The Pacific Northwest Forum
Volume VII, Number 2, Pages 21-29
Spring, 1982

Eastern Washington University: A Photo Essay

by the staff of the Pacific Northwest Forum

In 1882 the Benjamin P. Cheney Academy was opened in Cheney, a farm town in Eastern Washington. The school taught high school-level classes for a twelve week term and charged thirty dollars per year tuition. In 1890 the school's Board of Directors offered the building and grounds to the newly formed State of Washington to house an academy for teacher education, and that year Cheney State Normal School began offering classes. During the next ninety years, the school grew to 8,000 students, began offering the B.A. and M.A. degrees, and became Eastern Washington University.

The pictures on the following pages represent four stages in the evolution of Eastern Washington University and four elements in campus life.

Pictures one and two show Cheney as a small village in the days of horses, buggies, and simple wood frame houses. The administration building for "Cheney State Normal School" was surrounded by trees many of which have since given way to campus buildings and city streets.

The next two pictures represent two campus sports, whose popularity has grown rapidly in the twentieth century. By 1902 women were allowed to play basketball, but the Cheney team wore the long dresses thought appropriate to feminine modesty. The men on the 1904 football team were anything but genteel. Several look as if they would as soon throw a punch as carry a football.

Pictures five and six indicate campus fashions in the days before blue jeans and short-sleeved shirts. The women of 1910 wore blouses with balloon sleeves, and the men suffered with high starched collars. In 1925 the girls of Apache House responded to the fashions of the "Roaring Twenties" - note the "daring necklines" on several dresses.

College life can go on for years at a time without reflecting political currents in the outside world. But during the Vietnam War students at Eastern, like other citizens across the country, divided between hawks and doves. The students in pictures seven and eight are protestors in the streets of Spokane and Vietnam veterans at Sutton Hall.

1. Late Nineteenth Century A.L Ames Home in Cheney


2. Cheney State Normal School Administration Building, 1896


3. Women's Basketball Team, 1902


4. Football Team, 1904


5. Class of 1910


6. Apache House Residents, 1925


7. Easten students protesting Vietnam War


8. Eastern students Rallying in Favor of Vietnam War