TECH HIGH SCHOOL   Miniature Model by Gene Gill   

Model Size: 8" x 11" x 3"



May 18, 2004:  Gene Gill has donated this miniature of Tech to the Class of '51 Reunion Committee to use as a fund-raiser for their activities.  The model is on a wooden base measuring 9" x 12" and includes a 9" x 12" x 6.5" Plexiglas Display Box.  It's signed on the back and comes with a certificate of authentication which verifies that the artist will make only this one model.  In the Memphis area,  committee member Sue Lee Johnson will be the "temporary keeper" of the model.   Click on any small photo to see a large photo.


Thanks to Rob Jolly, Tech ''70, for supplying this history of Tech High School below, as well as numerous historical photos for our website.  Rob is a collector of Tech Memorabilia and along with thousands of photos and newspaper articles, he has a copy of EVERY yearbook since the school began.  Email:

Tech High School:  This special high school in Memphis, began in 1911 as The Memphis Vocational High School and had 72 students 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 Technical High School and it now had 4 teachers and 232 students.

The growing school needed a new building.  It was determined that the old nearby palatial Van Vleet mansion on Poplar Avenue would be torn down for the "finest school 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 the new school.  The architectural firm of Hanker, Cairns, and Wallace was chosen to build the school. 

In 1928 the new building at 1266 Poplar was completed.  The Classic building,  was very beautiful.  At the main entrance there were four Corinthian columns, supporting a portico on the front.  Certain elements from the old Van Vleet mansion were added to the site:  Two stone lions at the east gate (They have since been moved to the entrance of the Memphis Zoo), a great stone bench from 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 entrance reflect the entrance of the Van Vleet mansion.

The equipment throughout the school was the latest and most modern.  All lockers were recessed into the walls.  On the first floor were the biology, physics rooms, along with home-making and dressmaking.  And unlike most schools, the administrative 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 beautifully 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. Bourne became principal.  He retired in 1975.  Tech continued to grow until the "decline of the cities" in the 70's.  With changing demographics of the inner-city, it finally closed in 1987.  The beautiful building is still in use and is now called Pyramid School - for students who have not been able to function in a regular public school environment. 

Van Vleet Mansion Lions at Tech Gates Bill of Sale