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Brief History of Jefferson Lincoln

The name of the Jefferson Lincoln School comes from the consolidation of two schools in the late 1950s, Jefferson and Lincoln. The original Jefferson school, built in 1923, was on the present day site. 

In 1957 a new Jefferson Lincoln school opened. It was built as part of $1,365,000 (equivalent to $12,440,056.23 in 2019) voter approved financing plan. The same bond plan financed the construction of Centralia Middle School. The cost of the 8-room addition was $198,406 (about $1,808,191.79 in 2019). The Jefferson-Lincoln name was formally approved in February 1958. It opened as a kindergarten through 6th grade school. The building was dedicated on October 24, 1958. 

A wood addition was added to the original Jefferson Building containing 6 classrooms and a multipurpose room, as well as the office space many of us have been familiar with. This configuration lasted until the late 1970s.

During a levy failure in 1972, Jefferson Lincoln was closed and students were temporarily transferred to other schools. 

In 1978, a new classroom building was added to the 1957 structure and the original Jefferson school building was demolished. The familiar configuration of Jefferson Lincoln was complete. The school would not receive any further substantial modifications.

Jefferson Lincoln was the subject of many attempts to pass bonds for modernization throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. Finally, in 2017, Centralia voters approved a $74 million bond to completely replace Jefferson Lincoln and Fords Prairie and to modernize Centralia High School. 

In July 2019, the Jefferson-Lincoln building that had served generations of Centralia's elementary students was demolished to make way for new outdoor learning and playground space. The new Jefferson-Lincoln school is the third school building to occupy the Summa St. property. 

Newspaper clipping from 1958

An October 25, 1958 clipping from The Daily Chronicle reporting on the dedication ceremony for the Jefferson-Lincoln School

tree planting

In the top photo, students are shown planting a tree on the property in about 1994. The same tree is shown with kindergarten students in June 2019 in the bottom photo. 


Children on the playgroud in the early 1990s. The old covered play area had many interesting paint designs through the years. 


A classroom scene in the early 1990s. Not much changed in the building other than some carpeting between this photo and the buiding's demolition.

family photo

Students and staff gather in front of the old school for one more family photo at the end of the 2018-19 school year. 

Drone image old and new

An aerial image shows the new Jefferson Lincoln building under construction next to the old building in October 2018.

New jl construction

The new Jefferson Lincoln under construction in December 2018.

demolition of JL

Demolition work underway in July 2019.


Demolition work underway in July 2019.


Short video showing the change in the property at Jefferson Lincoln, includes both the new and old buildings. 


Time-lapse video of construction of the new Jefferson-Lincoln school.