High School: This special high school in Memphis, began in
as The Memphis Vocational High School and had 72
in grades 7 to 10. It was located at 317
Poplar in the old "castle" that had been occupied by Memphis High School. In
1917, Mr. J. L. Highsaw, who had been a classroom
teacher, became principal of the school, which was now called Crockett
Technical. In 1918, the school name was changed to Memphis
High School and it now had 4 teachers and 232 students.
a new building. It was determined that the old nearby palatial
Vleet mansion on Poplar Avenue would be torn down for the "finest
building in the South." The school board paid $90,000 for the 10
acre tract on which the home was located, and spent $500,000 to build
new school. The architectural firm of Hanker, Cairns, and Wallace
was chosen to build the school.
In 1928 the new building at
was completed. The Classic building, was very
At the main entrance there were four Corinthian columns, supporting a
on the front. Certain elements from the old Van Vleet mansion
added to the site: Two stone lions at the east gate (They have
been moved to the entrance of the Memphis Zoo), a great stone bench
the mansion's green house, and two huge classic urns at the top of the
entrance steps. Indeed, the four columns and portico of Tech's
reflect the entrance of the Van Vleet mansion.
The equipment throughout
was the latest and most modern. All lockers were recessed into
walls. On the first floor were the biology, physics rooms, along
with home-making and dressmaking. And unlike most schools, the
offices were located on the second floor. Also on this floor were
the commercial departments, including bookkeeping and typing. On
the western side of this floor was the magnificent library room.
On the third floor eastern side were the two splendidly arranged
commercial art rooms. On the western side was located the
equipped chemical laboratory and lecture room.
By 1936, Tech had 47
teachers and over
1400 students. Principal Highsaw retired in 1957 and Mr. W. A.
became principal. He retired in 1975. Tech continued to
until the "decline of the cities" in the 70's. With changing
of the inner-city, it finally closed in 1987. The beautiful
is still in use and is now called Pyramid School - for students who
not been able to function in a regular public school environment.