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Photos of Early Whittier High

Whittier High School was founded in 1900, two years after the incorporation of the City of Whittier. It is the oldest high school in the Whittier Union High School District and one of the 15 oldest in Los Angeles County. According to a Whittier Register article, on July 10, 1900, a ballot proposition was voted on for the establishment of a union high school district. The vote was relatively close, with the question succeeding by a margin of 170 to 133. Prior to 1900, classes for grades 9-12 had occasionally been offered by Evergreen and Bailey Street schools.

The first Whittier High School building opened in 1905.

It was located at the corner of Philadelphia St and Lindley Ave

Graduating Class of 1905

1905 Faculty

Whittier High’s first auditorium was located under the dome of the 1905 building. Its second auditorium was damaged during an earthquake and later renovated into the present library. The current auditorium was built by the Public Works Administration in 1940.

Sports Teams of 1916

O.C. Albertson, principal 1908-1930, founded the Razors Club for men interested in school and community service (and shaving!) This organization was the precursor to the Senators and the Key Club

Theater Productions, 1923 to 1924

Girls Baseball Team, 1920s

Men’s and Women’s Glee Clubs, 1920s

Tennis Teams, 1920s

Tennis Teams, 1920s

From 1902 to 1936, the Pacific Electric Railway served Whittier, running along Philadelphia Street between Whittier Blvd and Greenleaf Avenue. The expansion of Whittier High School on both sides of Philadelphia necessitated the construction of a tunnel under the tracks, which is still in use today.

The tunnels under Whittier High have been the topic of much speculation and urban legend. In addition to the Philadelphia tunnel, tunnels once connected the Science, Administration and Commerce Buildings. These tunnels were initially constructed to house steam heating ducts from the school’s central boiler. Part of the channel of Turnbull Canyon also runs under Whittier High School.

Richard Nixon attended Whittier High from 1928 to 1930.

The John Muir building, at the southwest corner of Whittier Avenue and Hadley Street, was originally built as a middle school before being sold to Whittier High School. It was used by Whittier High for several decades before being torn down in 1959.

Whittier High’s 1936 Cafeteria/Choral Hall. It was demolished in 2008 and a new cafeteria opened in 2009.