School History

History of Collinwood High School

The community of Collinwood dates back to the 1800s, not long after Ohio became a state. This railroad settlement has always been proud of its people and their achievements. For seventy-six years, Collinwood High School has stood at the corner of Five Points Plaza, contributing to the community’s growth and welfare by providing quality education for its young people. However, the history of Collinwood really began in a one-room log building near the intersection of Westropp, Waterloo, and Collamer avenues. It was a small school that served all grade levels.

As the Collinwood community grew, a larger, more modern school was needed. In 1906, voters approved a bond issue making it possible for a sixteen-room building to be erected at Five Points. The new school, named South High School, opened in 1906 and served all grade levels. A local newspaper called Collinwood’s public school system to be the best in Cuyahoga County. For many years, this reputation was upheld under the guidance of Principal Frank C. Whitney.

In 1910, the Collinwood Village became part of the city of Cleveland. By that time, the four-year old school contained grades nine and ten only. It was changed to a junior high school and was renamed Collinwood in 1916. Six years later, plans were drawn for a new addition to be built. In 1925, Frank P. Whitney became principal and the school once again began serving the higher-grade levels.

The present site of Collinwood High School on St. Clair Avenue building was opened in the fall of 1926 and was built around the existing structure. The original tower was retained as an outstanding architectural feature of the building. It was chosen by the class of February 1928 as the symbol of the school. The new building was dedicated in a grand ceremony that lasted several days. The Cleveland Symphony Orchestra played as the school celebrated the addition of eighty new rooms across more than eight acres.

Among the additions were a library, auditorium/stage, a 900-seat cafeteria, a small theater, a student supply store, a school bank, and new gyms. There were ninety-four students of the first senior class, which graduated in February 1928. Eleven years later the enrollment had risen to 5,015; and in June of 1939, the graduating class consisted of 5,211 members.

In 1969, Margaret Spellacy-Junior High School opened and Collinwood again became a four-year high school. However, the school was still growing. The year 1974 marked the addition of a new gymnasium, swimming pool, and teachers’ parking area to complete the building as it is known today.

For more, visit www.collinwoodhighschool.net.

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