Postcard from the Past: Westminster High School

I found this old postcard entitled “Westminster High School, 1910”.  It’s a three story mansard roofed building with a tower, maybe some sort of Second Empire style and I don’t recall seeing anything resembling this in Westminster to date. (If you can set the record straight, please comment!)

A 2015 article in the Baltimore Sun by Kevin Dayhoff remarks that Westminster’s first public high school was at the corner of Green and Center Streets. There are a couple of mansard roof structures close by, but nothing resembling this.

Searching for the site

I’m guessing that complex on the left corner looking East on Green Street might be the original site… But what happened to the original building, then?

The same article says that this public high school was built in 1898 and almost immediately there were complaints about overcrowding. The student body had jumped from less than 50 to more than 260!  It sounds like there was poor planning on someone’s part or a misunderstanding about the value of education.

It is so interesting learning about my adopted state of Maryland and this county. As a New York State native, we were raised to take to heart our motto “The Empire State”. In other words, “We’re Number One!” . New York took education VERY seriously and we felt our whole public school system was tops in the nation and having good schools and teachers was a high priority.  (OK, I’m also biased because the majority of people on both sides of my family are “edjumakators”  going back generations…)  So, a few points from this article were kind of cringe-worthy:

  • Carroll County protested when the state told it to form its first school board
  • Half the 139 schools in the county in the 1920’s had just 1 teacher. (Maybe most were one room school houses to 8th grade?)
  • Every effort to fund a larger replacement school or to get infrastructure improvements was fought tooth and nail
  • The county withheld teachers’ pay (In the roaring 20’s yet! ) because voters wouldn’t approve necessary bonds for school and roads

Geez Louise.

Of course, now the school board is closing down high schools and consolidating students, so I’m sure someone will think that there was conservative fiscal prescience in Carroll citizens back then!

Westminster High School 1910

Westminster High School 1910


Dayhoff’s Original Article in B-Sun