When did York High officially become known as William Penn Senior High School?
A friend asked me this the other day. I remembered that there were four different high schools in the city of York over the years and where they were, or still are, located, but I didn’t recall the exact dates.
Others, such as fellow blogger Jim McClure, have written on the subject before, but it keeps coming up, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to write about again. I headed to the York County Heritage Trust Library/Archives to verify dates and look for photos.
See below for a rundown and photos of the buildings:
The first York High was organized in 1870, according to Gibson’s History of York County. The building, at 200 South Duke Street, still stands and is still owned by the city school district. It was later used as an elementary school, and I understand it is now used for alternative education.
The second York High followed quickly, perhaps because more space was needed. According a February 1871 York Gazette article, the plans were to be drawn by “E. Haviland, architect of this place,” and the estimated cost of the building was $15,000. Edward Haviland, son of better-known architect John Haviland, lived in York at that time. This grand building at 134 West Philadelphia Street stood for some time after it ceased being York High in 1899, reportedly burning in 1942. The lot, with a later unrelated building and parking lot is directly across from the Quaker Meeting House and is owned by the school district.
The third York High, on the northeast corner of Beaver and College was dedicated on September 4, 1899, complete with parade, “in conjunction with York County Sesqui-Centennial Celebration.” That building was renamed Hannah Penn Junior High in 1927 when the fourth high school was built across Beaver Street. It closed when the new Hannah Penn Junior High opened in 1957. The lot was sold and the building torn down, now serving as parking for St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.
The fourth high school for the city is the present one. It was built in 1927 and extensively repaired a few years ago. Local historical fever was high in 1927, a time of celebration of the sesquicentennial of Congress meeting in York. That might have had an influence on the decision to officially name the new school William Penn Senior High School and change the name of the old high school to Hannah Penn Junior High School.
Conclusion: York High 1870-1927, William Penn Senior High since, although it is still known informally as York High.