The Midway Schoolhouse was built in 1893 and is the last remaining
pre-1900 schoolhouse on the peninsula that has not been moved or significantly altered. In 2004, Alice Murphy Doyle donated the schoolhouse to the society in hopes that one day the building would again be filled with the sound of student voices. The donation also included the teacher's desk, a student desk, a piano, various school books, and maps.
Once restoration is complete, the schoolhouse will provide visiting school children with the opportunity to experience life at the turn of the century --firsthand.
History: a school for Midway
As the peninsula's population grew during the last years of the 19th century, it became clear to the residents that a schoolhouse was needed in their area for the purpose of formally educating their children. On Sept. 17, 1892, School District #79 was formed from part of School District #14 (Artondale). Soon after, the Dow family donated one square acre of land to the district to be used as the site of the new school. Community member J.J. More began building the structure June 6, 1893 on the property. The building was completed on August 3, 1893, for the total cost of $135. The school opened in the fall of 1893.
The year 1914 brought many changes for the Midway Schoolhouse. The windows were moved from the south side of the building to the north side, most probably for winter sun. In that same year, the school finally received a name: the students chose the name Midway because of its location "mid way" between Gig Harbor and Pt. Fosdick.
In 1941, the Midway School District was consolidated with several others to form Peninsula School District #401. Midway closed its doors for the final time that summer. Both building and land reverted back to the Dow family. Soon after, the property was sold, including the schoolhouse, to the Murphy family, whose children had attended Midway. The adjacent community hall was transformed into the residence. The abandoned school as used for storage, and then by Pat Doyle (who married Alice Murphy) as a wood shop. Thanks to Pat, the building remained intact and kept in good condition.
For the future
The Harbor History Museum will be moving the schoolhouse in the summer of 2008. Volunteers will be needed for this most important project. Donations of cash and materials for the restoration will be greatly appreciated.
Call the society at 253.858.6722 for more information or to volunteer for the restoration project.
Midway Schoolhouse Living History Day program
After restoration is complete, educators and their students can experience an authentic pioneer school day at the Midway Schoolhouse. | More
To sign up for the program, call 253.858.6722 or email: