Springville High School history
The history of the Springville High School is oft clouded in mystery, and somewhat vague even in local history. Prior to the 20th Century, schooling typically ended after the 8th grade, the students having received what was then referred to as a “Normal Education”. The early history of Utah tells us that it was deemed more important for young people to be helping out on the farms, than to be spending time in the pursuit of a higher education.
The educational needs of Springville students were initially met by local families in their own homes. Within a year of the founding of Springville, citizens constructed an adobe school building within the walls of the original log fort. In 1856 the community came together in constructing “the Big School House” (Center and Main), and later became known as the “White Meeting House”.
As other religious groups grew in strength in the Beehive State, some were quick to establish their own education systems. The Presbyterian Church was at the forefront, and in 1875 they taught the first recognized “High School” classes in the state of Utah at their boarding school, Wasatch Academy in Mt. Pleasant. In 1880 the Presbyterian community built a small, combination church and school building in Springville, near the N. W. corner of Main and Center Streets. In about 1887 the little building was sold to the Dinwoody Furniture Company of Salt Lake City, and they in turn operated a furniture store there for some years. When the store manager retired from the business, the store was closed, and the local school board purchased the building and opened it as a public school, calling it The Dinwoody School. Local residents did not care for that name, so the name was changed to the Park school, in honor of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. John R. Park.
In 1886 the Presbyterian Church built another school in Springville, which they called the Hungerford Academy, named after an eastern benefactor. They erected a substantial, two story brick building on the South East corner of 200 East 200 South, even before they built their beautiful church building just to the South of it in 1892. As this was once again a boarding school, separate dormitories were constructed for both the boys and the girls.
As the Hungerford Academy was filling the needs of higher education locally, it was determined that “high school” classes should be taught in a local school, in order to match the efforts of the Presbyterian community. According to the book “History of Springville” which was written by Don Carlos Johnson and published in 1900, a reference from the winter of 1862/63 states that “A high school was taught this winter in the Big school house----”. This reference is undoubtedly meant to convey that classes beyond the 8th grade were being taught, which would signify classes of a high school curriculum.
Years later, in 1894 the school trustees purchased a piece of ground west of the Central School, from the Elders Quorum, where they erected a substantial brick building of 40 feet X 60 feet and it was called “The Seventy’s Hall”. This building was used for the purpose of high school class instruction, as well as being fitted up for the teaching of classes in industrial arts. Additional classes were also held on the uppermost level of the Central School, an area which became known as “the attic”.
Thank you for reading part 1 of 2. Come back next month to finish the story.
Washington School was built in 1892 and torn down in 1937. Building materials were salvaged and used in the construction of the High School Gymnasium in 1938.