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Saturday, October 4, 2008

HISTORIC IMAGES OF JOHN FRANCIS POLYTECHNIC HIGH SCHOOL REVEALED

On Friday April 21, 1939, an article entitled "Poly Gets Its History In Art" was published on the front page of the Los Angeles Herald Express. The following images are from that piece.

Original Commercial High School Image - by Orpha Klinker 1939 - Collection of Phyllis Hansen 2008 - Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley (click on image to enlarge)

'These paintings telling the history of Polytechnic High School were presented to the school today as a memorial to the late John H. Francis, long principal. The paintings are by Orpha Klinker, a graduate. Polytechnic was the first commercial high school in the city." (LA Herald Examiner 1939)

Second Commercial High School Structure - Painting by Orpha Klinker 1939 - Collection of Phyllis Hansen 2008 - Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley (click on image to enlarge)
"This is a painting of the old Commercial High School built in 1900. The name of the school was changed to Polytechnic and technical courses added. The painting are being given to the school by the alumni association. This painting shows the third Poly High building, which was erected on Washington Boulevard and Hope street in 1905. Now the pillared main building and the old auditorium have been replaced with modern structures." (LA Herald Examiner 1939)

First Polytechnic High School Structure - Painting by Orpha Klinker 1939 - Collection of Phyllis Hansen 2008 - Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley (click on image to enlarge)

"This painting shows the third Poly High building, which was erected on Washington Boulevard and Hope street in 1905. Now the pillared main building and the old auditorium have been replaced with modern structures." This painting shows the third Poly High building, which was erected on Washington Boulevard and Hope street in 1905. Now the pillared main building and the old auditorium have been replaced with modern structures." (LA Herald Examiner 1939)

Second Polytechnic High School Structure - Painting by Orpha Klinker 1939 - Collection of Phyllis Hansen 2008 - Archives of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley (click on image to enlarge)

As the 20th century approach, the city of Los Angeles established its first technical school dedicated to business. Called Commercial High, the school was located very near today's Music Center. The school remained in that location from 1897 until 1905, when it moved into a new location on the corners of Flower/Hope Street and Washington Boulevard, in the Civic Center.
In 1935, four years before Orpha Klinker made a gift of three important paintings of the school's historic buildings, the school was renamed John H. Francis Polytechnic High School after its founding principal. It is the city's second oldest high school. A bust of John Francis is kept at the entrance of the school's auditorium.
To meet the need for additional space , Poly High was relocated to its present location in 1955. Today John Francis Polytechnic High School covers 40 acres of land. It offers academic class and important vocational opportunities. The high school was badly damaged in both the Sylmar and Northridge earthquakes, but perhaps more so by cutbacks in support of commercial and vocational education. The civic leaders of Los Angeles in 1897 understood the importance to our community and nation of vocational education. Perhaps, it is time for us to revisit its value to our future.

John H. Francis Polytechnic High School
12431 Roscoe Boulevard Sun Valley, CA 91352
tel: (818) 394-3600 fax: (818) 771-0452

The Museum of the San Fernando Valley collects artifacts and information about John Francis Polytechnic High School and the life and times of the great California artist Orpha Klinker. Our thanks to Phyllis Hansen for sharing these materials.
The San Fernando Valley, in the heart of the Creative Capital of the World, deserves a great Museum of history and culture.

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