History of Tucson High


A shining landmark for warm memories and dreams of the future…

On April 10, 1906, the Arizona Board of Regents resolved that as of September 1, 1906, students from all Arizona cities, having a population of more than 5,000, must have completed the 9th grade before enrolling in the University of Arizona Preparatory Department.  Then the voters of Tucson School District No. 1 approved the formation of a high school district on August 8, 1906.

The first day of class in the newly established Tucson High School was on September 10, 1906 with 45 students who began classes in the Plaza School at 13th Street and 4th Avenue.  After a few weeks, the high school students were relocated to a two-room building located at 1010 E. 10th Street, the current location of Tucson Unified School District headquarters.

In 1908, they moved to the newly constructed Tucson High School building at 501 E. 6th Street, which is currently Roskruge Magnet Middle School, and remained at that location until they completed their high school years.  By 1910, only ten students from that original class remained as students.

Construction on the current Tucson High School Main Building began in 1923 and was completed in 1924, in time for the fall classes. A magnificent icon, the 14 towering columns of the Main Building welcomed classes ranging in size from 175 in 1924 to the largest class of 930 in 1956.  In 1956, Tucson High was the largest high school in the United States with over 6,800 students.  In the fall of that year, a second high school, Pueblo High School (3500 S. 12th Ave.) opened its doors in the southern part of Tucson and, in 1957, Catalina High School (3645 E. Pima) opened in the northeast part of the town to accommodate the increasing number of students in the fast-growing city of Tucson. (Amphi High School also existed at this time, but was a very small school that served the students living in the then far northwest area of Tucson.)
Tucson High’s Main Building was designed by famous architect, Henry O. Jastad and cost $750,000. The grand building with its ornate details stood as an architectural masterpiece then and remains the same today, having been placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in Washington, D.C.

Whether it’s known as Tucson High School or Tucson High Magnet School, it will always stand as a shining landmark for warm memories and dreams of the future.

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