Gladstone History: The Annex

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by JaQuay Edward Carter, Founder and President of the Greater Hazelwood Historical Society of Pittsburgh

In January of 1922, a reorganization of Pittsburgh grade schools took place on a junior high basis to relieve congestion, which placed ten percent of the children on a part-time or similarly make-shift plan.

The superintendent of schools, Dr. William M. Davidson, recommended "the immediate completion of Gladstone school," along with the building of a four-room annex to the Glenwood school. These were both accepted and accommodated. The junior high school system, in use in most large cities, was beginning to be implemented. The plan was to take seventh and eighth graders out of primary schools, and first and second year pupils out of high schools, combining them in the intermediate junior high school.  

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On July 18th, 1922, talks were beginning on completing the second half of the building's construction, including twelve new classrooms, an auditorium and two playrooms. Contracts for the addition were awarded to the Pittsburgh Engineering and Construction on August 11, 1922. The cost was $452,912. A September 21, 1922 Pittsburgh Press newspaper clipping read as follows, "FIFTEEN laborers wanted at once at Gladstone school, Hazelwood; good wages, long job." It was a very long job indeed, starting and stopping, mainly due to foundation remediation - continuing for more than four years. 

ATTENTION: If you’re interested in Gladstone’s history and future, make sure to come to the community meeting TONIGHT (Wednesday, December 5) at 6 p.m. at the Pittsburgh Fire Fighters Union Hall on 120 Flowers Avenue. You can RSVP here. We hope to see you there!

While annex construction continues for the first year, inaugural sessions of classes were held at the new Gladstone Junior High school on Tuesday, September 4, 1923, its original capacity almost tripled. With the new space being made, part-time sessions were eliminated for 564 pupils. Part-time sessions were eliminated entirely for the first time in over a decade in the Hazelwood district, where 322 children once were. Students would now be guaranteed a seat and a full day in class.

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By October 1, 1923 the new junior high was chosen as 1 of 41 "night schools" open to all adults who have completed an elementary school course or have 8th grade scholastic ability. Academic, commercial, industrial, vocational, household economy, arts, music and physical training classes were offered. One of the most vital courses offered were for new Americans, teaching English and citizenship to the various immigrated residents of Hazelwood.

By 1926, the construction for Gladstone Junior High school's annex was fully complete. The three-story mezzanine brick and limestone building could accommodate 1,200 pupils, containing the following rooms: art room, music room, wood shop, electric shop, metal shop, drafting room, pre-vocational shop, writing room, two gymnasiums, a swimming pool, two cafeterias, students' society room, teacher's workroom and a millinery room for designing women's hats. 

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