Polytechnic High School



The History of Polytechnic, by Lois Park, from December 1915 Journal:

Away back in 1884, Polytechnic High School began its eventful career. At that time it was not even a high school, nor was it named Polytechnic. Originally it was called the Commercial School, its only course being along commercial lines. It was located on Powell Street, between Clay and Sacramento. The quarters there were too small and at a later date the school was moved to a small frame building at the corner of Bush and Stockton Streets. In 1890 academic subjects were added to the curriculum and in 1895 a brick annex was built and art work and shop introduced. It was then that the school first became known as the Polytechnic High School.

In 1900 the attendance was nine hundred and fifty students, and ‘Poly’ was the leading school of the city. In that same year, however, the commercial branches were removed and organized into a separate school, the present High School of Commerce. There were only about one and twenty students left, but they continued hopefully on until the fire in 1906. When school reopened after the great catastrophe, the old building having been burnt, the teachers and pupils sought shelter in some vacant rooms in the Affiliated Colleges (forerunner of University of California at San Francisco). Here classes were held for a term and a half, while the Board of Education put up two or three earthquake shacks on the lot where the new building now stands. (This lot had been purchased in 1905 and plans for a new building were made at that time, but they were destroyed in the fire.) The school moved into the shacks, and as it was constantly growing, more shacks were added from time to time until the present unsightly collection was formed.

At this time, a vigorous campaign was begun by the faculty and the students for the erection of a new building. Bonds were voted for at two separate elections. The first issue was declared illegal, but at the second election, bonds for six hundred thousand dollars were voted for the school. The work of the ‘Poly’ supporters at this time may not be valued too highly, for on the same ballot with the school issue, were ten or twelve other issues, none of which carried. It was decided to build the shop portion of the new building first, and so it was that we lived part of the time in the new building and the rest of the time in the shacks. While we enjoyed the comforts and improvements of the new building, we also paddled through damp halls and recited our lessons to the accompaniment of rattling windows and creaking doors.

After the steel frame for the rest of the building was up it seemed as though we would never get any further. During changes of municipal administration it stood a bare skeleton while disputes occurred over the plans and finances. However, the work was eventually resumed, and after a last campaign for equipment, we are now located in our beautiful new building.

Our dream has come true and we now have the finest, most modern school west of the Rocky Mountains. With its stately appearance and complete equipment it now remains for the pupils to regain ‘Poly’s’ supremacy over the high schools of San Francisco.


Images from the yearbook.  



Art Students

Track Team

Business Staff


Learn to Dance

Student Officers

Shop Notes

Frank Sloman
"The Polytechnic Wonder"

"Bank of America"

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