Wisconsin Historical Society

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Architecture and History Inventory
1200 E FAIRMOUNT AVE | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Whitefish Bay High School
Other Name:
Contributing: Yes
Reference Number:9291
Location (Address):1200 E FAIRMOUNT AVE
City:Whitefish Bay
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1929
Additions: 2011
Survey Date:20111980
Historic Use:elementary, middle, jr.high, or high
Architectural Style:Collegiate Gothic
Structural System:
Wall Material:Brick
Architect:Carl Tullgren (architect)
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished Date:
National/State Register Listing Name:
National Register Listing Date:
State Register Listing Date:
National Register Multiple Property Name:
Additional Information:1980-



Prior to 1927, the closest high school to Whitefish Bay was Milwaukee’s Riverside High School. After its opening in 1927, Whitefish Bay students attend Shorewood High School on Capital Drive. However, by 1930, Shorewood High School was so crowded that starting with the freshman class that year, students from outside of Shorewood were no longer accepted. Fortunately, Whitefish Bay’s school board had anticipated this and, in 1927, purchased 14 acres of the now non-extant Armory’s grounds for $80,000 from the Wisconsin National Guard. The board pushed construction of Richards Elementary School so that it could house high school students while the high school itself was under construction. Richards School was home to the ninth grade in 1930, as well as the tenth grade the following school year. Whitefish Bay High School opened to reunite all four grades under one roof at 1200 E. Fairmount Avenue in the fall of 1932. The new high school served students from Fox Point and Town of Milwaukee who had also previously attended Shorewood High School as well as students from as far away as Thiensville.

The high school’s original design was for a building consisting of five units, built overtime as expansion was required. The center unit and a west wing were the only portions of the original plan to be realized; it was designed by Herbert W. Tullgren and constructed of reinforced concrete, steel, face brick, and Bedford stone by Pail Riesen at the cost of $432,000. At its opening the school contained 26 classrooms, laboratories, a library, cafeteria, gymnasium, school store, administrative offices, and a third-story auditorium. The building’s main architectural feature was a central entrance tower faced in carved stone; the spacious lobby’s floor featured a green and black inlaid stone map of the world. The original grounds featured tennis courts facing Henry Clay Street, a track with bleachers, football and baseball fields, and a field house.

In 1948, the Memorial Gymnasium wing housing a new gymnasium; recreation rooms; handball courts; rifle range, swimming pool; locker rooms; and music, home economics, and study rooms was completed in dedication to graduates who served in World War II. A north classroom wing and 1,200-seat theater wing on the school’s east side were designed by Grassold, Johnson & Associates and constructed by C. J. Schmidt in 1956. In 1967, construction by the Joseph P. Jansen Company started on a large wing designed by architect Fitzhugh Scott Jr. to the north side of the school that provided more classrooms, a new field house, and a new swimming pool. Renovations and additions to the Theater wing began in 2010.
Bibliographic References:Building permit records on file at Whitefish Bay Village Hall. Whitefish Bay Historical Research Project. Volume 9. Mimi Bird Collection, Whitefish Bay: Whitefish Bay Public Library
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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