Little H.P. History


HUNTINGTON Park High School
A work in progress
Compiled by Wally G. Shidler
HPHS Graduate Winter 1957


THE FIRST GRAMMAR SCHOOL, initially built in 1904, is seen above 
with one of its early student bodies. It was originally located on what
is now Clarendon, but was later moved to Rita Street. The first school
teacher was a young high school student, hired at a fee of $50 per
month to teach the children in all eight grammar school grades. The
 building was demolished to make way for new construction in 1952.



Huntington Park high school has the reputation of being one of the finest institutions of its kind in the west. Not only in educational endeavor, but in athletics, this school ranks the highest. Employers have said that the best recommendation is merely to that---- "I have graduated from Huntington Park High."

Huntington Park Union High School district was organized in 1909. First Meeting of the board being held in the Huntington Park Grammar School building (now Malabar) March 27. The original Union High School District included the elementary school districts of Huntington Park, Bell and Vernon Fruitland (now Maywood).  A bond issue of S65,000.00 was voted by the electors of the district and a tract of land 5.72 acres in area at the southeast corner of Miles avenue and Belgrave street--the site of the present high school plant was purchased from the owners of the large Laguna Ranch. 


First in Weber Building

During the school year 1909-1910, while the first high school buildings were under construction, the high school was housed in temporary quarters on the second floor of the Weber block at the northwest corner of Pacific Boulevard and Randolph street above the present Army & Navy store.  Mr. A.F. Wood was the first principal of the Huntington Park Union high school and had a large part in organizing the high school district, planning the first buildings and establishing the school on a working basis. The school opened September 7, 1909. with an enrollment of thirty five pupils and a faculty of six teachers.

In 1910 a second bond issue of $15,000.00 was authorized by the voters of the high school district and six more acres of land--the present site of the gymnasium and athletic field-were purchased, thus making a total of 21.72 acres the high school grounds.

The buildings were completed September 6, 1910, and the first regular schoolwork began in the white brick edifice. The number of pupils had increased to 115 and the faculty to ten. Classes were carried on successfully that year. School again opened the following September but had been

in session only six weeks when, on the morning of October 8th, 1911, the year-old buildings with most of the equipment were destroyed by fire.

Tents were rented and equipped with folding chairs and temporary blackboards. Those were pitched about where the Practical Arts Building is now.

A large wooden gymnasium and swimming pool building being under construction on the site of the present boys' gymnasium when the fire occurred, was hastily completed and converted into a school building by installing temporary partitions to make classrooms and offices. As winter approached, the tents became uncomfortable and, the gymnasium building not being ready for use, school was closed during December 1911, and January 1912. On February 1, 1912 it opened in the gymnasium building and was held there for a period of two years.

In 1920 two and one half acres of l school were sold to the city of Huntington Park for municipal water works. Two years Later three lots lying south of the high school site were purchased, thereby extending the high school property to Randolph street. Several lots have been acquired since that time, making the present area of the high school grounds approximately twenty three acres.

Although the new housing accommodations were more than adequate at the time, by 1920 the student enrollment had grown so that the building was inadequate.

By 1920 the high school had completely outgrown its accommodations and a fourth issue of bonds in the amount of two hundred thousand dollars was authorized for the construction and equipment of a classroom building and an auditorium. This amount proved to be inadequate and was supplemented by a fifth issue, of seventy-five thousand dollars, in 1921. The new classroom building was christened Liberal Arts" and was opened for use in September 1921. The new Auditorium was formally dedicated for use in February, 1922, an address by the late Mark Keppel and Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew" being features of the ceremonies. Later bond issues were voted for the construction of the Practical Arts building, the Annex and the girls' and boys' gymnasiums.

The new Liberal Arts Building was formally dedicated in February, 1922.

In 1925 a movement for making Huntington Park Union High School a unit of the Los Angeles School System began, and in 1932 Huntington Park joined the Los Angeles System.

Picture unavailable

The first "new" High School building



The cornerstone of the first high school building was laid December 2, 1909, and the building was near enough to completion for the commencement exercises to be held thereon June 17, 1910, Miss Olive Petties (now Mrs. Fish, of Bell, Calif.) being the only graduate. The Manual Arcs building and the engine house were erected at the same time as the main high school building. On September 6, 1910, the first regular school work began in the new building, an imposing edifice of white brick --a veritable landmark for Huntington Park --occupying the site of the Administration building, which was destroyed by earthquake and fire m 1933. The student enrollment had increased to 115 and the faculty to ten members. An interesting and successful year's work was completed in June 1911, and the next year opened auspiciously the following September. School had been in session six weeks when the beautiful high school building with most of the equipment was destroyed by fire, The high school annual for 1912 bears this sad but inspiring legend:



On the morning of October 8, 1911, a disastrous fire left the material Part of our high school a mass of smoldering ruins, but the spirit which made our school and the associations which have become dear to us were not destroyed. On the ruins of the old we hope to see even a better edifice arise-one worthy to be the intellectual laboratory of the rising generation

The origin of the fire has always remained a mystery, the most plausible theory being chat it was due to spontaneous combustion in an unoccupied classroom in which there were rags and shavings. Undaunted by the loss of the high school building and equipment, Mr. Wood and the board forthwith rented a group of tents, equipped them with folding chairs and temporary blackboards, and careered them with sawdust. These tents were pitched northeast of what is now the Liberal Arts building. The largest one-know as the Main Circus rent-served as a study hall and auditorium and the smaller ones as classrooms



After repeated attempts a third bond issue, of $75,000, for the construction and equipment of a new high school building was voted by the electorate of the district in 1913, many taking the view that the time was not ripe for a high school in this community. The new building was not ready for occupancy until March, 1914, when with due ceremony and unbounded joy the student body and faculty moved into the new Administration building, which, as stated above. was destroyed in 1933. For a time the capacity of the new building exceeded the needs of the school, and many good people of Huntington Park wondered what use could ever be made of a building with more than thirty rooms.

On March 10, 1933, a violent earthquake occurred, causing fire which completely destroyed the Administration Building and most of the equipment. Two weeks after this disaster, school was continued Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors attending classes in the South Gate High School by the kind permission of the South Gate authorities, and Freshmen going to school in the First Methodist Church on the corner of Gage and Rita Streets.

The Practical Arts Building and the Annex were completed in time for occupation by September, 1935, and the new gymnasiums were finished by February, 1936. At the same time, classes moved into the new Administration building but the administration offices located in the old Liberal Arts Building did not occupy the new building until Easter vacation, 1936.

During 1939 a great attraction was added to the school a social hall, which is used for various meetings and parties. It is really the pride and joy of the school.

Westover Hall was named for our beloved Vice-Principal Raymond Westover, and Squire Gymnasium for our long time coach and friend Ray "Pop" Squire.

Our Student Parking lot was established for our students and faculty in 1951.

Altogether, Huntington Park High School has been fortunate to obtain superior buildings with modern conveniences. We do appreciate them and we will continue to be one of the outstanding schools of the Los Angeles system. We will continue to plan Improvements and advancements to meet ever changing needs.


Main building of Huntington Park High School as it appeared before the 1933 earthquake.

            Huntington Park High School with the Gymnasium at the left before the 1933 earthquake.



The growth of the Huntington Park High School has been phenomenal Starting with an enrollment of thirty-five and a faculty of six teachers in 1909, it had a total enrollment of nearly 2000 and a faculty of eighty members for the school year 1934-1935. In 1919 the San Antonio elementary school district became a part of the Huntington Park Union High School district, and Laguna and Tweedy districts were annexed the following year, making a total of seven elementary districts, namely, Huntington Park, Bell, Vernon, Fruitland, San Antonio, Laguna and Tweedy, with a total area of twenty-five square miles,

The complete High School prior to the 1933 earthquake



In 1925 a policy of decentralizing the high school was inaugurated by the establishment of high school units in Bell and South Gate. This policy, together with rapidly growing population areas and changing industrial conditions, lead toward the inevitable disintegration of the Union High School District.

One by one the elementary districts withdrew and annexed to the Los Angeles City School District until only Huntington Park and Laguna remained out of the seven. The loss of Vernon district with its large assessed valuation and small school population so weakened the Union High School district and increased the burden of taxation that a movement was started to annex all of the Huntington Park schools to Los Angeles. For sentimental and "local control" reasons this movement was strongly opposed by many Huntington Park people, but after a period of agitation economic forces turned the scales, and in January, 1932, Huntington Park Union High School District, as a political entity, passed out of existence. The Huntington Park Union High School now became a unit of the Los Angeles City school system, and its official name became Huntington Park High School.



After operating one year under the Los Angeles school jurisdiction and the nostalgic feeling had largely disappeared, the violent earthquake of March 10th, 1933, and the fire resulting therefrom, wrecked the entire high school plant, completely razing the Administration building, damaging most of the others beyond repair, and destroying much of the equipment.

At 5:45 windows began to rattle, the earth up heaved, roared and settled, and sent its huge mass hurtling aground in the worst quake that has ever been felt in the southern part of California. Recurrent after shocks continued for days, The first ominous rumbling and fits of jerks and upheavals broke the gas lines in the fine Administration building of Huntington High, the chemicals in the laboratories spilled, overturned and caused the conflagration that destroyed the institution that the people of the southeast had worked for years to build Fortunately the temblor occurred after school hours or the loss of life might have been appalling.



In 1929 H. P. H. S. adopted the official seal-the figure of the Phoenix. This is very significant to one familiar with the legends of the ancients and of the Phoenix.

The tale goes that the Phoenix was a mythical female bird endowed with witchery. After winging her way through the clouds and sunshine of centuries, the bird built for herself a funeral pyre of many rare woods, fanning the flames with her wings, she was consumed in the fire.

But since immortality belonged to Phoenix, our of a small heap of ashes arose a beautiful young bird. So the Phoenix has come to be accepted as the symbol of immortality. That symbol is particularly adaptable to this school in whose history there have been fires which destroyed the institution and earthquakes to rend it asunder only to see arise from the ruins a new and finer institution. Indomitable is the spirit chat through fire and quakes and adverse conditions comes a new and finer Phoenix. Just as the fabulous Phoenix, Huntingdon Park High School once grew from its own ashes, again from timbers chit were rendered asunder, from bricks cracked, broken and their mortar ground to dust, from the ashes of its laboratories and class rooms rose again to take its place with the finest institutions of the world for the betterment of the minds of the young people and the building of strong bodies for the athletes.

The earthquake was not an unmixed evil, for it has revolutionized building construction-especially school building-in Southern California. No longer can builders erect the flimsy structures which characterized the post-bellum jazz period.  Under federal, state and local inspection a new group of high school buildings is under construction which, in course of time, will become one of the most substantial and beautiful high school plants in the Southland. Part of these buildings were ready for use at the opening of school, September 10, 1935.



Many personalities have contributed to the organization and development of the Huntington Park High School. To name them all and give due credit would require a volume. Five principals have served the school: A. F. Wood, 1909-1915; J. S. McKowen, October 1 to December 31, 1915; J. M. Reeder, 1916-1923; T. E. Russell, 1923-1925; K. L. Stockton (incumbent), 1925-1935

Three of these principals served for long periods and are identified with the great changes and developments of their respective administrations.

On account of its liberal salary schedule, its high standing as an institution, and other attractions Huntington Park High School has, on the whole, had a faculty of more than ordinary scholarship, training and ability. Approximately 325 different teachers have been employed as instructors since the school was organized. Some of these served only for short periods, while others have become almost an inseparable part of the institution. The following teachers have been in the high school for many years C. C. Barry, R. E. Squire, W. R. Merrill, Rivera Boyd McCarter, Grace Willett and Mary Schulkind Jackson; while Mabel Mattoon and Elizabeth Gleason entered the service in 1911, and J. M Reeder has served as principal and in other capacities since 1910. Huntingdon Park High School has always maintained courses of study and standards of scholarship entitling it accrediting by the University of California and other institutions of higher education in the state. The school also has a notable record in athletics, debating, dramatics, music and other activities.



More than 9000 students have graduated from the Huntington Park High school. Many of these alumni are filling responsible positions in the professions or in business and are honored and respected citizens in the communities where they reside. As a body they have reflected credit and honor upon the institution in which they received their secondary school training. So far as the writer is aware, not a single graduate has ever brought discredit to his alma mater. A number of these alumni now have children of high school age.



The Huntington Park Union High School was well represented in the World War. More than a dozen students and many of the alumni were in military or naval service, and the student body and faculty engaged wholeheartedly in Red Cross drives, liberty bond sales, collection of salvage, publicity work, and other war activities. Gerald Favlinger, one of our most popular and brilliant student body presidents, died of pneumonia while in military training

The future of Huntington Park High School is promising. Mr. Stockton, the present principal, has proved himself an efficient organizer, an able administrator, and a progressive educational leader. With the question of jurisdiction permanently settled, with the fine new group of buildings, and the installation of equipment and beautification of the grounds, with an experienced and capable faculty and a large and enthusiastic student body, there is every reason to believe that Huntington Park High will continue to be one of the outstanding schools of the Los Angeles educational system.



Regular inspection of children and the various equipment with which they come in contact is an integral part of the work undertaken by the school nurses of the Huntington Park city school district.

Special precaution is taken against infection and contagion. In addition to the general routine work the nurses give each child a careful inspection and a health report is sent each parent quarterly. Nurses observe children especially for any impediments in speech, such as lisping, stammering and substitutions, postural defects, eye difficulties and under-nourishment.

Parent-Teachers organizations coming to the realization of the importance of proper nourishment for youngsters have aided school nurses considerably through furnishing of free lunches and milk during noon hours to those who need help.



With instruction given in seventy-six classes covering forty-one different subjects, the Huntington Park evening high school is an outstanding example of adult education.

Classes contained in the evening school program are provided in response to demands arising from community interests, and cover a wide range of subjects with emphasis on vocational studies predominating.

The phenomenal expansion of the adult education program throughout the United States as typified by the remarkable growth of our own school is indicative of a changing public opinion concerning the functions of education and the duty of the state in extending instructional opportunities to include the adult as well as the youth.

By utilizing the school buildings and equipment in this manner a greater number of hours each day the community is receiving greater returns on the capital investment in the school and plant equipment.



In the academic field instruction is offered in citizenship, chemistry, English, journalism, mathematics, dramatics, public speaking, photography, and Spanish.

While these subjects are designed to offer training for intrinsic worth, many students are also working for day school credit which may be used toward graduation from high school.

The journalism class has created an innovation by editing and publishing, by the aid of the class in printing, a four-page evening school paper. The dramatics class has produced plays which have been received with an expression of considerable appreciation from the community.



Members of the public speaking class prepare speeches which they deliver before the class and other evening school classes as well. Since the subjects of these speeches are related to the evening school program the class serves as a publicity department for the school.

The art department offers classes in clay modeling and pottery, freehand drawing and lettering and handicraft. The membership of the class in clay modeling and pottery includes a number of people who are working out projects of unusual interest pertaining to that industry. Teachers attend the class as well as others who are interested in the art from a vocational objective and who produce interesting objects for home decoration.

There are many other interesting and popular departments in the school, including home economics, dress making, music, physical education and vocational subjects.



The rise of athletics throughout the country in recent years to a position of prominence has had a marked effect upon customs of American People. Critics, attempting to explain this sudden surge of popularity, credit it to a natural reaction of the harsh and difficult life led by our immediate ancestors. Others see in it a means of combating the strain of our present hurried lives.

Whatever the cause the result has been most gratifying. As a means of relaxation, keeping fir and well, preparing oneself for the days work, it is hard to find a more likely substitute. This army of athletes has been pouring into high schools throughout the land for a number of years. Equally gratifying is the fact that they remain athletes after they have departed from the campus.

In Huntington Park one finds what might easily be called an athletically community. There is scant room, and not a great deal of interest, for professional athletics. Yet amateurs reign with a flourish.



Grammar schools, where the fundamentals of the games are first made known to youths, acquaint the future star with a general knowledge of various sports. Seven such schools, all with modern athletic plants and systems, provide the first step. Competition is given the youth; under it he broadens and begins the way to healthy, clean and wholesome living.

At Huntington Park, South Gate and Bell high schools all pupils are given a chance at play. Instead of one team-the varsity-many enter into daily training. Schedules are arranged with other schools, leagues are formed and the teams compete on athletic fields, for the honor and glory of their alma mater as well as the health and enjoyment of themselves.

As an illustration of the urge toward athletics, it is recalled that in 1915the first year of organized athletics at Huntington Park high school-but twenty-three monograms or "letters" were awarded during the school semester. During 1929, 154 monograms were awarded during the same period. Approximately 125 high school athletes at Huntington Park receive these awards yearly at the present time.



Again, it would be exceedingly difficult to find anywhere in the country .t more perfectly-equipped gymnasium, football and baseball fields, tennis courts and the like, such as are to be found in Huntington Park high school. A staff of capable coaches are assigned to ground the boys and girls in the fundamentals of the sports, insisting always on sportsmanship and teamwork rather than the winning of the game.

In spite of this, or because of it, the local athletic teams have been more that ordinarily successful in competition with other schools of the league. Since the first days of the athletics at Huntington Park high school the teams have won many Bay league, Southern California, and State championships.

Most stories on athletics confine themselves to high schools or colleges. This tale of necessity must be different. In Huntington Park high school athletics provide the start; whether the boy or girl goes to college matters not as they apparently remain athletes and continue on with industrial, commercial and unattached teams after quitting the campus.



The most noteworthy of such local enterprises is the Twilight Indoor Baseball Association. During the summer months this league never fails to receive a large backing and an enthusiastic group of skilled players. Judging by the seriousness with which these indoor teams hit and field an innocent bystander would take them for major league clubs playing in a world series.

Tennis is an important factor in the recreational life of the young people of the community. Young and old, men and women, all find enjoyment and exercise on the excellent high school courts. These courts, incidentally, are as fine as any at any club; two are championship courts and may, perhaps, account for the popularity of the net game.

Golf is the latest sport to come to the fore in Huntington Park. Not only is the old Scottish pastime played with a relish, but also with a certain skill that bodes no ill for the amateur champions of the day. The efforts of Huntington Park players in a tournament staged locally for the first time last spring were a big surprise to a number of fans.



At the Huntington Park high school plunge, mermaids and mermen, whether students or not, find enjoyment and exercise during the summer months. Bowling too, has increased in popularity to the point where a number of business concerns sponsor teams that meet in competition.

All in all, its an athletic world. And in an athletic land, Huntington Park finds that it need not be ashamed in the least of he excellence and variety of its own athletic endeavors.


The Fight For A School

The community's first school house, built by Developers Burbank and Baker at the insistence of the Improvement Association, was far from satisfactory for those early community fathers.

For one thing, it was a residential structure and it really belonged to Burbank and Baker. It was on their land. And although classes were held there, and the Improvement Association held some of its early town meetings there, it served more as a promotional symbol for the developers, who could point to an existing school house when bringing prospective buyers to the tract.

So, even before they launched their campaign for city incorporation, the leaders of the Improvement Association set out to form a School District.

George Garlow, who was selected as chairman to conduct a school district election, spent days driving by horse and buggy through the existing Florence and Fruitland school districts to secure enough support to annex a slice of each of those districts to Huntington Park's one square mile of area, and to include more people in the new district.

The election was held with 21 registered voters casting ballots. The district was established in 1905, and the first school opened in a 12' board shack, with 13 students of all ages. The families of the students chipped in to hire a young high school girl as teacher, at a monthly fee of $50.

Of course, the community fathers were not satisfied with this school building ether, so Garlow set out to acquire suitable property for a real school facility,

There was strong opposition to this move. There were people who felt rural Huntington Park didn't need any better school, and never would. They objected to actions that could result in a school property tax.

But Garlow forged ahead with his plans anyway.

In the hope that then County School Superintendent Mark Keppel would approve a school bond issue and repay him from the bond funds, Garlow used $6.000 of his own money to purchase a school site at Malabar and Zoe Avenue, where Middleton Street School now stands.

The opposition was not going to accept this unilateral action without a fight, however, and they obtained a court injunction to stop him from recording the purchase of the property. Learning of the injunction, before it was served on him, Garlow hitched up his horse and buggy at 3 a.m. and drove to the court house in Los Angeles to record the deed as soon as the doors opened for business that morning. He returned to Huntington Park to find a very frustrated group of officers waiting to serve him with an injunction that no longer had any validity.

Within a very few years, with the city's population growing rapidly, a group of citizens (including many of the same leaders) met in the new Huntington Park Grammar School building (on the land Garlow had purchased) to form the Huntington Park Union High School District.

In 1909, they put through a $65,000 bond issue to buy a 5.72 acre tract, which is now the site of Huntington Park High School, and started classes the same year in temporary quarters at the corner of Pacific and Randolph, while the first high school buildings were under construction.

The cornerstone for the first high school building was laid on December 2, 1909, and the first commencement exercise was held there on June 17, 1910, with Miss Olive Petties being the single graduating student.

And that same group of pioneer leaders, who seemed to be involved in all the progressive actions of the early years, went on to expand the district, to build two more high schools, Bell and South Gate, both of which were then in the Huntington Park Union High School District,  and several grammar schools.

The District gained a reputation as one of the finest independent school districts in California prior to 1932, when it was consolidated with the Los Angeles City School District.


The master plan as it existed in the 30s, 40s and 50s

The Phoenix

In the ancient legends of distant Arabia, that land of incense and moon magic, there is found the delightful story of a wonderful bird.

The Phoenix, for so it was called, was a mythical female bird, slim and sleek, and swift and endowed with witchery. After winging her way through the clouds and sunshine of many centuries, the bird built for herself a funeral pyre of rare woods and fragrant gums and, fanning sin the flames with her wings, she was consumed in the fire. But since immortality belonged to the Phoenix, out of small heap of ashes rose a beautiful young bird, shining of wing and quick of eye. So the Phoenix has come to be accepted as the symbol of immortality.

That symbol is particularly adaptable to this high school in whose history there have been a fire and an earthquake both of which destroyed the buildings. Nothing, however, could quench its indomitable spirit.

Bravely facing the ravages made by these great disasters, the leaders set about the task of building from the ashes a new institution. With the true Spartan courage behind it, the work progressed rapidly, not ceasing Leer, through the many years between these disasters. . Just as the fabulous Phoenix rose young and beautiful from her own pyre, so the Huntington Park High School has groan out of the ashes of its old self. Immortality belongs to both; so what more fitting symbol than the Phoenix can be found?



Wrestling: Numerous athletic clubs and high schools were used for training purposes by the Wrestling contestants. There was some difficulty owing to the absence of large mats of the standard four-inch thickness required by the Olympic rules, but by combining the standard American two-inch mats with smaller mats used for Tumbling and Gymnastics, it was possible to provide equipment at all locations which was adequate. In making out the Wrestling training schedule, ail attempt was made to have boxers, wrestlers and weight lifters of the same countries train at the same clubs or schools at the same hours, so that athletes of each country could train under as congenial circumstances as possible.

The gymnasiums of the following Los Angeles schools and clubs were utilized and equipped for Wrestling practice:


Inglewood High School

Jacob Riis High School

John C. Fremont High School

Hollywood High School

Hollywood Athletic Club

Huntington Park High School 

Los Angeles Athletic Club

Jefferson High School


Polytechnic High School


  Practice was permitted on the inner harbor and close off-Shore waters at Wilmington Harbor, the scene of the Yachting competitions. Boats and rigging for the Monotype competition were provided for all contestants. These craft were borrowed and chartered and all equipped with new gear. Many of the competing yachtsmen lived near the harbor during the Games, and all those living in the Olympic Village were provided with transportation to and from the harbor by regularly scheduled bus service.




The Student Handbook, Huntington Park High School, February, 1954, Student Body Executive Board,

Hubbard, Carson B., Editor-in-Chief, History of Huntington Park. A.H. Cawston, Publisher, Huntington Park,1935

Materials in The Wally G. Shidler Historical Collection of Southern California Ephemera, Walnut Park, California.


HPHS building on Miles Ave. that burned down Oct.11, 1911


HUNTINGTON PARK HIGH SCHOOL grew from the cow pasture pictured
above. This is the site purchased in 1909, with funds from a $65,000 bond
issue pushed through by our City's founding fathers. Though construction
was not yet completed, the first commencement exercises were held in the
first high school building on June 17, 1910, with a graduating class of one