Mesa High School1630 E Southern Ave, Mesa, AZ 85204
The first high school classes in Mesa began in September, 1899 on the second floor of the red brick north Elementary School, later rebuilt and known as Irving School. The first Mesa Union High School district was organized on December 26, 1907 with John D. Loper as Superintendent. The Town Council had leased all of Block 20 to the University of Arizona for 99 years to use as experimental farm. This was the land bounded by Center and Macdonald, Second and Third Avenues. It didn't take long to discover that the block was not large enough, and so, on January 4, 1908, they sold it to the school district for $75. Construction began immediately on the gorgeous old building we all knew as "Old Main". The 1909 graduating class got to graduate from that original twelve room building. The school had a main floor auditorium with a swimming pool in the basement. The auditorium was used for assemblies, with folding chairs for the early comers and standing room only for the rest. Ten years later, eight more rooms were added plus a small auditorium-gymnasium. For basketball games spectators sat either in the balcony (above the freshman section) or on the stage. The gym was not wide enough for sideline bleachers. In 1936 the WPA and PWA provided funds for new construction and the New Building was constructed west of the Main Building with and arcade in between. The land for this was purchased from Harvey Bush, who lived in the big house at the end of Macdonald, for $4000 (He had housed a zoo on the spot previously, but the neighbors probably didn't notice the difference). A new gymnasium was also built south of the Main Building-the site of all our high school dances and basketball games. Also in the gym building were the agriculture shop and auto shop. And presiding over it all, Harvey L. Taylor! How many of us can go back mentally now and walk down the halls of Old Main or the New Building remembering who was in every room, taking the stairs two at a time, in wonderment and awe as a freshman, in triumph as a senior. On October 1, 1967, a disastrous fire completely destroyed the sixty-year-old "Old Main" and the irreplaceable mementos of its sixty year reign. Classes continued to graduate from the old high school until 1972 when the new Mesa High was built.