Although it ceased to operate as a school in 1925, the building continued to serve the community as a Sunday school, dance hall, voting space, and a location for other public events. In 1953, the building closed and sat vacant for over 20 years.
In 1976, the Criterion Schoolhouse began a new life and a 200-mile journey to the Oregon State Fairgrounds. Chosen from more than 50 schools from around Oregon, it served as an exhibit celebrating the bicentennial of the United States. It housed a statewide spelling bee during the fair that year.
Today it’s a must-see for fans of Oregon history.
Criterion Schoolhouse is open to visitors from August 26th-September 5th from 10am-7pm. Visitors can come to hear about the interesting history and see the artifacts.
Children can color sheets that are Oregon pictures while others look at the books that were used at the time of Criterion School. Some date back to the 1800's!
The Criterion School is looking for volunteers to talk to visitors about the history. Volunteers work 3 hour shifts from 10am-1pm, 1pm-4pm and 4pm-7pm. There are two people on each shift.
We encourage donations to help with repairs on the school. We have a new roof, painted on the outside and new windows. We will be working on the ramp and are scheduled for gutters. We appreciate any help we can get! Checks are made out to:
Oregon State Fair Foundation
2330 17th St. NE
Salem, OR 97304
(On memo line of the check, write "Criterion School")