Charles Shumway

Charles Shumway

cshumwayWhen Charles Shumway learned that a new junior high school had been named for him in 1928, he wiped away several tears and commented:
“You should not have done it — really you should not.”

But the Vancouver citizenry agreed that the honor was well deserved. Shumway had come to town in 1895 as superintendent of schools, and at the time the school was completed, 33 years later, he was still in the same job.

Altogether, he served 35 years as superintendent.

Shumway was born in Iowa in 1861 and received a degree at Cornell College in Iowa in 1888. He was principal of Miles, Iowa, schools before coming to Vancouver.

When Shumway arrived in Vancouver, the town had been hard hit by the Depression of the 1890s.

“The town was so dead that nobody had the life to bury it,” the superintendent recalled.

His wife said that on the train ride from Iowa, the Shumways had passed through places called Hope and Paradise, and they had truly left both behind.

At the time, Vancouver had four schools. Better economic times arrived in several years, and by the time Shumway’s superintendency was finished, the town had 11 schools.

Shumway described his work as delightful and inspiring.

He added: “Nothing, it seems to me, could stimulate a man to the best there is in him more than to stand before a group of boys and girls full of energy and enthusiasm and eager for the suggestion and guidance which will help them to realize their ambitions and their hopes.”