Saturday, June 06, 2009

Denver's High Schools, Then and Now

Here's another posting reflecting my penchant for depicting historical buildings and sights in Colorado, both then when they were "new" and now as they appear today after whatever number of years of progress.

Today's theme is the four major high school buildings built by the City of Denver in the early 1900s or so. Their common theme was to build something that would "last one hundred years" and that would add to the "City Beautiful" motif espoused by the city fathers of the time period. I also threw in some statuary found near one of the high schools since I managed to find historical photos of the same that I thought interesting.

We start with Denver's South High School. Its cornerstone was laid on October 31st, 1924 and cost $1,252,000 to build. (Try using that budget today to build something similar!) South High School is home to the Rebels.

South Denver H.S. 2009
For a photo of this school, Circa 1925-26
go to DPL: Call# MCC-3692

South Denver H.S. 2009
For a photo of the Back facade South Denver High School Circa 1926
go to DPL: Call#MCC-2863

I next rode on to Denver's West High School located across from the Sunken Gardens on Speer Boulevard. This school started operations in January of 1926 and is the home of the Cowboys.

Postcard Circa 1915-1935

West Denver H.S. 2009
For a photo of West Denver High School Circa 1926
go to DPL: Call# MCC-2975

Next stop was Denver's North High School, which opened for learning on September of 1911. This is the home of the Vikings.

North Denver HS Circa 1915-1930

North Denver H.S. 2009
For a photo North Denver High School Circa 1911-1930
go to DPL: Call# X-28535

Denver's East High School was the last stop and proved to be the most scenic. I had some difficulty finding this huge structure due to having programmed my GPS with the wrong address. A call to neighborhood friends, a search on Google, and I had the right directions. Costing $1,470,000 to build, this school opened its doors in 1925 and is the home of the Angels.

East Denver H.S. 2009
For a photo of the Sullivan Gate and East Denver High School Circa 1930-1940
go to DPL: Call# X28382

East Denver High School 2009
For a photo of East Denver HS Circa 1925-26
go to DPL: Call# MCC-2861

East High School is located next to the Dennis Sullivan Gateway through which the City Park Esplanade runs. It honors Dennis Sullivan, another banker of note apparently, and was built in 1917. The gateways sports two pillars atop of which statues depicting Mining and Agriculture are mounted.


For a photo of Leo Lentelli as he sculpts 'Agriculture,' part of the Sullivan Memorial Gateway Circa 1916-1917
go to DPL: Call# X-27246


To the North of East Denver High School is Denver's City Park. I had spied the statue and fountain below from the high school's grounds and went to get a closer look:

Thatcher Memorial Fountain

From DPL sources:
It was given as a gift to the city of Denver in 1918 by Joseph Addison Thatcher. In the center of the fountain is a 18 foot tall bronze female figure which represents the state of Colorado, three bronze groups that surround her represent "Loyalty", "Learning" and "Love". The artist was Loredo Taft and it cost $100,000 to build. Mr. Thatcher was a member of the Association/Denver National Bank. Member of the original Board of Directors and the bank's first president.

I rode home via Colfax Avenue and cruised down to Gun Club Road and my home neighborhoods as the clouds started rolling in from the west. Some pretty stiff winds were encountered as well, perhaps we'll have some good thunder and lighting storms later this afternoon.

I hope you enjoyed this short tour of the high schools of Denver. Impressive buildings with striking architectural styles. I'm a little curious as to how they've held up on the inside, any graduates of these schools read this blog? Your comments would be most welcome.


dave said...

While I attended none of the above I have been inside 3 of the four. It's been funny to take this little memory trip thru your blog.

East HS, I actually took my P.S.A.T. in this school on a Saturday I believe it was. The inside looked alot like you'd expect a high school to look. Pep banners all round. Lockers up and down all hallways. I didn't appreciate it at the time but i remember the entrance interior being just as elaborate as the exterior.

West, was right around the corner from the Boys Club I attended one summer. We used their athletic fields and in, what I now know, thanks to Google, is 'Sunken Gardens Park'.

North HS. I dated a couple girls from North, and honestly, I can't remember a single thing about it other than there was a spot by the school's track where you couldn't be seen from the main building ;-)
I always thought it odd, architecturally, with those flattened onion dome things on the entrance.
Also remember it was within walking distance from Highland Park which has an amazing old library.

Thanks for another great post.

cpa3485 (JIM) said...

I like your theme of then and now and may borrow the idea on a post of my own sometime.
We have 2 high schools here of roughly the same vintage and very interesting architecture. Really liked your pictures.

Charlie6 said...

dave, thanks for the details and writing in....

cpa3485, as I don't hold a patent on the "then and now" motif, feel free! After all, I am just following in the footsteps of others when doing this. Thanks for writing in...

irondad said...

Your high schools are much more ornate than ours. Our two schools are boxes. The only commonality is that the teams at South Albany are also called Rebels.

You should do "at the beginning of the school year" and the "end of the school year" photos!

Anonymous said...

Denver East and Denver West are two of the most attractive monuments to the Roaring 20s I have ever seen in public schools. Mine looked like cracker boxes on stilts, ca. 1959. However, these two gems from 1925 and 1926 are handsome, lofty and the pinnacle of beauty in my estimation. I have seen East, but never West. However, next trip to Denver, I'm headed for West High School. The designs are classic, stately and most inviting to me. I love these two schools, even though I never attended either.