Garden Home Gazette

In the 1950’s and 1960’s the Garden Home PTA published a newsletter, the GARDEN HOME GAZETTE. The newsletter provided the community with current state, county and local information relating to Garden Home School. It included articles on bond measure, local school elections and any changes in education being proposed locally along with PTA news. It was also mailed out to interested parties whose children were not attending the school.

The Gazette came out monthly during the school year and usually included a message from the Principal, sometimes the District Superintendent and the District 48 School Board Chairman and classroom news. PTA Board members, school faculty and representatives of local community organizations also submitted articles.

The newsletter was often the primary means of reaching parents and community members concerned with the changes occurring in the district. One major topic during that period was the need for additional school buildings to house the growing youth population resulting from new construction in the district. At issue was the need for three new middle schools, which were subsequently built.

But the Garden Home Gazette was important to the community in ways beyond its goal of informing the community on educational happenings. Some articles give us a picture of subjects then relevant to the times.

One such was the need to prepare American families for the possibility of a nuclear attack. Information on this reached parents in Garden home through short pieces provided by the Gazette on emergency preparedness, information on ordering identification tags for family members, and school policies for the safety of children should an attack occur during school hours. The March 21, 1961 issue announced the PTA had arranged for Mr. Leonard Dunlap, Washington County Civil Defense Director, to be that month’s guest speaker.

Another on-going story concerned the inability of children being able to safely walk to school along Garden Home Road. Community Leaders were then working at finding a solution for this by constructing a bike path along Garden Home Road. The process was a long one and discussions on this found a place in the monthly paper cautioning patience in working with County Road Department. Lou Herder, Chairman of the Garden Home Road Path Committee, provided updates on the path project. The path became one of the first bike paths constructed in Washington County.  It continues today to provide safe pedestrian foot traffic along Garden Home Road between SW 92nd Avenue and Oleson Road.

Winifred Hughes, the school reporter, wrote in the November 1960 issue, that for the first time the school had a full-time librarian, Mrs. Donna Hanson. From this the school library, with volunteer labor and community support would later become the Garden Home Community Library.

Such articles, along with a monthly calendar of events were the main stay of the Gazette but almost every month, fully half of the publication, was given over to community organizations wishing to publicize their activities.  Most of these were youth groups: Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H, and Campfire. But space was also provided to local adult organizations such as the League of Women Voters, the women’s organizations at the Lutheran and Methodist Churches, the Extension group, and the Beaverton High PTA.

The November, 1961 issue of the Gazette announces the Garden Home Water District will be holding a meeting on November 20 during which “the commissioners propose to expand the transmission and storage facilities of the Water District at a cost of approximately $135,000,” And the following November we find

“Homemade chicken-and noodles and a surprise apple dessert will be featured at a dinner at the Garden Home Methodist Church on Saturday, Nov.12.”

The GAZETTE was a newsletter, written and published by PTA volunteers and in a small community where the school population was than less than 500 students the GARDEN HOME GAZETTE played a most important role in keeping its residents informed of important issues and provided a bridge between the school, the parents and the greater community. Each monthly newsletter consisted of five or six pages totaling as many as 6000 copies each year at a budgeted cost to the PTA of about $600.00. It cost one cent per issue to mail.

The issues reviewed for this article, March 1958 through June 1962, were provided by Marge Ross who was the editor of the newsletter from January 1961 through June 1962.  The newsletters where typed on stencils at home and taken to school to be duplicated. Frances Russell and Fran Rice, with occasional help from students, stapled, folded, addressed, stamped and bundled the pages for bulk mailing.

Virginia Vanture, November 10, 2011

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