|Parrish Middle School was built at Capitol Street
NE, in a cluster of oak trees called Parrish Grove,
on what had been the donation land claim of pioneer Josiah L.
Parrish. Reverend Parrish was a missionary who came to Oregon
with Jason Lee in 1840. In 1854 he was appointed an Indian agent.
Reverend Parrish also was a circuit riding preacher in the Willamette
Valley and chaplain at the state prison. He is credited with
donating much land, time and money to the cause of education
in the early years of Salems history. He died in 1895
and is buried in Jason Lee Cemetery.
In March, 1923, a $500,000 bond issue was approved to add
to and update the overcrowded Salem schools. Later that year,
the Salem Chamber of Commerce strongly supported adding another
$225,000 to the bond issue to build a junior high school.
At this time, junior high classes were being held in the old
Washington School, which was located at Center and 12th Streets
NE, with other junior high classes being held at McKinley
School located in South Salem. The Chamber of Commerce fully
supported adding the extra $225,000 to build a junior high
school and Dr. H. H. Olinger, head of the school board, said
that the situation was intolerable and getting worse
and encouraged voters to approve the extra funding. In November,
1923, voters heard Dr. Olinger's appeal, and approved the
bond issue that included money for construction of a new junior
high school. Students originally voted to name the new junior
high school Harding School, after President Harding, but the
school board chose to name the school after pioneer, Reverend
Josiah L. Parrish.
When Parrish Junior High School opened on September 29, 1924
there were 793 students in grades seven through nine. The
first principal of Parrish was Mr. H. F. Durham, who along
with his staff, moved to Parrish School from Washington School
which was eventually torn down. In 1951, Safeway built their
first Salem grocery store on this site, at Center and 12th
In 1999, Parrish Middle School celebrated its 75th
anniversary. The auditorium where the anniversary ceremonies
were held was built in 1948, along with a gymnasium and other
school spaces. In 1979, under the guidance of then principal,
the late Darrell Crossler, Parrish Junior High School became
Parrish Middle School. In the late 1990's, the building was
completely remodeled and updated. Through the years, about
60,000 students have attended Parrish.
The building and the Salem community are fiercely proud of
its heritage and history. Currently, Parrish Middle School
has a staff of 60, with grades 6 through 8 and an enrollment
of 549 students. The principal is Mr. Michael Johnson, and
the assistant principal is Ms. Shari Burgess. Parrish Middle
Schools nickname is the Pioneers.