The little town of Freeman, Washington, located 19 miles south of Spokane was all open timber country in the early days. Shortly after the Union Pacific Railroad was built in 1879 , clay was discovered near the railroad where the town of Mica is now located. Both the Spokane Inland Empire Railroad and O.W.R. &R. ran lines through Freeman. Land at the time could be purchased for $1.25 per acre.
Most of the homesteaders came from the mid-western states between 1880 and 1885. Most came by wagon trains with their covered wagons. Many choose to clear land and make their living by farming. Some cut wood and sold it for $1.25 a cord and others found work at the brickyard.
By 1888 Washington Brick and Lime Company was operating at Mica and was incorporated in 1889. The summer after downtown Spokane burned down, Washington Brick and Lime also built plants at Freeman, Clayton and Dishman. They had to produce 100,000 bricks a day to rebuild the city.
Quite a number of businesses sprang up over the next few years. Most of them survived for some time but the only lone survivor today is what was known as the C.P. Thomas Mercantile and Post Office. In addition to that store was the Magnuson Freeman Mercantile, located just north of our Freeman Grade School. Next to this store was the Freeman Hotel where many of the brickyard workers lived.In 1916 Martin Honstead built and operated a garage on the corner of Jackson and Highway 27. He also built a small confectionery just north of the garage. The blacksmith shop was built in 1909 and was located just south of the garage. This blacksmith shop also sold John Deere Machinery. Wilbur Barnhart operated a barber shop for a number of years before moving to Mica. Then there was also a meat market and Lee's Shoe Repair that was located down in the "alley" south of the Magnuson Mercantile store. For recreation there was a pool hall (Woodman's Hall) and Freeman had a baseball team. The people even had a choice of churches. Freeman had a Baptist and an Evangelical church. A book entitled "Washington State Place Names" by Hames W. Phillips say that "Freeman" was originally a railroad station named in 1889 for telegrapher Freeman W. Freeman. The neighboring town of Rockford was named by pioneer D.C. Farnsworth in 1879 because of many fording spots used to cross Rock Creek which went through the center of the town.
In the early days there was no electricity until 1936, the roads were dirt until about 1950 and most students walked to school carrying their lunches in a lard bucket. The Freeman School - first built in about 1910 - was a completely wood structure with windows on both sides and a small entrance way at each end called a "cloak room." The building was heated with a Jacketed coal stove and was lighted by hanging gasoline lamps or lanterns. The drinking water was in a jug in the cloak room and disposable cups were used. There were no bathrooms and the only accommodations were the boys and girls "two holes."
In about 1921 a brick veneer siding was added which made the school look "very stately on the hill." Electricity finally came in about 1936 and eliminated the gas lights, making it possible to get water into the building. The indoor plumbing made it possible for the installation of drinking fountains and bathrooms.
All of these districts combined in 1955 to form the Freeman School DistrictRockfordLindberghSunnyside
formed April 24, 1941
consolidation of districts 87 (Mica) and 345 (Rockford)
April 30, 1944 district 313 (Elder cemetery area) joined
- formed March 22, 1932
- consolidation of Districts 333 (Richmond, Duncan Canyon, and Bruna Road schools) and 185 (Valleyford)
- August 22, 1944, district 114 (Cottonwood) joined
- District 44 (Freeman) annexed by Lindberg on May 31, 1940
- unknown date of forming
- original non-high school district until 1955
Freeman Schools Today
Freeman Elementary School
14917 South Jackson Road
Rockford, WA 99030
Visit School SiteFreeman Middle School
15001 South Jackson Road
Rockford, WA 99030
Fax: 509.291.3636Freeman High School
14626 South Jackson Road
Rockford, WA 99030