Back to School

It’s back to school for many college students across Washington State this week, so in honor of it, here’s a 1960s postcard of Green River Community College!

A view of the present-day Rutkowski Learning Center (RLC) from the west parking lot.

Green River Community College, located in Auburn, WA, welcomed it’s first 750 students on September 20, 1965. Then, the college was composed of only one building, with additional buildings planned to be built in phases. The Library-Learning Center (presently the Rutkowski Learning Center) was the first building on campus, and housed all of the campus’ classrooms and offices, as well as services such as the library and cafeteria. Due to limited space, some classes during the 1965-1966 school year were held nearby in Lea Hill Elementary.

The campus’ original buildings were designed by Sullam & Aehle Architects of Seattle, and were planned with nature in mind. Careful measurements were taken before any trees were cut down, and the humanities and business-industrial complex was built several feet from it’s intended location to preserve an old-growth cedar. Local materials were used wherever possible, including the Green River pea-gravel used in the buildings’ foundations and pebble-dash aggregate walls.

In 1966, the humanities (HS), social sciences (SS), and science technologies (ST) complexes were completed, making room for about 1,500 students. By the fall of 1967, the school had a gym, field house, and performing arts center, and by the early 1970s, a student union building, administration building, and several more classrooms and lecture halls had been completed.

Green River Community College is situated on 240 acres of beautiful, preserved woodland atop Lea Hill, three miles east of Auburn, Washington. The college officially opened September 1965 and was established to offer a comprehensive instructional program to provide educational opportunities for every individual who desires and can profit by further study.

Green River is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary this year, and very little remains of the original campus. The HS-SS complex that made up most of phase 1 of construction was demolished in early 2014 to make way for a new Student Life, or student union, building. The original science and technology complexes have been demolished and replaced with new buildings. The RLC now houses primarily classrooms, but is also the site of the writing center.

In order to reflect the inclusion of select four-year programs at the school and also in honor of the 50th anniversary, Green River Community College officially became Green River College in 2015.

Efforts are currently being made to digitize the school’s entire collection of student newspapers, from 1965 to the present. For further reading and fun facts, the newspapers can be viewed here.


KJR Seattle, Channel 95!

Back in the 1960s, KJR was one of Seattle’s top radio stations. DJs like Pat O’Day, Lan Roberts, Larry Lujack, Tom Murphy, Dick Curtis, and Jerry Kaye entertained the greater Puget Sound area and introduced listeners to swinging music. Although the Top-40 station was hugely popular with the teen and young-adult crowd, among the station’s most loyal listeners were housewives.

Perhaps one of KJR’s most well-remembered disc jockeys, Pat O’Day was also an entrepreneur in the music entertainment business. O’Day hosted concerts, arranged tours, owned clubs, and organized teen fairs. This mid-late 1960s pin was purchased at one of these teen fairs, or teen spectaculars, that were hosted in Seattle, Spokane, and Yakima.

KJR Pin 1
“Channel 95– Funnnnnnnn!”

The Seattle teen spectaculars were hosted in the Seattle Coliseum (now the Key Arena) and featured live music, games, activities, and product displays. Displays focused products that had teen appeal, such as clothing, cosmetics, cars, electronics, and sports equipment. Underneath the permanent risers were four separate “clubs”, featuring new local bands by day and established local bands by night. Big-name groups such as Paul Revere & the Raiders and Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels played a concert on the Coliseum’s main stage at 3 PM and 8 PM.

Admission was $6, which is roughly $44 today.

KJR Pin 2
The fastening mechanism is clearly different than that of today’s pins.

For those of you nostalgic for the old days of KJR, or for those who were not around to witness it, an eight minute compilation of 1960s KJR jingles can be found here. A ten minute set of incredibly “fun” KJR jingles from 1967 can be enjoyed here. And lastly, there is Cruisin’ 1966, a wonderful, but all too short piece of a summertime Pat O’Day program from 1966. Cruisin’ 1966 can be found on LP, CD, or youtube.

Aloha, Aloha Motel

The Aloha Motel opened in the early 1960s as one of the many traveler-focused businesses popping up along Highway 99. This AAA-approved motel boasted wonderful modern amenities including a 24-hour switchboard; Beautyrest mattresses; individual thermostats; and free coffee, TV, and radio.

Aloha Motel, Bellingham
This 1960s-era postcard shows a welcoming oasis not far from the interstate and university.

Soon, Samish Way will bid farewell to this “Paradise of the Northwest”, which has become a mecca for crime and drugs. According to the Bellingham Herald, there were 153 police reports for the motel between October 2013 and October 2014, and 11 of the motel’s 28 rooms tested positive for methamphetamine contamination. These issues really became a concern for the community when a man was beat to death at the Aloha in 2013.

In October 2014, the city council voted to condemn the motel, and made a deal with the owners to purchase the property for $1.58 million. The city took official possession September 2, 2015.

A modern-day view of the Aloha Motel from Google Maps.

A chain link fence and a security guard will soon keep watch over the property, which could be demolished as soon as October 2015. After the demolition, the city will accept ideas for redevelopment. The iconic neon sign will remain on the property, and if a use is not found for it in the redevelopment plans, it could go through surplus.

Postcard Back
Aloha Motel, Bellingham, Washington– 315 Samish Way, RE 3-4900. New, quiet, soundproof. 24 hour switchboard. Beautyrest. Individual thermostats. Free Coffee, radio, and T.V. Paradise of the Northwest. Mr. & Mrs. F.S. Baird, your hosts.