Benton Harbor High School Class of 1971

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A Brief History of Benton Harbor High School

In the early 1870's, Justice Cooley of the Supreme Court of Michiagn, handed down a decision stating that high school education was elementary education and should be supported by taxes.

A city resolution provided for the establishment of Benton Harbor High School in 1872.  The first location of Central School, which included the elemenary and high school grades, was on Pipestone St, near Broadway.  In the early years, Benton Harbor High School was a college preparatory school.  English, Latin, mathematics, history, and natural philosophy (chemistry & physics) were required and no elective subjects were offered.

The first class to graduate was in 1876, with six members.  In the first twenty year period from 1876 to 1896 the total graduated students numbered 175.  From 1896 to 1916 the total was 637, an increase of 462.  In the period 1916 to 1936, 2,515 graduatd, an increase of 1,878.  Between 1965 and 1975, 3,265 have graduated, an increse of 1,110.

In 1892, the high school was moved into a new building, three blaocks from Central School on Broadway Street.  A few years later, damage caused by fire forced students to set up school in the Saltzman Hotel.  The kitchen became a chemistryt lab and partitions divided the larger rooms into classrooms.  In 1921, students moved into the present building on Colfax Avenue.

Throughout the years Benton Harbor has attained a high scholastic record.  An average of twenty percent of her graduates go on to schools of higher education  In 1942, Benton Harbor High School was given an award for the high scholastic records of its students at the University of Michigan.  We were the first "Class A" school to receive this honor.  Our school also maintains excellent business and correspondence departments to provide for vocational training.  Benton Harbor Area Schools operates the largest vocational training center (the Skill and Thechnical Centers) of any single school district in the state.

Benton Harbor has had many outstanding teachers and superintendents.  At the University of Michigan, we have Dr. Edmunson, head of the Department of Education; Dr. Fischer, head of the Extension Division; and Wally Weber, assistant football coach.  Mr. Cleve Rossman, head of a large vocationa school in Detroit, and Mr. Charles Semler, President of the Michigan Athletic Association and representative of the national committee, are other outstanding men.

Bento Harbor isn't lacking in successful alumni either, Among our most famous are Lew Sarrett, well-known poet ande head of public speaking at Northwestern University; Harry Joe Brown movie producer; Barrett O'Hara, one time Lieutenant Governor of Illinois; Dr. Emmett Taylor, professor of economics of the University of Cincinnati; Montie Blue and Ruth Terry, movie stars; * Vic Miller, V-M Corporation; and David Atkins (Sinbad), actor, commedian.

*(Added information.

Research  provided by Mr. Dennis Rothenburger, heaq librarian, taken from the 1975 Greybric.

For those of you who may not have purchased a Greybric, the Bention Harbo rPublic Libary has mnost=, if not all, Greybrics ever published.


Benton Harbor High School Class of 1971 40th Year Reunion