- Built: 1917
- Architect: Ellis Lawrence
- Designation: Local historic district
- Significance: Stripped classical architecture, Community Planning, Education
- Current Status: The building has been left unoccupied with little hope of reuse in sight. Demolition by neglect may be in play, with minimum maintenance and security Baker City Middle School is vulnerable to vandalism, water intrusion, and exposure to the elements.
News and Updates
Reuse efforts stalled due to lack of community support
Historic Baker City, Inc., investigating strategies for reuse of school
October 5, 2011
Public program on adaptive reuse of historic schools was held on October 5th, 2011 at the Geiser Grand Hotel, Baker City.
Several potential reuse ideas are being explored, including housing, community college, and community theater
June 1, 2011:
New life for an old school?
Outlet: Baker City Herald
Established in 1874, by the early 1900s the city then known as Baker residents were eager to make their mark on the new Century. One step towards modernizing Baker came in 1915 when a design competition was announced to construct a new high school for the city. Despite a population of just 7,000, city leaders had vision.
The school was to be built right in the center of town. City Hall, the Carnegie Library, and the County Courthouse were located just down the street, making it an optimal location for another public monument to the new era.
Eight submissions were received, including designs from A.E. Doyle, Morris Whitehouse, and Sutton and Whitney. But the winning design came from Portland architect Ellis Lawrence.
Lawrence had come to Oregon in 1906 and by the time of the competition had risen to top ranks of the state’s architects. He was a pioneer in Arts and Crafts design, first president of the Oregon chapter of the AIA, campus planner and head of the architecture school at the University of Oregon.
Baker City High School is a testament to Lawrence’s mastery of design. The building is made of local tuft-stone, indigenous to this area, and embodies a stripped classical idiom.
Today the building is vacant and in need of a new vision. It has been suffering from neglect and the school district has plans to sell the property. It needs our support to find a new use and reclaim its position as one of Baker City’s architectural gems.
** Rendering at top of page thanks to University of Oregon Libraries