Filed Under Education

Irving School

The Irving School stands in the Town Center area of Mesa at 155 North Center Street. It was built in the same location that the old North School stood for 37 years. It was named after the American writer Washington Irving.

Designed by architect L.S. Alexander from the Lescher and Mahoney architectural firm, it stands as a significant sign of “the growth in education philosophy and the design of educational institutions in Mesa.” It is designed in the Federal Moderne style combined with the Ranch style layout and a low-sloped roof. This design was created to take advantage of Arizona’s mild climate and fresh air. This break from the traditional multistory school design provided the classrooms with more natural light and ventilation and created a comfortable environment for elementary age school children. This new trend in educational design bridged the gap between the traditional multistory block construction and the later detached single level campus style layout.

Forty five percent of the total cost for the school ($42,544) was paid for by a grant from the New Deal’s Public Works Administration. The remaining $57,000 was paid for by bonds after being approved in a bond election. The Williams Peper Construction Company were the builders.

The City of Mesa purchased the school in 1975 when the school district decided to open a new Irving School in a different location. The building later became known as the Mesa Arts Center with a newlyu renovated auditorium for the Mesa Children’s Theater.
The Irving School was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in on November 8, 2000.


Irving Elementary School
Irving Elementary School In 1975 the structure was purchased by the City of Mesa and became the Parks and Recreation Center. Later it became the Mesa Schools Creative and Performing Arts Center. Source: Our Town: 100 Years of Growth and Progress, Mesa Arizona 1878-1978
Mesa Public Schools Creative and Performing Arts Center
Mesa Public Schools Creative and Performing Arts Center Creator: Candace Reeb Date: April 2018
Old North School
Old North School This school was built in 1899 and replaced by the Irving School in 1936 at the same location. Salvaged materials from this school were used in the construction of the new Irving school. Mesa's first high school was in the top floor of the Old North School. Source: Mesa Southwest Museum via Our Town: The Story of Mesa 1878-1991
North School Gang
North School Gang A group of boys from the North School holding up their Indian Clubs. Source: Eldon Awtrey via Mesa Tribune Centennial Edition, February 15, 1978 Date: 1918
Veora Johnson
Veora Johnson Johnson became the principal at Irving Elementary School after serving as the principal of the Booker T. Washington School. She became the first African American female principal in Mesa and the first African American female with administrative credentials in the state of Arizona. She served as a teacher for 17 years and as an administrator for 30 years. She was an active member of the community by serving on many boards and was the recipient of numerous awards. Source: Mesa Room at the Mesa Public Library
New Irving School
New Irving School Irving Elementary School was relocated to this new building at 3220 E. Pueblo in 1978. Source: Our Town: The Story of Mesa 1878-1991 Date: 1991



Candace Reeb, “Irving School,” Salt River Stories, accessed May 19, 2024,