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Re: "Raising funds for a solid memory" 3-30-16 Star

Letter to the Editor

 


I would like to respond to the Grand Coulee alumni group fund raising article that appeared in The Star newspaper March 30, 2016, and thank them for getting this fund raising started. I want to correct the information of only three high schools being involved; there were actually four high schools.

When the Grand Coulee Dam was started in 1932-33, there were four main towns in the area, including the city of Grand Coulee, with the Grand Coulee High School Tigers, and the town of Coulee Dam, which was originally only on the west side of the river, where the Coulee Dam Credit Union is now. Across the bridge, where Harvest Foods grocery store is, was the town of Mason City, named after one of the main contractors of the building of the dam, where the Mason City High School Beaver existed. About 20 miles north was the town of Nespelem, which had the Nespelem High School Savages.

The towns of Mason City and Coulee Dam were owned, operated, and run by the U. S. government. These were known as government towns, and you rented your homes from the government. In 1947, the U.S. government changed Mason City to Coulee Dam, thus combining the two sides of the river into one town. Mason City High School was renamed Coulee Dam High School, and their mascot was still the Beavers.

In the 1960’s, the Nespelem High School closed its doors, and its high school students entered the Coulee Dam High School system.

In 1971, voters decided to combine the Grand Coulee and Coulee Dam school districts into one. Coulee Dam and Grand Coulee High schools were named Lake Roosevelt High School. Their mascot became the Raiders. This is the history of the four towns and the four school districts of this area and also the history of Mason City High School, now known as Lake Roosevelt High School.

This was a great place to grow up in. I moved to Coulee Dam with my folks and three brothers in 1936. I grew up with the dam. Saw all the activity and history being made. Did you know Mason City had an airport?

I do not feel the sketch in the article of three children kneeling and holding a large ball represents the history or memories of my school. Let the spirit of the four schools be represented on the memorial with words such as in the following example:

“From these four – Mason City High School, Coulee Dam High School, Nespelem High School and Grand Coulee High School – came “Lake Roosevelt High School – Home of the Raiders”

What usually represents a school district? The high school. What represents a high school? Its mascot. The mascots of these high schools would be on this design with a Beaver head, Savage head and Tiger head, and with the names of the four high schools below the dates of the years each school existed and a bust of a Lake Roosevelt Raider head on top.

This idea came out of several discussions I had with a Grand Coulee alumni and is just a sample of what the memorial could look like. The alumni from all our schools should be given the opportunity to submit ideas and designs on how this memorial would honor these four schools, then let the public vote on the best design.

We all have fond memories of our school years. There was a great, friendly rivalry between Mason City/Coulee Dam Beavers and the Grand Coulee Tigers that still exists today, and I remember Nespelem High School having many good basketball teams.

One person should not have the only input and design for this memorial. Three school children does not do it for me. How about you? Would you like to see a contest on the designs? This memorial needs to reflect the history and pride we all have for these four schools and how from these FOUR came “THE MIGHTY LAKE ROOSEVELT HIGH SCHOOL – HOME OF THE RAIDERS.”

Connie Bowman Babler

Coulee Dam Alumni Class of 1952 “Go Beavers”

Editor’s note: Artist Keith Powell did show us several rough sketches for the March 30 article, including some with the school mascots incorporated either overhead or on the backs of the children, as was depicted. He stated he very much wants the community to have input and to be happy with the final design.

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