Yakima High School

Yakima High School, as it appeared in the 1920s. The building was located where Davis High School now stands.

Namesake of Davis High School headed Yakima School District

{child_byline}DONALD W. MEYERS

Yakima Herald-Republic{/child_byline}

Today, the name A.C. Davis usually conjures up nostalgia for alumni of the eastside high school.

Davis was a longtime Yakima educator who guided the school district through years of growth while promoting academic excellence.

Angus Charles Davis was born Feb. 1, 1880, in Polo, Ill., to Charles H. and Hattie A. Davis. Davis’ obituary in the Yakima Herald-Republic reported that Davis’ family moved first to Roslyn and then to Yakima by the time Davis was 10, where he attended elementary school. He then attended high school in Ohio and West Virginia. He attended Denison University in Ohio, and later Chicago University.

He went on to teach in Marshall, Texas; McMinnville, Ore.; and Spokane, and was a high school principal in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. He taught science classes — chemistry and physics — in both high schools and colleges.

In 1909, Davis came to Yakima to serve as principal of what was then Yakima High School. At the time, enrollment at the high school was 300 students. He was principal only for about four years, after which he became superintendent of the then-North Yakima School District.

Davis went to France in 1919, in the wake of World War I, as part of the American Education Corps, to assist with Europe’s recovery from what was then deemed “the war to end all wars.”

He was back in the states in 1920, when he became president of the Washington Education Association. He was a member of the American Association of School Administrators and later the Washington State Retired Teachers Association.

Under his leadership, the Yakima School District grew from 3,000 students to 7,000, while Garfield, Adams and McKinley elementary schools were expanded, as was the high school. Jefferson, Madison, Washington and Franklin schools were also built under Davis’ direction.

His first wife, Jessie, died in a car-train crash in 1922. He later married Lois Tweed, a former elementary teacher at Barge Elementary School. They had two children, along with the two from Davis’ previous marriage.

Davis helped raise funds to keep the newly created Yakima Valley College operating. He was also involved with the Yakima YMCA, the Salvation Army, the USO, the local chapter of the American Red Cross, and the city library.

Davis retired in 1947 and died in November 1967 and is buried at Terrace Heights Memorial Park.

Yakima High School was named for Davis in fall 1957, the year Eisenhower High School opened.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the date the high school was named for Davis.

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It Happened here is a weekly history column by Yakima Herald-Republic reporter Donald W. Meyers. He can be reached at dmeyers@yakimaherald.com or on Twitter: donaldwmeyers, or https://www.facebook.com/donaldwmeyersjournalist/