Springville High School his­tory

Serve Daily - - NEWS - By M. Lee Tay­lor

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.

Sub­mit­ted by M. Lee Tay­lor

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.

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