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Visit to Midway 3: Lesson 3 with Miss Bennett

Penmanship, Arithmetic, and Music

How are you at addition and subtraction? Are you good at memory games? Do you love music? Then this lesson is for you. Join Miss Bennett as she teaches penmanship (handwriting), arithmetic (math), and music. In the days before television and Internet, musical instruments such as guitars, fiddles, autoharps and concertinas were a common way of making music and passing the time on the Northwest frontier.

If you could add, read, and write you could sell products from the family farm or track the payouts from fishing. These skills were valuable for young and old as the community grew.

Practice your skills with Miss Bennett in the video below.

Where to go from here?

Many early residents of Gig Harbor and the surrounding communities didn't continue school beyond the 6th or 8th grade. There was work to do, and the first high school wasn't built until the 1920s. Gig Harbor Union High School was the meeting ground for students from all around the Peninsula. In fact, even the high school's yearbook adopted a secret and mysterious name: PERCLAWAM. What did it mean? Only people of the time were in the know. For the name was neither place nor person, but rather made up from the first letter of the local one-room schools: Purdy, Elgin, Rosedale, Crescent Valley, Lincoln, Artondale, Wollochet, Arletta, and Midway.

And where was this Gig Harbor Union High School with its mysterious PERCLAWAM yearbook? It was located where Harbor Ridge Middle School stands today. But it hasn't always been "Harbor Ridge." Can you guess what infamous teacher gave the school its second name? Stay tuned for this and more schoolhouse history mysteries in future posts.



"Virtual Schoolhouse, Lesson 3" video by Vester Media for the Harbor History Museum.

The "Virtual Schoolhouse" series was funded by a CARES Act grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Thanks to Leann O'Neill for bringing Miss Bennett to life.

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