As the town began to grow into a city, the enrollment increased and
the need for a larger, more modern school building became apparent.
In May 1907, the staff of the school
newspaper, the Donnybrook Fair, wrote the Tribune to stir up support
for a new building. And it wasn't the first time
they used the papers to express their wants.
The Trib makes a reference to a recent
incident where Tampans were infuriated over a book to be used in the
High School geography course (see previous page). Just about all of Tampa, and
especially Civil War vets, recently banned the Tarr-McMurry books
due to what they considered to be slanderous and prejudicial against
the "Old South."
The Tribune pointed out that if the same
authorities showed the same zeal to get a new school built as they
did to oust this book, a proper building with surroundings they
needn't be ashamed of could be built.
Another era in this school’s history came to pass. In 1908, land was
purchased at 2704 N. Highland Avenue as a site for a new building.
Construction was not begun until December 1910. New York architect
Wilson Potter designed the three story masonry block building as a
rectangle with an open center.
County High School at 2704 Highland Avenue, 1912, a view looking
The first floor was below ground level and often referred to in the
early years as "the basement." The second floor is the main
floor and also in the early years, was referred to as "the first
Board of Public Instruction, John T. Gunn -
Chairman, W.A. Belcher, William Schneider, L.W. Buchholz -
Secy & Sup.
The cornerstone was laid
in the northeast corner of the building on February 17, 1911,
having been removed from the old Masonic Temple to be placed in the
building. In it was placed a time capsule consisting of the items
listed at the top of this page.
The new building was completed on October 2, 1911, at a total cost
of $60,000. There were a total of fourteen teachers and 63
regular seniors. The school was ranked high with other high
schools of the United States and stood
among the first of the Southern high schools.
The date on the
cornerstone was vandalized long ago. During the restoration
repairs to the building in 2003, the crew that was sent to remove
it had a difficult time and did all the damage on the edges.
bronze plaque in the main hall is a replica of the original
which is placed at the entrance of the offices in the county
education building downtown.
ceremonies for the new building were held on Thursday, Dec.
Formal opening program images provided by Rex Gordon, HHS
William Wilson DeHart, Rector, St. Andrews Church, Tampa.
Priest-in-charge from Jan. 1, 1894 until his death on Sep. 15,
1913. Relative of Abigail DeHart, who as Mrs. John Mayo, was
the mother of Mrs. Gen. Winfield Scott.
the building was greatly enlarged with an addition, to the
rear of the structure, designed by architect M. Leo Elliott. The
modern day aerial photo below shows the original structure
outlined in yellow with the 1923 addition to the left of it.
The original building is
outlined in yellow, the rest was the 1923 addition designed
by Elliott and Bonfoey.
MALACHI LEO ELLIOTT (1886-1967)
Renowned Tampa Architect M. Leo Elliott was born in the
Catskill Mountains of New York in 1886. He journeyed to New
York City at the age of 15, where he studied at Cooper’s
Institute, and received training at New York’s Welch, Smith
& Provost. Early in his career he helped design buildings
for the Jamestown Exposition of 1907 in Norfolk Virginia. He
relocated to Tampa at the age of 21, formed a partnership
with Bayar C. Bonfoey and experienced great success winning
Other notable design projects include Temple
Terrace Estates, one of the first Mediterranean Revival
planned golf course communities in the U.S., established
in 1921. The Temple Terrace Community Church, once known as
Temple Terrace Estates Real Estate Office, was built in
1922 and is among a number of M. Leo Elliott’s designs still
standing. He also designed the Masonic
Hillsborough Lodge No. 25 in Tampa (1928), the 1920 addition to Sarasota
High School (with T. A. Monk) and Historic Spanish Point.
Several of the properties are listed on the National
Register of Historic Places. Elliott also designed Grand
Central Place, the building where today's Kennedy Blvd. and
Grand Central Ave. meet. The Tampa Gas Co. (1931)
building was also designed by Elliott, but was lost after a
fight for preservation failed. He also designed the Leiman-Wilson
house. Elliott is widely regarded as one of the finest
architects the Tampa area has yet produced.
This April 5,
1924 view looking southwest shows the east-facing front of the
building on the left, along with the north-facing side of the
building on Gladys St. on the right, along with the 1923 Leo
Elliott addition at the far right beyond the portico.
Notice the cornerstone located in the northeast corner of
Photo by Burgert Bros. at the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public
From 1909 to 1925, Mr. Ernest Lauren Robinson was principal. He resigned his office to
become county superintendent and was succeeded by Frederic H. Spaulding. The
enrollment soon swelled beyond the capacity of the building, and it became
apparent that yet another, larger school would be needed.
E. L. Robinson was born Jan 1,
1872 in Meriden, Connecticut, the son of Benjamin A. and Laura
(Blakeslee) Robinson. He is descended from the earliest
English settlers in New England. He was educated in the public
schools of Meriden and in Yale University where he received the
degree of A.B. in 1894 and A.M. for graduate work in Latin in 1901.
He has also studied in the graduate department of Harvard
University. He was teacher of Mathematics in the Meriden High
School from 1894 to 1897, when he became Principal of the Cheshire,
Connecticut High School and held that position until 1900. He
then became Principal of the high and elementary schools of New
June, 1902, as the result of overwork and exposure at a fire, which
destroyed many buildings in New Milford, Mr. Robinson became
afflicted with lung trouble. He gave up teaching and went to
Tombstone, Arizona. The climate soon restored his health and
he spent five years in Arizona and New Mexico, engaged in mining and
In 1907 he came to Tampa to
server for two years as Principal of the Michigan Avenue Grammar
School (Robert E. Lee School). In 1909 the County School board
appointed him Principal of the the Hillsborough County High School.
He held this position for 16 years until 1925 when he was appointed
Director of the Junior and Senior High Schools of Tampa. IN
1927 his position was made countywide.
Mr. Robinson was a member of
the Tampa Rotary Club, a Pas Master of the Hillsborough Masonic
Lodge, a 32nd degree Mason and Shriner. He was a member of the
First Baptist Church and teacher of the Professional Men's Bible
Class in that church. He was also Secretary of the Public
Library Board of Tampa.
He was married June 29, 1898
to Evangeline Bloomfield at Meriden. They had two children,
Ruth, who died in infancy, and Grace, who was a teacher of History
at Hillsborough High School.
E. L. Robinson was the author
and editor-in-chief of the History of Hillsborough County, which was
used as a source of information for this feature.
Read it here.
The photo and
caption below is from the 1925 Hilsborean Nobody knows what a red-headed mamma can do
Motto -- Be bright Colors -- Red and
Requirements -- (1) Red hair. (2) No wig.
(3) No dyed hair. Grace Frecker, President; Ercel Cole, Vice-President; Martha
Tolle, Secretary; Louise Collins, Treasurer; Marjorie Manney
Members: Thelma Green, Helen Thompson, Myrtle Kyle, Ruth
Frecker, Deon Cole, Mary Hawkins, Ruth Lee, Virgie Hyman,
Dorothy McAfee, Hariette McRoberts.
Mascots: Professor E. L. Robinson and Catherine Davis.
bookstore on the first floor of the D.W. Waters Career Ctr. was the original location of
Ed's snack and school supplies counter during the
Ed's ad in the May 1912 "Red and Black" school paper.
Notice that the first floor was referred to as the basement.
One Hilsborean says that he had a store in front of
old wooden HCHS building
when it was on Estelle and Jefferson St., the schools
previous location in 1900 to 1910. Ed continued to operate
his store in the school until the late 1920s when the school
moved to its current Central Avenue location. He was
to have space in the new building but so far, no evidence
that he was in business there has been found.
Information and images of Ed were provided by Rex Gordon,
HHS Historian, and obtained from his book, History of
Hillsborough High School.
story from the 1917 Hilsborean:
Anyone who has ever heard of Hillsborough High has heard of
"Ed." He is the "Original High School Merchant."
Ed has been selling everything from hamburgers to stamps for
about 15 years to the pupils of the High School. He
has lately added to the establishment a warehouse for the
service of teachers.
humor was popular with teachers and students alike. He
was known for his repertoire of jokes, which was alluded to
in his ad; "Continuous Performance, Everybody Welcome,
Tickets, Three for 10 cents."
advice to the Hillsborough High School Class of 1924: Such are the
ups and downs of life, one day of turkey and six days of
The Alma Mater, the "Red and Black,"
was written by a teacher and some students in 1923. The tune has
since been revised.
Yale has always favored
violet's dark blue
the sturdy sons of Plant High
the gold and black are true,
will own the lilies slender,
honor shall they lack,
the Terrier stands defender
dear old Red and Black"
The 2010 HHS
marching band performing "Red and Black" and the HHS fight
1925, land was purchased on Central Ave. for a new high school
building. The Gothic style of architecture was suggested by a man
named Dr. Strayer who, at a faculty beach party, drew his version of
the present school in the sand with a stick. The School
Superintendent expressed satisfaction with his idea and was very
8TH AND CURRENT HOME OF HILLSBOROUGH HIGH SCHOOL, Sept. 1928
A brand new Hillsborough High School at 5000 Central Avenue
The architectural plans for
Hillsborough High School's massive red brick building were designed
in the Gothic Revival style by local architect Francis Kennard and the
cornerstone was laid Jan. 28, 1927. The walls, buttresses, spires, and
tracery of the arched stained-glass windows are decorated in cast
stone. The building was built to accommodate
2,000 students and was completed in Sept. of 1928 at a cost of $757,000.
From "History of Hillsborough
County, Biographical excerpts", p.291 (Published in 1928)
Francis J. Kennard was born in England in 1865 and came to the United States in
1886, settling first in Putnam County, FL and later moving to Orlando where he
practiced architecture from 1888 to 1895. In the latter year, he moved to
Tampa where he has been in the active practice of his profession ever since and
is therefore the oldest practicing architect in the city in length of service.
Kennard has many notable buildings to his credit in the southwest part of
Florida, among which may be mentioned are the Belleview Hotel in Bellair, the
Pinellas County Court House, Lee County Court House, Citizens' Bank Building
of Tampa, also the Floridan Hotel, Citrus Exchange Building and many other
important buildings, including the new Hillsborough High School now in the
course of construction at Tampa. He
is a member of the American Institute of Architects, the Florida Association
of Architects and the Tampa Association of Architects.
Francis J. Kennard was born on
Mar. 15, 1865 in London, England. He was a prominent architect
who came to the U.S. in 1886 and became well established in Florida
with historic buildings, many of which are on the National Register
of Historic Places. Some of the buildings he designed were the
Biltmore Hotel in Belleair,
Florida, built in 1896, the expansion of the Hotel Boca Grande to
Gasparilla Inn, El
Centro Español building in Ybor City, the
Tampa, once the tallest building in Florida (video),
St. Andrews Episcopal Church,
West Tampa Jr. High School in Tampa, and the
Anderson-Frank house at 341 Plant Ave., Tampa, the Lee County
Courthouse, Fort Meyers, the old Pinellas Country Courthouse,
Clearwater, additions to the old Polk County Courthouse, the
Hillsboro State Bank building, Plant City, the Colonial Theater in
Bethlehem, NH, Many prominent people engaged his
services in various states to build their homes and businesses. His
works include stately courthouses, movie theaters, school buildings,
churches and private mansions which still stand today. Mr. Kennard
died on Apr. 29, 1944, in Tampa and is buried at Myrtle Hill
Hillsborough had a reputation of outgrowing its buildings, this
school was built extra-large with the idea that the students would
not be able to outgrow it easily. It was originally built with 56
classrooms, a 590-foot corridor, a spacious library
which contained over 8,000 books, two large study halls, a school
bank, a complete home economics unit which included a three room
apartment, and a Gothic styled auditorium with a seating capacity of about
twelve hundred. The campus alone covered a space of about twenty-three
acres, and the building had a roof space of about three acres.
JEFFERSON HIGH SCHOOL, THE JHS ALUMNI MUSEUM, AND THE D. W. WATERS
After Hillsborough County High School moved out of
the building on Highland Ave., Thomas Jefferson Junior High School
was founded there in 1928 and transitioned into a high school in
1939. The building later became the 2nd home of George
Washington Jr. High. It is now the D. W. Waters Career Center
and home to the Jefferson High School Alumni Museum.
Read more about and see photos of Jefferson
High School and George Washington Jr. High in this building, the Jefferson
High School Alumni Museum
and the D.W. Waters Career Center.
The first classes at the
new Central Avenue location were enrolled in September of 1928 with
Frederic Henry Spaulding as the Principal. The building was dedicated in
December of that year, and was one of the four largest high schools in the
South. A fountain was purchased in Dr. Spaulding's honor and placed in the middle courtyard.
Later, the fountain was moved to the side entrance of the auditorium in an area
entitled Spaulding Court. The fountain was later removed and replaced with a
tree that was brought from Spain as a seedling. It died and was replaced with
a Florida palm.
at this time that "County" was dropped from the name of the school due to
another county school having been opened, H. B. Plant.
Dr. Frederic H. Spaulding,
from 1936 University of Tampa yearbook
Photo courtesy of Art Bagley, University of Tampa Reference
FOUNDING OF THE
UNIVERSITY OF TAMPA
1930's, Tampa's top students would graduate high school and then seek
higher education elsewhere, and they seldom came back to fuel future
generations of business people in Tampa. Frederic Spaulding,
principal at Hillsborough High School, had a plan to put an end to this.
It helped that Hillsborough High School's tall towers and Gothic windows
made it look like a college. Spaulding founded Tampa Junior College in
1931 and located it in the high school. Due to the success of the
junior college, Spaulding believed it could be turned into a four-year
Frederic Spaulding in the lobby at the University of Tampa
the morning on Aug. 2, 1933, a battered pick-up truck arrived at
Hillsborough High School. This was the day when Tampa Junior College was
transformed into The University of Tampa and when its headquarters moved
from the local high school to what is now known as Plant Hall. Riding on
the truck was its president, Frederic H. Spaulding, the former principal
of Hillsborough High School and the man who had been the motivating force
behind establishing the first local university for Tampa’s high school
Frederic H. Spaulding
unlocks the front door to the new headquarters of the University of Tampa
with Dean John Coulson, 1933. From "Under the Minarets, the
University of Tampa celebrates fifty years of progress, 1931-1981"
While the school was
still known as Tampa Junior College, a committee recommend names for the
school's athletic teams. Since St. Petersburg Junior College was expected
to be the arch rival, and they were using the nickname Trojans, the name
Spartans was selected from the ancient Greek Trojans/Spartans war. In
1933, when the school became the University of Tampa, athletic director
and head football coach Nash Higgins selected the team colors. Since most
of his players came from Hillsborough High School (red and black) and
Plant High School (black and gold), Higgins combined the colors of those
two schools making the UT's colors red, black and gold. See "Tampa
Gets a University" here at TampaPix.
HHS Principal B.S., Peabody College, Tenn.
M.A., Columbia University, New York City
Mr. Vivian Gaither succeeded
F. H. Spaulding and remained principal for thirty-three
years. The football field was renamed in his honor but was changed back to
Terrier Field with the opening of Gaither High School in 1984. The field
has since been renamed Chelo
Gaither was born Oct. 14, 1899 in a small town called
Tallassee, in Elmore Co., Alabama. He was one of one of 12 children
of Thomas Eli Gaither and his wife Emma J. Melton. Raised on a farm, he grew up as
one of eight boys and learned the value of discipline and diligence.
At first Gaither wanted to be a lawyer, and took a teaching job
while saving the money needed to enter law school. He found he liked
teaching so much he gave up law and pursued an education, later
becoming principal of a school in Catula, Ga. Vivian Gaither received his
bachelor’s degree in education from Peabody College.
The family photo below was provided by Carol Wiggins of
Ancestry.com. The persons have been identified based on the above
and below biographical information on Vivian Gaither, Gaither family
censuses (1900, 1910, 1920 & 1930), as well as Vivian's WW1 draft
registration and family tree info online.
Birth (age) gender
Smith Griffith Tree
Oct.1870 (29) M
Tom E.59 (M) wid
Oct 1872 (27) F
Emma J Melton
May 1893 (7) M
Thomas Wesley b.may 2, 1893
Jun 1895 (4) M
Alfred B.6 b. Jun 18, 1895
Jul 1897 (2) M
Capus Otis b. Jul 11, 1897
Oct 1899 (7m) M
Vivian b. Oct 14, 1899
b. abt. 1911
James W. b. abt 1903
b. abt. 1904
Cecil Spencer b. abt. 1907
b. abt. 1909
Velma M. (F)
b. abt. 1911
Geoffrey Columbus. b.Jul 23, 1913
Joffrey C. (M)
3y 3m F
b. abt. Sept. 1916
Bufford P. (F)
4Thomas W. Gaither was
enumerated twice on the 1920 Census. Once in the home with his
parents in Channahatchee, Elmore Co.as single, and again living in
Tallassee, Elmore Co. as married with his wife Elizabeth M. and child
Harold W. Gaither.
5Vivian Gaither was
enumerated twice on the 1920 Census. Once in the home of his
parents in Channahatchee, Elmore Co. as a teacher in a Literary School,
and again in Atmore Town, Escambia Co., AL, single, as a teacher in a
High School, boarding in the home of George W. Ellis and his wife and
6Name was actually Alpha Bruce Gaither,
on his headstone and WW1 draft registration and signature.
Place your cursor on the photo to see persons
Thomas & Emma Gaither with their children, daughter-in-law (Elizabeth
M. Gaither) and grandson (Harold M. Gaither) circa 1920, at their home in
Photo courtesy of Carol Wiggins
Gaither moved to Florida to accept a teaching contract, acting as
principal of Woodrow Wilson Junior High. During his five-year tenure
there, he attended Teachers College in New York during the summer
until he earned his master’s degree in education in 1930. After
short stints at Benjamin Franklin Junior High and Plant High, a
choice that devoted Hillsborough students thought to be a slight bit
of heresy, Gaither became principal of Hillsborough High School in 1933.
Hillsborough, the oldest school in the county, has a robust alumni
association and much of the information about Gaither comes from
that group’s newsletter. During his 33-year stay at Hillsborough,
according to the alumni association, Gaither earned the unwavering
respect of all his students, embodying the spirit of the school and
acting as a fair and efficient principal. He was known to regularly
attend the school’s sporting events in full Terrier regalia. In
1937, he married a Hillsborough graduate, Jacqueline Bettis. During
his career, Gaither was named an Honorary Doctor of Education by the
University of Tampa. He was heavily involved in the First Baptist
Church, and was a high-ranking member of the Hillsborough Masonic
Lodge. Gaither retired in 1966 and died at his home in Lutz in
Sept, 1991 at age 91.
RESERVE OFFICER TRAINING CORPS (ROTC) AT HHS
After war was
declared on Germany in the spring of 1917, several boys of the
school organized a military company and began drilling during
lunch. The principal, Prof. Robinson, paid little attention
thinking it would wear out. However, a few weeks passed and the
enthusiasm of the boys had not lessened. Prof. Robinson took
notice and requested Coach Freeman to instruct the boys in drill,
at the same time lengthening lunch by twenty minutes to allow them
time to drill. Upon the opening of school the next year, a meeting
of the boys was called and the company was reorganized. After a
few weeks of drill, the School Board took notice of their work and
secured a drillmaster to instruct them. Coach Freeman had since
been commissioned by the Army. J.W. Dyke, formerly a lieutenant
in the Florida National Guard, was secured and they made rapid
In 1935, the
U.S. Army took sponsorship of the corps and they then became the
Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. (J.R.O.T.C.) This
organization was a source of constant pride and admiration since
its establishment in this school. They were outstanding both in
this county and state, winning such an excess of awards that some
of the recent awards had to be given away due to lack of space.
The Drum and Fife Corps was organized in 1914 under the
supervision of Dr. Sumter Lowry, and with the material aid of the
Tampa Gasparilla Association and the County School Board. The
first appearance of the corps was made during the 1915 Gasparilla
Carnival after only six short weeks of practice. This corps was
the forerunner of the present day marching band and the J.R.O.T.C.
Drum and Bugle Corps.
school was built at this location in 1928, the clock tower had no clock. Then
came the Great Depression and funds were nonexistent, followed
by World War II when America turned all its efforts to winning
the war. It wasn't until 1949 that HHS students and alumni collected enough funds to purchase
and dedicate it in honor of Hillsborough's veteran casualties
of World War II. The names of
Hillsborough alumni who were killed in action during the war were placed
on a plaque inside the tower. Image courtesy of Rex Gordon, HHS Historian.
Above and on the
left, photos from the 1947 Hilsborean anticipating a successful
drive to raise funds for a clock. The representation of the clocks
was added artistically.
Images courtesy of
Rex Gordon, HHS Historian.
An early design
of the Roll of Honor, 1947
Image courtesy of Rex Gordon, HHS Historian
According to the school newspaper, the "Red & Black," a group of
HHS alumni tried to raise funds for a clock, but due to unstated
difficulties, turned it over to the Student Council in early 1948.
They started a fundraising campaign in November of 1948, where the
profits from every student activity were put aside for the clock.
There was enough to also obtain a "Plaque of Honor." A
dedication ceremony was held on the front lawn on June 3, 1949.
Memorial Clock and
"Roll of Honor" Plaque Dedication Program
June 3, 1949
Image scans courtesy
of Rex Gordon, HHS Historian.
The Plaque of
Honor inside the clock tower. Click to see larger, then click
again to see full size.
Names on the plaque (There are 143 names on the program but only
139 names on the plaque. The names in
blue are on the program but not on the plaque. Also,
the names on the program are not in exact alphabetical order but
they are in order on the plaque.) First
Alvarez Jr., Jack D. Anderson, Aukland M. Banks., Glover Beazley
Jr., Allan T. Bennett, William V. Benton, Aubrey Bispham, William
Blake, Antonio Boan, Fred M. Bodden, Jack Bond,
William Bryan Brewer Jr., Carl Edward Brinson, Heard Burnett, Jack
R. Burns, Billie Byrd, Grant Wright Caldwell, Darius A. Campbell,
William E. Carrington, R. L. Chapman, Nathan Chapman, Curtis L.
Childers, Clay Williams Cook, Harry Reid Cornelius, Randall
Cowart, Douglas S. Cox, Tommy R. Crawford, O. B. Cray Jr., Marcus
N. Cribbs, Earl B. Croft, Franklin H. Croft, James Croft, Nelson
L. Cusumano, Albert Ewell Daniel, John L. D'Azzo, Hal Dean, Anibal
C. Diaz, Henry C. Diaz, Nelson Dickenson, Frederick A. Didier,
George S. Durrance, Tony C. Emanuel, Louis Esteves, Rosario
Ferlita, Mark D. Flynn, Louis Fueyo, Clarion Alfonso Garcia.
2nd Column: Kenneth Garrett,
George Lester Glass Jr., Howell Goodson, Tommy Gordon, Angus
Robert Goss, William Arnold Green, Joe Guastella, Louis Vincent
Guerra, Cilio S. Guerriere, Raymond Hammer,
John T. Hancock, Clyde C. Harnage, George F. Hayman, Alois
Heiter Jr., James Henderson, Robert V. Henry Jr., Wilcox C. Hicks,
Harold Higgins, Joseph M. Holmes, Harry B. Hughes, Ignacio
Italiano, Floyd W. Jerkins, Melvin Jerkins, William L. Kemp, Uvis
Earnest Kitchens, Berlin Knowles, James Connor Lamb, Joe Lazzara,
Edward Leon, Felix Andrew Manrique, Nick Matassini, Charles
Mathews, Louis W. McCall, David McCormick, Ian McPherson, Edward
R. Miller, J. J. Miller, Rudolph M. Miro, Hubert S. Mobley, Walter
S. Monroe Jr., Edward Mount, Edwin J. Mushinski,
Laudies Ira Nelson, Elven R. O'Berry,
Louis Orihuela, Edwin E. Owen, James M. Owen.
3rd Column: Roy P. Parra, Lester
Patterson, R. W. Peerman Jr., Manuel Perez, Gaetano F. Perrone,
Charles Peterson, George W. Phillips, Harry H. Poe, Dean N. Post,
J. B. Pulliam, Anselmo Quain, James Riddell, Arthur Walter
Roberts, Murray B. Roberts, Jacob S. Rosenberg, Sam D. Rotolo,
Gilbert A. Salas, John G. Sands, Robert H. Seik, William Sheffield
Jr., Ernest P. Smith Jr., James Smith, Warren Snapp, Gordon Thomas
Stepp, Andrew Sulli Jr., Earl L Sumner, Peter Tagliarini, Paul F.
Thomas, Robert Thomas, William Touchton, Eugene Rowe Trobaugh Jr,
Edgar L. Tucker, William Turner, Charles F. Valdez, Raymond Voss,
Robert Oscar Wages, William Harry Wagner Jr.,
Harrison B. Walton Jr., Ed Ward,
Robert Lee Waste, William Eugene Webb,
Herbert Neil White, Philip D. Whitehead, William A
Whitener, George Wilder Williams, Robert E. Williams, Paul
Winston, William Wishart, Thomas C. Young.
Photos from the 1950
The ceremony was held too late to make it into the 1949
Rev. E. J. Pendergrass of Seminole
Heights Methodist Church and HHS Principal Vivian Gaither
Rev. Pendergrass speaking to the crowd
HHS Drum & Bugle Corps.
The HHS band at the ceremony, 1949, led by Amado Delgado
Asst. Music Director
The HHS Band in the 1949 Hilsborean
The Mixed Glee Club in the 1949 Hilsborean Front Row, L to R: Patsy
Dale, Yvonne Ralston, Carmella Fonte, Jeanette Lewis, Shirley
Clemons, Richard Menendez, Joe Gonzalez, Oran Almond, Frank
Carrera, Nancy Friend, Mary Louise Judd, Frances Harlan, Jo Ann
Coker, All Hubbard, Miriam Robles, Carlisle Fulwood.
Second Row: Eleanor Evans, Pauline Ellis, Jo Ann Thorpe,
Hildred Williams, Bob Ryals, Don Castor, Charles Menendez, Reece
Johnson, Tommy Brown, Carolyn Hurst, Billy Sapp, Dorinda Gallops,
Chloe Ann Cavanaugh, Alice Adams. Third Row: Barbara
Brumley, Mary Ann Williams, Violanda Puleo, Patty Cranor, Loyce
Boothby, Marilyn Lingo, Edna King, Vernell Burbage, Carolyn
Glisson, Dotty Manolt, Adalee Henning, Marguerite Webb, Beatrice
Miller, Doris DePorter, Mary Alice Jernigan, Diane Parsons, Helen
Williams, Marie Renner, Eleanor Kruppa, Ginny Lou Walsingham, Mary
Home Movie of the
Dedication Ceremony, June 3, 1949
This rare home movie footage of the
dedication ceremony on 8 mm film was found by HHS Alumni
Association Board Member Jeannette Harper
Noble in the attic of her parents' Ybor City home.
She has graciously shared it with us so that generations of Big
Red alumni and friends can enjoy it. Special thanks to
Jeanette and to Rex Gordon for providing it to TampaPix.com.
Mr. Vivian Gaither
Principal, from 1950 Hilsborean
courtesy of Rex Gordon, HHS Historian.
Eugene E. Hatton (1949)
B.S. & M.A. Univ. of
Wayne A. Hamilton (1949)
A.B. Wabash College,
M.A. Columbia Univ., NYC
THE PATIO AND
THE BIG RED H
The patio was renovated in 1950 so it could be used for dances and
barbeques. The music building was completed in 1952 and the display cases were added
to the center hall.
The sacred "H" was dedicated to
Assistant Principal Wayne Hamilton in 1974 for his
service to the school. Pride dictates that it may not be walked upon.
Asst. Principal Wayne
Vivian Gaither, HHS Principal, 1965
The fabled H in the patio at HHS.
If you were caught stepping on it you were forced to kiss the H;
sometimes with the use of force.
In present times, the H is cordoned off to prevent walking on it.
USF President John Allen giving
commencement speech to the first graduating class of USF, Dec. 1963.
Second from the left is Vivian Gaither; to his right is Congressman
School football team
"Big Ten Champs" Dec. 7, 1942 Back row, far left: Asst. Coach
Dick Spoto, far right is Head Coach J. Crockett Farnell; both were
University of Tampa graduates.
Robertson & Fresh photo
from USF Digital Archives
athletics coaches, Dick Clewis, Ben Filipski, J. Crockett Farnell,
Earl Hatcher, Jesse Keene.
In late 2001 when Hillsborough
County was considering names for three new schools in North Tampa,
"J. Crockett Farnell" was proposed for the high school.
Farnell had the backing of Tampa's most powerful figures and the
School Board members agreed. Farnell received votes on a first
ballot, as well as Liberty High School, but neither had enough to
win approval. "Freedom" won on the second ballot.
Before that time, the late
J. Crockett Farnell appeared to have the edge. Farnell, a
legendary football coach at Hillsborough High School who was
superintendent of schools for 17 years in the 1950s and 1960s, was
championed by a massive campaign of former students, players and
colleagues. Backed by former Tampa Mayor Bill Poe, the 18-month
effort had garnered more than 1,000 supporters. The only mark
against the innovative educator was a 1967 embezzlement conviction
that was later overturned on appeal. Former teacher and
Board of Regents member Dennis Ross told the Board, "Crocket was
shabbily treated by this community for many years, we must now set
the record straight and recognize this man's greatness and his
contribution to our society."
In August of 2002, the new
junior high school in Westchase of North Tampa, was named
J. Crockett Farnell Middle School, in his honor. J.
Crockett Farnell Middle School was opened in August 2002. Farnell,
who was a dedicated teacher and coach in Hillsborough County from
1942 - 1948 was elected as Superintendent of Schools for
Hillsborough County from 1949-1966. He was our last elected
superintendent in Hillsborough County.
Hillsborough County Public Schools
Coach J. Crockett Farnell
(left) at the mic with H. B. Plant high school coach Jimmy Hughes
(right), as WDAE sports announcer "Salty Sol" Fleischman looks on.
Nov. 3, 1947
Photo from the Burgert Bros. collection at the
Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library
At Hillsborough, one of the strong points in both spirit and pride
has always been in athletics. This began as early as 1906 with the
formation of the ’Big Red’ football team and cheering squad. By
1910 Hillsborough gained gridiron supremacy over the other state
high school teams and clenched the state championship for the
first time after a relentless battle with Rollins College.
The ’Big Red’ team was a member of the Big Ten Conference and
played against such opponents as the University of Florida and
Stetson University. In 1948 the Terriers won the Big Ten
Conference title for the fourth time in seven years.
Superintendent of Public
Instruction J. Crockett Farnell and Tampa Motor Club officials
with school patrol badges. Aug. 15, 1957
For many years, Hillsborough High played Plant High in an annual
Thanksgiving Day game at Phillips Field, downtown. See more
photos of this event and Phillips Field at the Tampapix feature "Tampa
Hillsborough High vs. Plant
High Thanksgiving Day game, circa 1950s
Robertson & Fresh photo from USF Digital Collections
team has earned considerable respect and is still one of the three
major sports of the school. Baseball did not exist from 1921-1926
since it could not support itself by gate receipts. Hillsborough had some of the best athletes and coaches in
the state in 1931, in spite of the fact that they did not have
adequate training grounds nor a field.
basketball team has also won its share of competitions. It, like
the football team, was a member of the the Big Ten conference and
has won the title as well. The original gymnasium was built in
1936 and was
famously and affectionately
known to Hillsborough High students and alums as the "Big Red Barn", more
commonly "The Barn", probably due in part to its architectural design: its
steep "skylighted" roof and red brick facade caused the gym to resemble a
barn from a distance. "The Barn" was known for being a hostile environment
for Terrier opponents to compete in, for the HHS student body seldom stood
for anything short of winning.
the Feb. 28, 1936 "Red and Black" HHS school newspaper,
image courtesy of HHS historian Rex Gordon.
Read about the WPA.
"The Barn" was one of the harshest gyms in the county to
play in, as there was no air conditioning in it for many
years. That, coupled with the loud fans and the many
talented Terrier teams opposing schools had to face made
"the Barn" a very difficult place to come out of with a win,
much to the delight of generations of Hillsborough fans.
class of 1957, led by the students under Eddie Spoto, Ralph Lazzara
and Tommy Murray, among others, founded a dream--a code of ethics
called the "Terrier Creed," which was to be put into effect by the
succeeding classes. It was the only one of its kind in the South and
it received much publicity. Unknown to the faculty and
administrators, the students took up a collection for a bronze
terrier monument in the courtyard, as a symbol of the Terrier Creed.
Sophomores to seniors alike dug willingly and generously into their
pockets, and by the end of the day, they had surpassed the set goal.
The dream was on the way to reality.
Eve of 1957, a new student body stood reverently in the courtyard
and watched the last step of their dream become reality. Steve
Mason and Ed Guinta unveiled the bronze terrier--standing big,
beautiful, proud and defiant, with the sun highlighting its smooth
surface--a constant reminder of the Terrier Creed.
Ed Guinta, Steve Mason and Bill Biglow placing the plaque at the
foot of the Terrier, dedicating it to the class of 1957.
Three members of the "Jolly Boys" volunteered to "guard" the
precious statue on dedication day.
Much has been written and
stated about the famous "Terrier Creed." Each person from that era
seemingly makes some sort of personal claim about its creation and
origin. One particular article that appeared in the March
2006 issue of the Terrier Talk seems to be the most
accurate description of the 'Creed’s' origin and creation. The
article, written by Ralph Lazzara, infers that he and Eddie Spoto
were commissioned by Mr. Vivian Gaither in the Spring of 1956 to
poll the faculty for its approval of their conceived idea for a
'Code of Ethics'. The idea, if approved by the faculty, would then
be presented to the student body for its acceptance. Needless to
say the idea was widely approved and accepted. At a student
assembly, the entire student body gave its endorsement of the
'Creed'. Among the interesting facts surrounding the 'Creed'
is that it has always been implied that the 'Creed' was solely
created by the students, for the students and without the
assistance or input of anyone else, especially the school’s
faculty. Such is not the case according to Ralph’s article and per
an article published in the Tampa Tribune edition dated April, 26,
1957. The Tribune article mention that Miss Mary Ruby Johns sat as
a faculty sponsor over a group consisting of Eddie Spoto, Edward
Giunta, Crocket Farnell, Grace Bushey, Graig Thurston, Glen
McCall, Steve Mason and Tom Murray. This group seems to be
responsible for the writing of the six articles of the 'Creed'.
as a student of Hillsborough High School, with pride and respect
for myself and for my school, pledge: 1 . To preserve the beauty
and tradition of my school. 2. To demonstrate my school spirit and
to help elevate the standing of my school by displaying conduct
favorable to our reputation at all times. 3. To avoid displaying
my affections at times when my actions would be liable for
criticism, especially on the school campus and in the building and
at school functions. 4. To refrain from all forms of gambling on
campus. 5. To refrain from drinking intoxicating beverages and
using drugs of any kinds at school functions. 6. To refrain from
using disrespectful gestures and profane language. By doing these
things, I will properly reflect the character, personality, and
attitude of my school.
"Possunt quia posse videntur", means "They can because they think
Guinta, co-MC at the dedication ceremony
At first, the
bronze icon stood
boldly on a pedestal outdoors. Too many times, however, students would
arrive at school to find the icon painted in Plant or Chamberlain high
colors. A squad of Hillsborough commandos would be dispatched on a
late-night mission to decorate the rivals' mascots. Due to considerable
torment, the bronze statue was moved inside.
From 1966 to the 1970s, Ann Turner Cook taught English Literature
and creative writing at Hillsborough High School. Ann (born
1928) is now a mystery novelist. She was the model for
the familiar Gerber Baby artwork seen on baby-food packages of the
Gerber Products Company.
Statues could be seen throughout the first and third floors but they were
later moved into the library. During the renovation of 1975, they were
removed from the school with the intention of replacing them. They were
never recovered and their whereabouts are unknown.
The beautiful stained-glass windows in the auditorium
by different groups with funds raised by students. They were completed in 1963.
In 1975 the building
began renovations to allow for central air conditioning.
During the 1975-76 school year, HHS 10th grade students attended George
Washington Junior High for the afternoon session at the 2704 N.
Highland Avenue location--the same facility built for them in 1911.
11th and 12th-graders attended the new Jefferson High School
building at 4401 W. Cypress St. Jefferson students attended
classes from 7am to noon, with an overlap period for some students
needing extra credit from noon to 1pm. Hillsborough students
attended the afternoon session from noon until 5pm.
The renovation of the school was
the end to the last link of the past. Years were swept away. Mechanical
systems were retrofitted to the original structure and had resulted
in significantly lowered ceilings. In some cases, corridors were as
low as 7 ft. 6 in. Acoustical panels were installed over ornate
plasterwork and many windows were completely bricked over. Historic
fixtures were removed or hidden, and original wood floors were
covered with vinyl. The terrazzo floors were carpeted, the marble
partitions in the restrooms were removed and replaced with wooden
stalls. The carved and polished wood which lined
the walls of the library were ripped out and replaced with plaster as it
was transformed into biology rooms. These renovations had concealed,
damaged, or completely removed many of the historically significant
architectural details. An elevator was installed and a new library built.
cursor on the photo to see a pre-renovation hallway
HHS students launched a successful fundraising campaign to pay for the
chimes in the HHS clock tower. In 1980, a plaque was donated by the class
of 1980, and mounted over the doorway leading to the inner courtyard from
the trophy case area of the main building dedicated to the classes of the
1980s and "the Decade of New Ideas."
late 1970s and early 1980s, Hillsborough's student
population swelled to over 3,000 students and spanned two campuses.
to as the North and South Campuses, Hillsborough's South Campus included all of the
buildings which now comprise
Memorial Middle School,
adjacent to HHS on its south side, and was used for the vocational
In the mid 1980s, the Alumni Building, commonly referred to as the 400
Hall, was added to the school. In around 1995, another addition was made,
the 500 Building/English Hall, in which most 10th grade homerooms and
English classes are housed.
2003, the school district realized that the Hillsborough facility was in
need of major updates to meet the spatial needs of the school’s 2000-plus
student body. The district elected to perform renovations with a two-fold
purpose: 1) to preserve the oldest school in the district and the campus’
contribution to the historical neighborhood in which it resides and 2)
provide a cost-effective solution to the growing needs of the district.
Starting in 2005,
many classes were forced into portable classrooms during the renovation.
The major improvements to HHS were divided between maintenance and
restoration, and construction of a new gymnasium.
diligently to preserve as much of the school’s original character as
possible, the project team collaborated to create a durable,
state-of-the-art educational facility. Included in the team’s efforts was
the rehabilitation of the school’s iconic clock tower. By project’s
completion, the tower was returned to working order — complete with a new
carillon that can be heard throughout the surrounding neighborhood. Infill
brick panels introduced in the 1970s were removed and windows reinstalled.
Dropped ceilings were removed to reveal 15-ft. ceilings, barrel vaults,
and column capitals. The hardwood and terrazzo floors were uncovered and
refinished. Original light fixtures were refurbished. Stained glass
windows were refurbished and reinstalled behind a protective layer of
care was taken to ensure that the renovated facility would function at
today’s environmental standards. Updated lighting fixtures, replicating
the original 1920’s fixtures, were installed in areas where the original
fixtures were either missing or beyond repair. The ceilings in some cases
were slightly lowered for the sake of energy efficiency. Items such as
exposed ductwork to meet the air conditioning needs were introduced into
the buildings with great care. Computer data lines were installed in
existing walls and ceilings. School yearbooks from the 1930s and 1940s
were studied and former alumni were consulted, in an effort to effectively
return the high school to its former glory. New wooden seats replaced the
existing plastic auditorium chairs. “The red and black plastic never
worked and were out of place with the restored grandeur of the auditorium
and the stained glass windows."
School Planning & Management)
In 2008, HHS completed renovations to restore the high school to its
pre-1960s luster, when it reopened its newly named gymnasium. On May 3, 2008, a ceremony was held in
Hillsborough High's newly remodeled gym to dedicate the gym, naming it the Don Williams Athletic Center, in honor of former HHS boys basketball
coach Don Williams, who led the Terriers to a 2A state championship in
1959. Coach Williams went on to become the first University of South
Florida men's basketball coach in 1970-71.
Coach Williams was notified of
the dedication prior to his death in 2008 at age 84.
this video slide show of HHS taken in October of 2008 during
an open house. (Photos at right are from the video.)
Chelo Huerta was a born leader.
The son of Cuban-American Ybor City cigar workers, he played
football at HHS as an offensive linesman. Huerta called the
plays, a job usually reserved for the quarterback.
Not long after high school,
he joined the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II, serving as
a B-24 Liberator bomber pilot and flying missions over
Nazi-occupied Europe. When Huerta's aircraft was shot down
over Yugoslavia, he evaded capture by German military units, and
with the assistance of Yugoslav partisans, he was able to safely
return to his base.
After being discharged from
military service, Huerta attended the University of Florida in
Gainesville, where he played guard for coach Bear Wolf's Florida
Gators football team from 1947 to 1949. He was a standout
two-way lineman for the Gators during a time the players
ironically dubbed the "Golden Era"—a stretch when the Gators never
won more than five games in a season. Huerta graduated from
Florida with a bachelor's degree in physical education in 1949.
28, Huerta became the youngest head football coach and athletic
director in the country when he succeeded Frank Sinkwich at the
University of Tampa. After a highly successful 10-season career
there, followed by shorter ones at Wichita State University and
Parsons College, he compiled a 104-53-2 record.
After retiring from coaching
in 1967, Huerta returned to Tampa and was a successful insurance
agent for a year, but he didn't enjoy it. For the last
sixteen years of his life, he was the executive vice president of
the MacDonald Training Center, which assisted in the
rehabilitation of handicapped children and young persons and
developed methods to get them jobs in mainstream society.
In 1975, he testified before the U.S. Congress as an advocate for
mentally and physically impaired children. He was the founder of
the "Football Players for Crippled Children" program, and was a
member of the President's Council on Endowment for the
Handicapped. Huerta received the Pop Warner Award for his
work with young athletes.
was well-known on the Florida Gators alumni speaking circuit for
his quick wit and humor, and he was an active participant in the
"Golden Era" football alumni group from the late 1940s.
Huerta and his wife Gloria had a son, Marcelino J. "Bubba" Huerta,
III, and a daughter Susan. Bubba Huerta played baseball for the
Florida Gators baseball team and graduated from his father's alma
mater, the University of Florida. Chelo Huerta died
unexpectedly of a heart attack in 1985; he was 61 years old.
Thousands attended his funeral at Christ
the King Catholic Church in Tampa.
Photo from Wikipedia
Chelo Huerta was a member of
the Florida Sports Hall of Fame and was posthumously inducted into
the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great"
in 1983. He was also inducted into the College Football Hall
of Fame as a coach in 2002 and In commemoration of his service to
the Tampa Bay community and its youth, the football field at his
high school alma mater, Hillsborough High School, is named
Marcelino "Chelo" Huerta Field in his honor in 1987.
Amid all this achievement,
his son, Marcelino Huerta III, said he also managed to be a good
husband and father. "We had to share him with the community and
the country, but he included us in his very exciting
celebrity-style life," said Huerta III, a 51-year-old Tampa
lawyer. "He always made time for us." In 1987, the
city dedicated a playground in his name at Bay To Bay Boulevard
and Lois Avenue in Virginia Park. In 2002, he was posthumously
inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
has had many graduations in its past and all of them have been
unique. The first graduating class in 1886 consisted of four
seniors; three girls and one boy. The extent of their education is
unknown. There was no formal ceremony. The next year, five girls
graduated with a formal ceremony at the old Tampa Branch opera house, which
occupied the 2nd floor of a building at the northwest corner of
Franklin Street and Lafayette. Each girl read her graduating speech
by the light of oil lamps which hung along the walls.
Three buildings that stood on
the northwest corner of Franklin and Lafayette Boulevard in the
1880s: The large three-story building in the center held the Branch
Opera House on the second floor. It served as Tampa's primary place
for social, political, and civil affairs. On the left is
Emery, Simms & Emery's Boots and Shoes store. On the right is
a grocery store. These 3 buildings appear in the above 1887
map. "B & S" is "boots and shoes."
In the 1870s, a
period in Tampa referred to as the "Dismal Decade," Tampa had shrunk
to approximately 726 citizens by the time the 1880 census was taken.
H.B. Plant's railroad led to sudden growth in Tampa, and by 1885,
Tampa’s population had multiplied to nearly 3,000 residents. That’s
the way it was, on that May 7th, when a mass meeting was called at
Branch’s Opera House for the purpose of forming a Board of Trade,
predecessor to today’s Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. The top
people were on hand, and twenty-seven early birds were enrolled as
charter members that first meeting. There were dentists, physicians,
druggists, printers, painters, storekeepers, insurance and real
estate men, watchmakers and jewelers.
P. Wall, a highly respected medic, Tampa mayor and an
outstanding Floridian, was chosen to lead these boosters in their
crucial first year.
High School was the first high school in the county to establish an
Alumni Association. In 1985, during the 100th Anniversary of the
school, HHS alumni came together and decided to form The
Hillsborough High School Alumni Association. And, since the HHSAA
has created the Terrier Hall of Fame, which includes and recognizes
prominent HHS alumni in all walks of life. Hillsborough has an
illustrious alumni with records of service as State Attorney,
Senators, Judges, State Representative, Mayors of Tampa,
professional athletes, educators, School Board Members, actors,
authors, lecturers, sports announcers, Country Commissioners and
Council Members, entrepreneurs, etc.
Today, the HHS Alumni Association publishes the Terrier Talk
newsletter four times per year, and has launched an HHSAA website.
The HHSAA helps fund school improvement projects.
Hillsborough High School takes pride in the fact that four public
schools in Hillsborough County are named for former principals of
Hillsborough: Vivian Gaither High School in northern Hillsborough
County (16200 N Dale Mabry Hwy), Richard C. Spoto High School in the
southern end of the county (8538 Eagle Palm Dr), B.C. Graham
Elementary (2915 Massachusetts Ave in Riverside Heights) and Glenn
H. Barrington Middle School, (14510 Boyette Road, Riverview.)
Jody Espina - saxophonist,
educator, highly regarded in NYC, founder/President of JodyJazz
-of renowned brand of American-made woodwind mouthpieces and
accessories marketed world wide. Jody was also the featured sax on
Twelfth Judicial District Circuit Court Judge, appointed in 1983
by Florida Gov. Bob Graham (D), served as Chief Judge in the late
1990s. Owens is a former UF basketball star.
Peter Frank Estrada - Florida
Tenth Judicial District Circuit Court Judge - appointed 2005 by
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, County Court Judge - Appointed 2003;
Elected 2004, first Hispanic judge in the history of the 10th