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Schoolwide birthday

Griffin Creek prepares to celebrate the school's centennial (at its current location)

Bright-eyed children at Griffin Creek Elementary School are about to throw a 100-year birthday party for their oldest companion ' the school itself.

Friday, 552 students will celebrate the centennial of Griffin Creek, beginning with an assembly at 8:10 a.m.

The school actually dates to 1854, but in early years it was twice destroyed by fire. It was built at its current location on Griffin Creek Road in 1902, and it burned again in 1969.

There's a real fire history attached to Griffin Creek School, said Principal Ginny Hicks.

In fact, there is a lot of history attached to Griffin Creek. The school made up the second school district formed in Jackson County. Jacksonville was the first.

To celebrate the history of the school, teachers, students and parents will try to give the campus a turn-of-the-last century feel on Friday.

The PTO will make the stage look like it did in the early 1900s, said Hicks. We'll have a pot-bellied stove and slates that the kids used to write on.

Librarians will read stories from the 1900s, a harpist will play and the students will print the number 100 in chalk on the field.

The only thing we really need is a wagon for the kids, said Hicks. Since the school can't afford to rent one, Hicks hopes that someone can lend an old-fashioned wagon for the day.

Documents and photos depicting the school's history will be on display, including a former principal's list of rules for students, such as how to get on the bus or comportment while in the cafeteria.

Looking at the list, Hicks smiled. It hasn't changed that much whether it's 20 years ago or 60 years.

A former principal, Boyd Gibson, 79, of Medford worked at Griffin Creek in 1953, left for a while, then returned to witness one of the school's disasters.

I was there when the building burned in 1969, said Gibson, who continues as a consultant for the district. This is his 50th year with Medford schools.

the time crews responded to the electrical fire, it was too late to save Griffin Creek ' similar to the fate of Eagle Point Middle School, destroyed this year in a fire on Aug. 29.

All we could do was get long poles and push everything into the middle to keep it contained, remembered Gibson.

Fire has plagued the school since before it was called Griffin Creek.

The Indians burned it first, said Gibson.

A year after the first school was started in 1854, a fire destroyed it and some nearby log cabins. Then, in 1857, another raid and fire destroyed the log station housing the schoolroom, according to school documents.

In 1858, a one-room schoolroom was built, but classes were held only two months a year.

1884, the Medford School District was formed, taking with it many of Griffin Creek's students.

In 1958, Griffin Creek became part of the Medford School District.

Griffin Creek Elementary School sixth-graders, taking a break from an outdoor lunch, are ready to celebrate the school?s 100th anniversary Friday. The school dates to 1854, but it has been at its current location since 1902. Mail Tribune / Bob Pennell - Mail Tribune Bob Pennell