The Melt and Bay Area Ice Cream trucks.

The centennial celebration will be at McKinley, 701 Paloma Ave. in Burlingame.


(650) 344-5200 ext. 105



Tags: school, burlingame, elementary, district, schools, mckinley,

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