Blog Single

Arlington High School's 1922 Gymnasium (Part 2 of 2)

"Arlington High Gym is One of the Largest in Texas"

This was the title of an article that appeared in the Dallas Morning News on March 23, 1922, with a March 22 dateline. Of course, the reference is to the then brand new Arlington High School on S. Cooper St., just south of W. Abram St. This story was covered in a previous article. We ended the article with questions:

  • What was the exact location of the old gym?
  • What happened to it?
  • Was it destroyed by fire?
  • Was it simply demolished in favor of the new 1940 gymnasium?

Several of our readers have responded with answers! Thanks to each of them!

First, thanks again to Richard Aghamalian, who brought the 1922 Dallas Morning News article to our attention in early July.

After the August/September newsletter was released, Chris Cates and M.C. Toyer gave us a copy of a March 1927 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of that part of Arlington around S. Cooper and Abram St. This clearly shows (see below) that there was a large “Athletic Hall” behind the main high school building. Now look at the 1928 photograph of Arlington High School, also below— on the left, you can clearly see a portion of the “Athletic Hall” behind the school.

March 1927 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map showing the 1922 "Athletic Hall" - Cooper Street is on the left; north is at the top of the plat.

Arlington High School - 1928 photograph; a portion of the 1922 gym is on the left, behind the main school building.

Chris Cates also said, “I’m looking at a 1956 aerial of the old high school. You can see something of an imprint or foundation where the 1922 gym was, but, by now, it’s all been obliterated by the clinic that was behind the school at that time.”

Then Doland Maner, former Historical Society Board Member, and May 1940 graduate of Arlington High School, along with Tom Champion, one of Doland’s classmates, provided very valuable first hand information:

“Yes, the 1922 gym was directly behind the high school building itself. It was an old wooden World War I airplane hanger (most all of them were wooden), converted for use as a gym, The interior was a vast open space, like a hanger, with dressing rooms, showers, rest rooms, etc. around the perimeter. Both of us played in that old gym. It was demolished about the time a new brick gym was built (1939- 40) just south of the high school.”

Richard Aghamalian pointed out that older Arlington High School diplomas had a sketch of the main high school building (see sketch below) and, to the south of it, a gymnasium. One would think that such diplomas must have been given before 1940, when the new gymnasium was first occupied, since the gymnasium pictured on those diplomas is clearly not the 1940 gymnasium. It appears that the sketch artist might have taken the liberty of “moving” the 1922 gymnasium out from behind the main school building so as to be able to illustrate both campus buildings. The gym shown on the diploma does resemble a WW I airplane hanger (put “WW I airplane hangers” in your search engine and you’ll see the resemblance)! But we have a problem here—the sketch below appeared on a diploma dated May 1941, but by this time the new 1940 gymnasium was already in place!! WE NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU if you have an A.H.S. diploma dated May 1939 or ea rl ie r (preferably much earlier)! We need to know if this same sketch was also on those earlier diplomas!