Santa Ana Polytechnic High School

Rob Richardson
County Courier, April 1979

Santa Ana High School was founded in 1889 and was located on North Main Street, where Buffums now stands [1979]. The Board of Education later decided the campus should be moved to its present location on West Walnut Street. The decision casued a great deal of controversy. Many argued that the site was too far from where people lived and that the land was swampy. Board members were threatened with recall, but plans proceeded. On September 8, 1912, the firm of Whitney & David, Architects, was chosen to design the new buildings, and in 1913 the buildings were completed.

santa ana polytechnic high school
Santa Ana Polytechnic High School
Orange County Historical Society

The new Santa Ana Polytechnic High School, as it was named, was an extremely beautiful complex. The Administration building faced Walnut Street, but was situated south of Pine Street. It was flanked by two other buildings, the Fine Arts building on the east at Walnut and Ross Street and the Science building on the west at Walnut and Parton Street. These two buildings were also used by the Santa Ana Junior College.

While the exterior of the buildings was superb, the interior left a great deal to be desired according to a School Housing Survey of Santa Ana prepared by USC’s Education Department in 1928. The building was cited for poor lighting, inadequate fireproofing, poor interior hallway circulation and poor design of the interior floor space. Other key items such as cabinets were either forgotten or omitted in the design phase and had to be added later.

On March 10, 1933, a strong earthquake rocked Southern California; the hardest hit area was Long Beach, but Santa Ana suffered serious damage. A report made to the Board of Education in June 1934 detailed the need for extensive repairs to the buildings of Santa Ana Polytechnic High School. The decision was made to demolish the buildings and a new high school was constructed on the site.