Filed Under Settlement

Scottsdale Grammar School #2

A Growing School for a Growing Town

Scottsdale's Little Red Schoolhouse of its frontier days no longer met the needs of a growing population. Grammar School #2 was built in the 1920s to educate the children of a rapidly expending western town.

Large crowds gathered at Scottsdale Grammar School #2 when it opened in October 1928, just in time for the fall school term. It was an event that deserved a celebration as Scottsdale was quickly growing, and the new school was a symbol of the community's progress. During the first academic year, 594 children enrolled. Yet, only five months earlier, the Little Red Schoolhouse had been the only grade school in town. Scottsdale's population was steadily increasing. A 1920 census reported 1,047 Scottsdale inhabitants, but by the middle of the decade, that number had doubled. This was made possible by the availability of a reliable water supply, thanks to the construction of the Roosevelt Dam in the 1911, and the 1924 completion of a main line rail connection to the national rail system. But this growth was not limited to Scottsdale; rather it was a phenomenon that was transforming the Salt River Valley during the 1910s and 1920s.

Changes were afoot in Scottsdale—electricity came in, a local bank opened, and the town even got its own standalone post office. The larger population that came along with these amenities meant the tiny Little Red Schoolhouse was bursting at the seams. A new school was in order, and this school had to reflect Scottsdale's rising stature. The town—though still unincorporated—passed a bond to raise $50,000 for a brand new K-8 school. This not only showed the solidity of the community and its ability to work together to advance itself, but it also showed that it was prospering and was committed to its future growth. The school's popular Spanish Colonial Revival style is a testament to this belief. At the time, school buildings were a major point of pride for developing Western towns and were the products of significant resources. Even today you can see that the stately lines of the Scottsdale Grammar School #2 represented a big change from the small, red brick Little Red Schoolhouse, which is emblematic of common frontier town schools. Scottsdale was beginning to mature.

Though it opened with a luxurious-for-the-time 8 classrooms, an administrative office, and a nurse and teacher's room (thankfully for the students, a cafeteria was added in 1936), the school has undergone numerous changes and expansions over the decades. In the 1950s, even its name changed. It became Loloma School when the rapidly expanding school district decided to give its flourishing schools American Indian names—a move that was certainly in keeping with the creation of Scottsdale as "the West's most Western town." Despite all these changes and the fact that Loloma School no longer serves the community as a public K-8 school (but is instead now the renowned Scottsdale Artists' School), it continues to symbolize the confidence of and the burgeoning possibilities that opened up for the Salt River Valley during the 1920s.

Audio

School Days A former Scottsdale Grammar School #2 student fondly recalls her student days in the very different Scottsdale of the 1930s. Written by Amy T. Long; narrated by Janet Stein. Recorded at Scottsdale Channel 11; courtesy of the Papago Salado Association.

Images

The Early Schoolbus
The Early Schoolbus Riding to school on horseback was common in the early days of Loloma School. Scottsdale was still a primarily agricultural community and many children simply lived too far away to walk. Image courtesy of Scottsdale Public Library. Source: Scottsdale Public Library
A Graceful School
A Graceful School Scottsdale Grammar School #2's large and bright Spanish Colonial Revival design, carefully crafted by architectural firm Lescher and Mahoney, cost $35,069 to bring to fruition in 1928. The town's willingness to spend such a significant sum on making this school a point of pride is typical of developing Western towns, in which schools were often the town's finest buildings. Image courtesy of the Scottsdale Public Library. Source: Scottsdale Public Library
School Expansion
School Expansion Even though the Depression hit Scottsdale hard, its still-growing population meant that the relatively new Scottsdale Grammar School #2 had to be expanded. In 1934, just six years after the school opened, this was undertaken by the Civil Works Project Administration, a federal government program that sought to create manual labor jobs for the millions of unemployed workers during the hard winter of 1933-1934. Image courtesy of Scottsdale Public Library. Source: Scottsdale Public Library
Aerial View of Open Land
Aerial View of Open Land This aerial view of Scottsdale from the mid-1940s shows that despite the growth in the town's population, Scottsdale Grammar School #2 (far left) was part of a bustling, but still relatively rural community. Image courtesy of Scottsdale Historical Society, Scottsdale Public Library. Source: Scottsdale Historical Society, Scottsdale Public Library
Garland White and Students
Garland White and Students Pictured in the center of this undated photo taken shortly after Scottsdale Grammar School's construction in 1928 is the school's first principal, Garland White. He would go on to become Scottsdale's Superintendent of Schools and an important figure in the developing community. Image courtesy of Scottsdale Public Library. Source: Scottsdale Public Library

Location

3720 N Marshall Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Metadata

Amy Long, “Scottsdale Grammar School #2,” Salt River Stories, accessed March 2, 2024, https://saltriverstories.org/items/show/21.