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History of GHS

Cornerstone 1    Cornerstone 2    Cornerstone 3


Text taken from the 1921 GHS Yearbook from a section entitled, "The History of Our School."

In 1901, when Glendale was a small country village and the young people had to go to Los Angeles for a high school education, the residents of Glendale, La Crescenta, Burbank, Eagle Rock, Ivanhoe, Tropico, and West Glendale organized Glendale Union High School in order that the young folks could have equal privileges and chances for learning that those in other cities enjoyed. (Webmaster's note: Ivanhoe is what is now Silver Lake and Tropico was the south side of Glendale which at the time was split into two towns. "Glendale" was property north of Windsor Road and "Tropico" was property south of Windsor Road. By the turn of the century, the commercial center of Tropico was at Central and San Fernando Road and its population was 700.)

The first sessions were held in September 1901 in the building now occupied by the Glendale Sanitarium. Mr. Llewellyn Evans was the first principal. There were two teachers and 29 pupils attending.

This was only temporary, however, and bonds were voted for a new building which was built on the corner of Brand Blvd. and Broadway. Mr. George U. Moyse was made principal in that building when it was occupied for the first time in 1902.

But the rapid growth of the school made another enlargement necessary. On November 9, 1907, a mass meeting of citizens was called and the Trustees were instructed to take the necessary steps to secure a new $75,000 high school and equipment.

This amount, increased by the sale of the old site, was sufficient to equip and furnish the new building and to improve the grounds and athletic field. In September 1909, the administration building was occupied for the first time.

The next change came in the summer of 1914. At that time, $100,000 bonds were voted for the purchase of all property on the west side of Mary (Maryland) Street between Fifth and Sixth (Colorado Blvd.). Mary Street in this block was vacated and the street and new frontage became the property of the school. Two new buildings were put up, the Household Arts and Mechanical Arts buildings. These were occupied in the spring of 1915.

Since then the school has met needs in the city adequately until last year. The enrollment then was over 800. As the auditorium was built to accommodate 500, the students were again cramped for room. This year there are 1050 enrolled and five temporary bungalows have been put on the west front of the campus.

At the present time the faculty numbers 45 teachers.


Our present student government was organized in 1912 and held its first meeting on December 3. Instead of president, the highest officer was called Speaker. The school's first Speaker was Charles Wells.

The first "G" Club for wearers of the big G was also formed in 1912. Star athlete Frank Littell was its first president. The Latin Club, "Comities," is the oldest Club in school formed in 1910. Gladys Hamilton was the original Imperator.

The German Club was started by the senior class in 1913. "La Tertulia" is the name of the Spanish Club. It is another one of the oldest Clubs of the school, being organized in 1914. Lorin Litchfield was its first president. Four years later the first French Club was started with Herbert Toll at the helm.

Debating has been a school activity ever since the present buildings were occupied. The annual Oratorical contests started the second year in these buildings (1910).

In 1917, the school weekly newspaper was published. Several years before there had been a paper called the Spectator; but the Explosion as we know it was first published in 1917. Berna Martin edited that paper and put it on a self-sustaining basis.

The yearbook, Stylus, has not always been an annual. From January to June, 1909, it was published monthly and sold to the students for 10 cents a copy. In 1910 it became quarterly. The first issue was published by the Juniors, the second by the Sophomores, the third by the Scrubs (Freshmen), while the Seniors had the honor of publishing the last one of the school year. The editors have been: 1910: Amy Johnston; 1911: Elva Spencer; 1912: Marie Schwartz. The yearbook as we know it today was first published in 1913. The editor was Gladys Hamilton.

On May 23, 1924 the first Home-Coming Day was held. Alumni from all years were invited back to tour the new buildings. It was hoped that the concept would become an annual event.

Our story is detailed further 56 years later by the 1977 GHS Yearbook. It is taken from a section entitled, "GHS - Looking Back 75 years."

The Glendale Union High School District was formed in 1901. Until then the local schools formed grades 1-8 and an occasional ninth. Expanding enrollment emphasized the need for a high school. First classes were held in the dining room of the old Glendale Hotel (later called the Glendale Sanitarium) located on Fourth Street between I and J Streets, now Isabel and Jackson.

In September 1902 the corner stone was laid for a two-story frame school house, completed three months later. The school was the only structure in that area for at least two blocks and was considered quite a landmark.

In 1903 a horse shed was added to accommodate those who "drove" to school. By 1907 the enrollment in that two-story school house had increased to 105, and more space was needed. The block at Central Avenue and Fourth Street (now Broadway) was leased for use as an athletic field.

In April 1908, the board purchased the block bounded by Harvard, Colorado, Louise, and Maryland (streets unnamed at the time). In August 1908, a contract was set for construction of a two-story, pressed brick building facing Harvard. This marked the first departure of wooden school houses in Glendale. Buildings are grounds were soon inadequate because of increasing enrollment. In 1913, three acres were added to the site and two more buildings constructed.

Soon they were overcrowded too. Efforts continued to expand the high school, but the business section along Brand Blvd. wanted to expand also.

It soon became apparent that the school had to move. In 1921-22 two bond issues were approved for a site on a 21-acre lemon orchard belonging to L.P. Lukins at Broadway and Verdugo Road. The Harvard Street School continued to operate until 1937, first housing the GHS Freshman class, then Glendale College. Meanwhile back at Broadway and Verdugo, the first high school classes met in 1924.

George U. Moyse continued to serve as principal, as he had been doing since 1902. Additions were made to the school in 1927. The swimming pool was added in 1956.

On March 22, 1964, the school suffered massive damage after a fire burned through the administration building. The decision to rebuild the entire school was made and construction of the new building finished in February 1969. In 1975, the old Moyse Field west bleachers were replaced and additions made on the east side, marking the completion of a total reconstruction project. The entire project coast $1 million.

The 2001 Yearbook brings us to present day:
In September 1995, GHS became a four-year school. It welcomed ninth graders with a new building, the $7 million "J" building. With the building came a beautiful new softball field. The school has 21 bungalows to provide the extra classrooms needed and has an enrollment of 3,400.

A Pictorial History of Glendale High School

1901   1901


1901 Hotel   1901

 1901- The first classes met in the dining room of the Glendale Hotel located where the school district offices are today at the corner of Isabel and Jackson.


1902 Cheesebox

 1902- The two-story frame school house known as "The Cheesebox" was constructed on the southeast corner of Brand and Broadway.


Moyse Faculty

 1910's- Principal George U. Moyse is surrounded by his faculty.


Moyse 1931

 George U. Moyse (as seen in 1931) was the second principal at Glendale High. He served the school in that capacity for 35 years. The football stadium is named in his honor.

First Commencement

 1904- The program from the first graduation commencement.


1908 Building

1909- The new school building, erected in 1908, was located on Harvard Street where the Glendale Public Library stands today.


1908 Color


1908 Color 3


1908 Color 2

 The 1908 building as seen in color tinted postcards of the day.



 1915- The 500-seat auditorium


Harvard Street School 1918

1918- The Harvard Street School building is seen in the distance on the left. The view is looking south at a cable car heading up Brand Blvd.


1923 Artist's Rendering

 1923: An artist's rendering of what the new campus would look like.


Brand 1909

The changing face of Brand Blvd: 1909 


Brand 1924

The changing face of Brand Blvd: 1924 


Brand 1955

 The changing face of Brand Blvd: 1955.


John Wayne 1


John Wayne USC


John Wayne 3

Glendale High's most famous alumnus is Marion Morrison from the Class of 1925. He would become the legendary actor John Wayne. While at GHS, Morrison (who was nicknamed "Duke") was the senior class president, a star football player (he would go on to play for USC), and the sports editor of the school newspaper. 


1929 Aerial View

1929- An aerial view of the campus.


Bell Tower Drawing

An illustration of the Bell Tower. The landmark would be leveled in 1968 as part of a campus reconstruction.


Hallway- Admin Building

The 1949- A hallway inside the administration building. In 1964, the building would be gutted by fire.


Snow 1


Snow 2

1949- A rare Southern California snow blanklets the campus.


Typing Class '50s


Home Economics '50s

1950's- Students participate in typing & home economics (homemaking/cooking) class.


Auditorium 1950s

1950's- The enlarged auditorium.


1959 Front of School

1959- Rare color photos of Glendale High School - Front of the School


Senior Glen 1959

1959- Rare color photos of Glendale High School - The Senior Glen


Bell Tower 1959

1959-Rare color photos of Glendale High School - The intricate tiles atop the Bell Tower.



Early 1960's- The front of school with the famous Bell Tower as seen from the corner of Broadway and Verdugo.


Fire 1

1964- A fire started during spring break causes massive damage to the administration building.


Fire 2

1964- A fire started during spring break causes massive damage to the administration building.


Fire 3

 1964- A fire started during spring break causes massive damage to the administration building.


Construction 1

1964-1969- Reconstruction.


Construction 2

1964-1969- Reconstruction.


Construction 3  

 1964-1969- Reconstruction.


Construction 4

 1964-1969- Reconstruction.


Construction 5  

1964-1969- Reconstruction.


 Construction 6

1964-1969- Reconstruction.


Construction 7

1964-1969- Reconstruction.


 Construction Bell Tower

 1964-1969- Reconstruction.


Bell Tower color  

 1964-1969- Reconstruction.


Bell Tower Falls

 1964-1969- Reconstruction.


Hoover Car

1972- A student demolished the "Hoover Car" during the annual Homecoming Fair.


1985 No J Building


1985 No J building Color  

 1985- An aerial view shows the campus before the erection of the "J" building.


J Building Construction



1994- The new four-story "J" building was added (now called Building 4000). The building would open in September 1995 to house the first ninth grade class to attend GHS in decades.