June 6, 2018

Poly High School ~ 60 years on

I can't believe it's been 60 years this month since I graduated from Polythechnic High School in San Francisco, California.      


1958 yearbook front cover
photo by Styrous®

Poly opened in 1884 as the Commercial School, on Powell Street between Clay and Sacramento. It subsequently moved to Bush and Stockton Streets. Academic subjects were added to the curriculum in 1890 and art and shop in 1895, when it was renamed San Francisco Polytechnic High School. The building was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake, and replaced in 1911 by a classical revival building on Frederick Street, which opened in 1915; a "manual and shop training" building facing Carl Street opened in 1912. During this period the school had 2,000 students, more than any other in the city.   

1958 yearbook back cover
photo by Styrous®

Later additions included a boys' and a girls' gymnasium in art deco style, at opposite ends of the school.     

I remember that gym so well. My most vivid memories are rope climbing . . .     

photo by Stevage

I actually have no idea how high the ceiling of the gym was but I remember when climbing the rope it seemed it was miles . . .     

. . . and running around Kezar Stadium which was across the street from the school; when having to run around it several times it WAS miles.    

Kezar Stadium w/ Poly High School on the left
photo by Eric Fischer

Kezar Stadium - 1955 

In 1928, the city high school championship game between cross-town rivals San Francisco Polytechnic and Lowell drew more than 50,000—still the record for a high school football game in northern California. I remember those Poly/Lowell games. Poly had black and red colors, Lowell had white and red.         

The stadium became a popular outdoor concert venue, and its proximity to the Haight-Ashbury District helped with the transition. Notable performers at Kezar included Led Zeppelin, The Doobie Brothers, Jefferson Starship, Tower of Power, Joan Baez, Grateful Dead, The New Riders of the Purple Sage, Santana, Waylon Jennings, Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Graham Central Station.

In June of 1989, the stadium was demolished and rebuilt with a much smaller seating capacity of 10,000. Four months later the Loma Prieta earthquake hit the city but that's another story.  

1958 yearbook front endpaper
photo by Styrous®

I have many memories and stories about high school that I think I will write about in future articles here on the Viewfinder.        

1958 yearbook back endpaper
photo by Styrous®

Viewfinder link:   
The Poly Math*     
Net link:   
The Perennial Parrot Newsletter     
Styrous® ~ Wednesday, June 6, 2018       

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