Monday, March 28, 2011

Springville High School and Art Museum

It is always a little difficult to trace history, especially when the history has been destroyed and replaced with something new.  I had this problem this last week after I found the following two pictures of the Springville High School, the first one from around 1908, the second from around 1912, and what the location currently looks like.

Photo courtesy of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University

Photo courtesy of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University


If you look closely, you will notice that the original building from 1908 sits on the right side of the building from 1912.  I talked with several individuals from Springville who couldn't come to a consensus about these two buildings, where they were located, or if they were even the high school.  However, through the use of several photographs of these two buildings and the help of a couple of long time Springville residents, I found out that this is in fact the old high school and that its location is currently found directly where the Springville Art museum parking lot is located.

The history of the high school was really difficult to find and in the end, I didn't end up with very much information.  The original high school was probably built around the 1900's.  Eventually they expanded it with the addition of the second building.  The two buildings were connected by a hallway.  Several people informed me that the older of the two buildings was the junior high.  What probably happened was that the older building was originally the high school, eventually an expansion was needed, and once the expansion was completed the old school became the junior high. 

Before the BYU women's gymnasium was built the BYU basketball team would occasionally compete in the Springville High School Gym.  The buildings were torn down sometime in the early 80's and the high school was relocated to the current location, 1205 E 900 S.  It is possible that the school was moved in the 60s and that the old buildings were demolished in the 80's.  The reason for this is that the wikipedia page for Springville High reports that the mascot had been the red devils since 1967.  This mascot, although controversial, originated from the Red Devil Cement Company, and I have heard that this company made the bricks that were used to build the high school.  If that story is true, then it would make sense that the new school was built in the 60's.
   
Another photo that I found regarding the old high school is the Springville Art Museum which is located next to the old high school.  Here is an undated photo that I found of the museum and what the building currently looks like

Used by permission, Utah State Historical Society, all rights reserved.


The museum began in 1903 when two individuals donated pieces of art to the Springville High School.  During the early 20th century, donations were continually given to what was known as the Springville Art Gallery in addition to exhibits that occurred there from time to time.  In 1935, the museum's collection had grown so large that a new building was needed to be constructed.  The high schoolers and townspeople raised $100,000 dollars to construct the building.  The remaining funds were provided as part of the Public Works Administration, the organization during the great depression that intended to get people back to work.  The museum became Utah's first for visual arts.  Upon its dedication in 1937 by LDS Church Apostle David O. McKay, he said that the building is a "sanctuary of beauty and a temple of meditation."

The Springville Art Museum has played a central part of Springville's culture over the past 100 years.  Today, Springville is known as "Art City" and statues line main street and any other corner in the city where room can be found.  The Museum, which was built in a Spanish Moroccan style, is currently part of the National Register of Historic Places and is listed under Springville High School Art Gallery.  The museum has expanded twice since its construction, with the most rescent addition doubling its size.  It is a really cool place and I would recommend anyone going to visit.  My sister had her wedding reception there and it was amazing (several people would argue that it was the best reception they had ever been to).

An interesting side note is that I think that this museum is still owned by the school district in Springville, which is the Nebo School District.  Besides the art museum, the only other building that remains from the old high school is the seminary building across the street.  The building has since been turned into the Springville Genealogy Library.  Here is a picture of it:


     At the corner where the old high school used to stand, there is a nice stone bench that says "For the Youth of Springville."  I don't know if the bench was placed there in memory of the old school, especially since I can't find any other reference in the area towards it, but I would like to think that it is.  I hope that the bench serves as a memory of all the people who have gone through the old Sprinville High and all the other students who are yet to come.

16 comments:

  1. You know, I still haven't taken my wife to the Springville Art Museum. Looks like it's time to get on that!

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  2. Get on the museum that is... you know... right.

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  3. I thought that I'd add an extra comment. The new high school was built sometime in the 60's like I thought. However this building wasn't destroyed until the 80's.

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    1. Yep. First year the new 9th S high school was used was 1967-68. At that time the entire 4th S complex was converted to a 6th and 7th grade "middle school." I went there. It was huge. The large gym where high school basketball had been played, was out of your photos, behind and S. of the Art Gallery.
      There were hallways between the two old high school buildings. One was basement to basement.
      Using the Art Gallery for receptions to make Nebo School money was apparently a brainchild of the first middle school principal, Frank Patten.

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  4. By the way, thanks Paige and Paige's mom for coming up with that information about when the new high school was built.

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  5. I attended the Old SHS through the 1964 school year. 1965 was the first year the new SHS was used and it is where I graduated from. As far back as I can remember the Springville HS mascot has been the Red Devils. Every few years someone moves into town and takes offence at the mascot and tries to get it changed to something like the Arties. Any controversy with the mascot comes from these "new residents" not from those families who have lived in Springville for generations.

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    1. Construction on the new HS and its sister building in Payson didn't begin till spring 1966. It was first used fall 1967 and graduated its first class in 1968. The old high's last grad class was 1967.
      Decision to turn the old high into a middle school after the move was made, was made in spring 1967 while the old school was in its last year in session as a high school. It never sat empty. This is all in the Herald paper.
      http://www.newspapers.com/newspage/25633691/

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  6. Lynn is right about when the 'new' high school was built. My dad graduated in '63.

    As for the cement bench near the museum, it could've been designed and cast by D. LaRell Johnson. He was a carpenter in town and made the wooden benches in the museum, the cool doors, and statue boxes. I know he designed a bench that was somewhere outside too and had a matching one in his personal garden at his home.

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  7. This is a really interesting email that I received about Sprinville High School:

    "I came across your blog and notice your post about Springville high. I graduated from SHS in 2003. I was a "teacher helper" in the library to the last Teacher at the current SHS to teach at the original High School by the art museum. I inquired as much information I could about the High School and Springville history from her. She said the main reason they built a new school was because the old one was literally falling apart. There was 3 by 4 ft hole in the wall in her classroom and many more throughout the school. The building was basically condemned. Interesting facts: the building around the High School including the gym, firehouse, and high school were all connected with a under ground tunnels. Springville also had a public pool way back then and it was located under the gym. I believe you can still access the entrance of the tunnels/pool area but the rest was blocked off or filled in. My mom dated a older man who went to the old high school and used the old pool. Most people forget it was even there or don't know. If you would like to find more information and pictures about the High School and Springville I suggest you go and ask to see the original yearbooks kept in the back-room at the High School Library. They have great photos of the old high school and the land where the new one was built at. I believe they have every year from 1913 to now. You will also get the facts about the Red Devil Dirt Cement Co and yes the stories are true they traded cement for mascot. Hope you pursue more about the underground pool and let me know if you find a photo of it please. "

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    1. The pool wasn't underground, but rather on the bottom floor just west of the girls' gym. The gym was on the basement floor under the auditorium of the 1912 building. The pool was used for just a short time and then emptied and turned into the girls locker room. It also had barrels and boxes of food supplies I case of a nuclear attack. I suppose that when Park RoShe pool was built, the small pool at the high school was no longer needed.

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    2. The city recreation and cemeteries building on 200 east next to the old seminary was also part do the old high school, it served as the wood and metal shop. The bench on the corner on 400 S and 200 E was placed as a memorial for some teens who crashed and died in a speed related accident Hobble Creek Canyon.

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  8. I went to the 'new' high school when it was first built. The class of 1969 were the first graduates from the new high school.

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    1. It has to be 68 or before. I visited that new high in the 67-68 year and they were operating as a high school then. They must have graduated a 68 class.
      In the other hand I once went to a lecture by a US astronaut in the old high school gym that I can place in May 1967. The papers say it's at the high school, so i think 67 must have been the last class from the old school. But there are people here who remember an older date. Would like to clear up this mystery. It operated as middle school 68-70, for sure, as I went there then. That leaves the HS class of 1968 with nowhere to go if your date is right.

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    2. I was a 7th grade student at the middle school the first year it was in business as such, which was the 1967-68 school year. Moved to California in the summer of '68.

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  9. There was a pool in the high school, but it was closed when a student drowned. It was located in the high school building, off the original gym, which was in the basement on the east side of the high school building. The gym became the girls' gym when the newer gym was built that still stands south of the Art Museum. The closed swimming pool became the girl's locker room.
    We used both gyms when I was a teen for youth and M Men basketball games after school.
    If my information is correct, the new gym was used by B.Y.U. for their games just prior to the building of the gym in the Smith fieldhouse. BYU originally had two gyms, one known as the "Women's Gym", which still stands on the Northwest Corner of University Avenue and 5th? South across from Academy Square. The other gym was on the top floor of the old training building, now torn down.
    You've got a good start on the history, but it needs a lot of work. The yearbooks would be a good source, also old copies of the Springville Herald, which BYU should have in their collection; I'll have to check on that for sure.
    There are still many residents alive and in Springville, who attended the old campus of Springville High, and yes, one of them, whom I won't name, objected to the "Red Devil" mascot clear back in the 1970's. To me, it's always been an innocuous reference with only fairy tale significance. My chief objection is that we've saddled our athletic teams with a moniker coming from a bag of cement!

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  10. If you want to know more ask at the elementary school next to the art museum. I think they still have part of the high school attached. It's an old gym with a balcony sort of area that I think served as bleachers. The school still uses it but they are very cautious about using the area. It's always treated with a certain fragility? There are also several hollow areas beneath the school if that interests you at all? Besides that an old creepy basement area that only ever sees use for halloween. Although most of the school was likely built in the 90's (I'm not entirely sure but someone who works there could definitely tell you) there are still a lot of very old parts. All I'm saying is if you want to learn more you should definitely check it out. Very cool!

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