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History of Mont Downing Elementary

aerial-downing-for-web.jpgAerial photographs of the city's northend were taken on March 2, 1963. Street running vertically on right side of photograph is No. 21st St.; note many towers spaced in middle of street. Between No. 21st and No. 26th Sts. is Downing Elementary School at 2502 No. Orchard.

Why are we named Mont Downing Elementary?
Obituary From "Tacoma News Tribune," April 24, 1947:

Death Takes Educator

Montgomery J. Downing, 50, principal of Jason Lee junior high school, died Thursday at a local hospital, where he had been a patient since April 13, when he was stricken with a heart attack while on a hike at Fox Island with the Tacoma Mountaineers' club.

Mr. Downing, who began his teaching career in a one room school house north of Spokane in 1915, was assistant superintendent of the Tacoma school system from 1934 until 1946, when he took the position of junior high school principal.

He was considered one of the most active members of the Mountaineers' club and was enthusiastic in his support of boys' work at the Tacoma Y.M.C.A., where he had been a director for more than 18 years. He assisted with summer camp work and took a keen interest in youth programs.
Mr. Downing was born in Missoula, Mont. (his first name is for Montana), was graduated from Lewis and Clark high school in Spokane and taught in grammar schools, while he took additional studies at Eastern Washington Teaching college in Cheney.

He was graduated in 1919, attended Stanford university for one year and received his master's degree from the University of Washington in 1921. He came to Tacoma to become principal of Sherman and Grant schools, where he remained until he became principal of Fern Hill school in 1922. He remained until 1929, when he became principal of Central school.

He was a member of the Masons, Phi Delta Kappa, a men's honorary educational society, and Tacoma Rotary club.

He was a bachelor and is survived by relatives in Iowa, including a cousin, Mrs. Roy E. Bailey of Selma, Ia. His home in Tacoma was at 423 South G street. Buckley-King will announce services.

 Series: A47819 Image#: 30 Date: 03-07-1950
An exterior view of Mont Downing Elementary School designed by Lea, Pearson and Richards, Architects. The school was named after Mont Downing, a Tacoma educator who had been an elementary school principal 13 years and district assistant superintendent 11 years. The building had eight classrooms, an auditorium/lunchroom and a large basement playing area; the building cost was $350,000. (TNT, 8/19/1949, p.10) TPL 1558.