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Wisconsin National Register of Historic Places

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Peckham Junior High School (Gary Tipler photo, 2011)

Peckham Junior High School (Gary Tipler photo, 2011)

Peckham Junior High School entry detail (Gary Tipler photo, 2011)

Peckham Junior High School auditorium (Gary Tipler photo, 2011)

Peckham Junior High School
3245 North 37th Street, Milwaukee, Milwaukee County
Date of construction: 1927
Architect: Guy Edson Wiley

The Peckham Junior High School represents the culmination of Progressive movement influences in developing an educational program and a subsequent building type that bridged the previous differences between elementary and secondary education. Junior high schools as buildings separate from elementary and high schools were largely possible in urban centers. Built as the second junior high school in Milwaukee, Peckham was one of only two new such buildings built in Milwaukee in the 1920s.

The goal of the junior high school movement was to better prepare young adults for work, careers, trade schools, and college without extending the twelve-years of education, and to hold the students' interest in participation. Subjects then reserved for high school, including algebra, geometry, natural science and foreign languages would begin two years earlier, thus increasing the secondary schooling from three to six years.

In the 1910s and 1920s, the movement increasingly addressed the physical design of the junior high school. Features most often found in purpose built junior high schools of the period are auditoriums, gymnasiums, lunchrooms or cafeterias, science laboratories, rooms for industrial education shops and home arts, a library, as well as rooms for art and music. A desirable site feature was a large playground. Classrooms were scientifically designed to maximize natural lighting and avoid crowding to maximize a healthy learning environment.

The school, later renamed Jackie Robinson Middle School, closed in 2005. In 2011 to 2012, the building was converted to apartments using historic preservation income tax credits.


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