The Student News Site of Marshfield High School

The Marshfield Times

The Student News Site of Marshfield High School

The Marshfield Times

The Student News Site of Marshfield High School

The Marshfield Times

Honoring the past to inspire the future

Marshfield High School was established around 1896, and holds a rich and fascinating history that spans over a century. From the very first small building, MHS has achieved numerous state championships, expanded its campus with new buildings, and changed throughout the years in more ways than one.

MHS used to be known as Central School and was located in the middle of town. In 1908, the school received a $15,000 bond so they could build a new campus. There, they built the first building later known as the East Branch. James Grant Fergusson, a Stanford University graduate of distinction in 1908, served as the school’s first principal. Fergusson, who held the rank of 2nd lieutenant in the 8th battalion, was born in 1889.

Progress continued In 1915, when a small gym with a pool was added to the campus. Unfortunately, the pool had a leak from the very beginning so they never ended up using it, and instead used it as a storage for old books. 

The Harding building, which was located right down the hill, was built in 1923. This building was named after the 29th U.S. president and has been used for many different purposes. Before it was torn down in 2020 to build the new junior high school, it was used by the alternative school program, Destinations. 

In 1939 the main building, auditorium, and west gym were added. The principal at the time lived on Ingersoll, so he could enter where the cafeteria is located today. The school’s design even included a system so he could turn on lights as he came through the building in the morning. The main building was extended on the northside in 1953, and the west side in 1962.

In 1952, the main gymnasium was built. It was initially known as the boy’s gym, while the west gym served as the girl’s gym. In the basement of the main gym, the original weight room was installed, which also served as a venue for the rifle club.

After standing for more than 90 years, the east branch, despite its sentimental value to the town, began to show its age. 

The East branch was bad,” said Marshfield Junior High Principal Floyd Montiel. “You could put a marble on the floor and it would roll down hill. Tiles were falling, it was just in bad shape and it was very old.” 

According to a long-told story, it took a tile collapsing onto someone’s desk to finally convince the community that it was time to let it go. With the construction of pirate hall in 2000, they tore the east branch down and made it a parking lot for students. 

Pirate hall was originally constructed to serve as a math and science building, much like the east branch. Relatively speaking, pirate hall is a new building for MHS. 

“It turns out that when they were building the main building, they had just finished clearing out the land and they had put any trees in where pirate hall is,” said former MHS Principal Arnie Roblan. “They then covered it all up and it became a parking lot. When they decided to build Pirate Hall there, they checked the land and couldn’t find any ground underneath. So they had to drill holes down and build concrete pillars to hold down the new building. They ended up with around 187 of them to hold the building and they said that if there is ever a really big earthquake the ground beneath might go away but the building would still be standing.”  

During high school reunions, former students are treated to a tour of the school, a tradition currently led by Montiel. Prior to Montiel, the tours were led by Roblan. 

 “Older groups from the 50’s or 60’s always ask about the senior bench,” said Montiel. “Right outside of the front of the main building, where the ramp is, there used to be a bench there that was donated by the class of 1921. There were all of these myths about how it was possibly stolen by North Bend students, but they really didn’t know. The truth was, they were going to move it for maintenance and it fell apart.” 

Montiel also points out that the old photos in heritage hall show the student council sitting on a stairwell. People always ask where those stairs are located. This was the original staircase that took students and staff to the second floor; they were right where the main office is today.

 Marshfield’s legacy includes its first state championship in football, achieved in 1942. Over the years, the school has won an impressive number of state championships across various sports, including volleyball, basketball, track and field, football, golf, swimming, and more. The school continues to win more state championships every year.

In the early years, opportunities for girls in sports were limited. It wasn’t until the 1960s that girls gained access to sports teams like tennis, swimming, gymnastics, and track. Before that, there was a club known as the Girl’s Athletic Association.

In 1972, Mary Paczesniak, a 1968 Marshfield graduate, started the first power volleyball team. Unfortunately, girls didn’t receive recognition in the sports department, and they were denied the honor of receiving letters for their achievements.

“Our tennis team were state champions but we didn’t get a letter,” Paczesniak says. “The rivalry between North Bend and Marshfield was also always a huge deal but once again it was only boys.” 

In 2008, she decided that it wasn’t fair that only boys were recognized in the past for their athletic accomplishments by getting a letter, so she took action by reaching out to numerous past graduates who have participated in girls’ sports and generously awarded them with letters.

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About the Contributor
Becky DeGan, Reporter
Sophomore Becky DeGan is a second-year member of the Marshfield Times Staff. She is very involved in Speech and Debate, the National Honors Society and Younglife. In her free time she enjoys listening to music, reading, hiking, going to concerts, and cuddling with her cat. Her favorite season is fall and she loves the rain. She cares a lot about her grades and is striving to graduate with her honors diploma, and attend a four year university. Becky loves drinking Tea, baking, thrifting, and she often finds herself stressing over homework.
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