1955 History of Eugene High Schools

 

Past Eugene High School Buildings
	The Central Grade School, located at Eleventh Avenue West and Olive Street, was the location for Eugene’s first high school classes in 1897-1898. In 1902 it was remodeled and became the first school building used for high school purposes. It was used until 1904 when Eugene High moved into a new brick building, its first real high school. Later, the Central School was moved to another location on the west side, used for a few years, and then razed.
	This building, which was located behind the then court house at Eighth Avenue East and Oak Street, served Lane County as a court house until the present brick building was erected in 1898. It was then remodeled and used to house Eugene High School’s rapidly growing student body until 1902 when the classes were again moved to the Central School. This building was the first one in Eugene to be used exclusively for high classes for a period of years.
	This building, located at Eleventh Avenue and Willamette Street and then used as the city hall, was erected in 1903- 1904. It was really Eugene’s first high school building, being erected specifically for high school classes. Built to house more that 300 students and planned to care for future enrollments for many years to come, it required an addition in 1908. Its location, inadequate site, and limited capacity led to its abandonment in favor of another new school in 1914-1915.
	Having outgrown its first high school building and one addition, Eugene decided in 1914 to build a new high school on a one-block site on Lincoln Street between Seventeenth and Eighteenth Avenues West. Location of the school aroused considerable criticism, but it served the youth of the community as a high school for 38 years. It was then used as a west- side junior high school, being occupied by the Woodrow Wilson Junior High in September, 1953.

History of Eugene High School
	In the career of Eugene High School, the student body has five times outgrown its building and now is in its sixth. In a period of 56 years, the student body has increased from 75 to 1,150, and the faculty from one to 50.
        It first began in 1897, when 75 students held ninth-grade classes in the Superintendent of Public Schools office in Central grade school. The next year their number increased so that they rented Mounts Hall, which was over a business house on the corner of Ninth and Oak. It had a better opportunity for good work except that both (ninth- and tenth-grade?) classes had to recite their lessons in the same room around two long tables.
	The old courthouse, which was located behind the present courthouse, was converted for high school classes for the next two years. Classes were added as the demand increased but with some difficulty, as the taxpayers did not want to spend money for maintenance and students wanted to get to the University sooner. Eugene High had its first graduating class in 1901, when nine who had entered as freshmen in 1897 decided to remain loyal to the school and graduate while 10 others went to the University without graduating.
	The old Central grade school was moved and the facility converted into a high school building, but a larger building was still needed. So by the second semester of the year 1903-1904, students were in their new brick building on the corner of Eleventh and Willamette. This building had 14 recitation rooms, an assembly room to accommodate 300, a library, and offices, giving a much better opportunity for good work.
	The conditions under which the school was organized made it extremely difficult to arouse the enthusiasm and loyalty of the students. The first year there was no separate building and no special instructors. In the second year, there was but little improvement and Mounts Hall was entirely inadequate and the teachers were overworked. In addition, there were no school traditions or customs handed down from former classes as there had been no high school in which such could originate.
	The third year saw change. An assembly room made it possible to get all the students together to form a student-body association and other organizations. Especially did the school spirit grow when the students moved to their new brick building on Seventeenth Street. More attention was paid to athletics and various other groups such as the debate club. The student body had increased to 280 and the faculty numbered seven.
	After the $10,000 addition was made to the school in 1908, student activities received better support than ever before. The football team had twice won the Western Oregon Interscholastic Athletic championship and the track team won the state championship in 1909, as did the basketball teams in 1909 and 1910. The high school was noted as a worthy representative of the Eugene community wherever students went.
	In 1915, the school again moved to another brick building, which was built with a fair eye to the future. But now after 38 years, we are ready to leave again, with many memories of these long halls and many stairs, to a school with still longer halls but no stairs. With the present student body and faculty the future for this brand new building is bright.

History of University High School
	University High School was established in the fall of 1916 in two small rooms in the old Patterson School building. It was organized to give cadet teachers from the University of Oregon experience in classroom work. A. V. French, under the direction of Professor Fred L. Stetson, was principal until 1919. During his administration the school was moved to Oregon Hall on the university campus where it remained until 1921, when it was transferred to its location on Kincaid. In 1919, Professor Harl Douglass took over the directorship and Giles Ruch became principal. Thirteen members graduated in 1921. This was the same year that music and athletics were added to the curriculum. In 1922, Rollin Dickerson became principal for one year, followed by Harold Benjamin, who remained until 1925, when he was succeeded by Ralph U. Moore. Glenn Macomber was director of the training school immediately preceding Paul E. Kambly.
	For the next 19 years, until ill health forced him to take sabbatical leave in 1944, Mr. Moore directed the activities of University High. Following the retirement of Mr. Moore in 1944, Stanley E. Williamson was principal until he resigned in 1946 to accept a position at Oregon State College. Lloyd F. Milhollen, who replaced him in 1946, served as principal until 1952 when he became director of secondary education of the Eugene Schools. Ray Hendrickson was principle following Mr. Millhollen and served until the merger with Eugene High School in 1953. On the University of Oregon campus, the name of Dr. Paul E. Kambly was associated with University High in his capacity as director of the student teacher program.
	Teachers at South Eugene and North Eugene who once taught at University High School are Abby Adams, Mildred Williams, Veola Wilmot, William Dedman, Vernon Kerley, John Hale, Agnes Best, Ray Hendrickson, Lottie Lee Lamb, Sevilla Berreman, Lois Sparkman, and of the central administrate staff, Montana Rickards and Dr. Lloyd Millhollen.
	The Story of Uni High has come to a close, but memories of classes, activities, and sports participated in remain.

 “New” Eugene High School (Combined Eugene and University High Schools)
Remembering the Old High Schools

Old Eugene High School
•	The walls really were covered with ivy as the song goes
•	The first school I had attended that was more than one story
•	Walking up the steps between mostly upperclassmen boys sitting on the stairs
•	Sitting in the balcony during assemblies and being told loudly by the Juniors and Seniors we were there because we were too green to burn
•	The assembly when the football coach told all of us that “it takes brains to play football”
•	Football games at Civic Stadium which is now known as the Ems Stadium for baseball
•	Basketball games at Mac Court
•	Physical Education (PE) classes outside in the field across the street which is now part of Charnel Mulligan Park
•	Walking to Washington Park for other PE classes 
•	The old wooden store across the street 
•	The cafeteria in the basement
•	The girls gym, which is still standing, that I point out to my children and now grandchildren as we pass by and say “that is where our old Eugene High School was”, which interests none of them. (The old Eugene High School was where the Lighthouse Temple now stands on west 17th between Charnelton and Lincoln.)

UNI/University High
•	The brick building with a large open lawn area
•	Small school, about 300 students in the school
•	Everyone knew and cared about everyone else 
•	Overwhelming when the schools combined
•	Swimming at Gerlinger Hall 
•	It was a happy place

Moving to the “New” Eugene High School (Combined Eugene and University High Schools)
•	Big, spacious, brand new
•	A long, long fast walk between classes in four minutes (students are now allowed five minutes)
•	Mixing and mingling with the UNI High students, some of them not wishing to be there and wanting to be back at UNI High
•	Big gyms, the boys’, of course, being the largest
•	Half-court basketball for the girls
•	The large, beautiful auditorium
•	The noon dances and the music of Elvis Presley in the large cafeteria
•	When it rained, we were reminded that the school was built in a swamp
•	The halls lined with lockers and the spontaneous locker checks with the mad scramble to remove some items before the faculty got to your locker
•	Winning the state basketball championship our senior year after taking second the previous two years. We also won the Sportsmanship Award.

Opening Day at the “New” Eugene High School – Sept. 1953
•	Being watched by 70 pairs of faculty eyes
•	Student body enrollment numbered 1,556
•	The Seniors (class of 1954) numbered 425
•	The Juniors (class of 1955) numbered 498
•	The Sophomores (class of 1956) numbered 587
•	Lots of new students at Eugene High School. Many are from places near to Eugene, and others from as far as New Mexico, Peoria, Illinois, and New York State.
•	Last but certainly not least, the boys outnumber the girls with 763 to 746. So as a parting thought, we’d just like to say, don’t rush, girls, there’ll be plenty for all.