OGDEN — Two historic school buildings near 25th Street — each of which housed both Ogden High School and Central Junior High at different times — have been stirring up comments from our readers.
In October, the Standard-Examiner published two articles about an event in which a time capsule from 1887 was first opened. The time capsule had been buried in an old Ogden school building that stood on the northeast corner of 25th Street and Adams Avenue, where the Imagine Jefferson apartment complex now stands.
We heard from several readers that the building’s name, historical timeline and location were wrong in the articles.
With the sleuthing assistance of Sarah Langsdon, head of Special Collections at Weber State’s Stewart Library, we were able to confirm that the information about the building in previous coverage was correct.
Originally called Ogden Academy when it was finished in 1887, the building where the time capsule was found was identified in previous coverage as the old Central Junior High building, because that’s how it was best known during its life, according to Alan Barnett, local government archivist with the Utah Division of Archives and Records Service.
For approximately the last 20 years of its service as a public school, from 1910-1939, the building was home to Central Junior High, Langsdon said in an email.
In 1938, the building was purchased by the state school board to remodel and use as a space for Weber State, then called Weber College, according to a history of Ogden schools provided by Langsdon.
Weber College occupied the building until the 1950s, when it moved to the current campus on Harrison. The building was demolished around 1960, which is when the time capsule was found, according to Barnett.
The October event during which the time capsule was first opened was held in Salt Lake, but an event has been scheduled in January to display the contents of the time capsule in Ogden.
From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18, the time capsule will be displayed at the main branch of the Weber County Library at 2464 Jefferson Ave., just a block from where the old Ogden Academy building stood, housing the time capsule in its cornerstone for more than 70 years.
Residents of Ogden thought the description of the building was incorrect because another historic school building was built near the Ogden Academy building — just three blocks east and slightly south of 25th Street, at 2563 Monroe Blvd., where James Madison Elementary now stands.
Central Junior High moved from the Ogden Academy building to the Monroe building for more space in 1939. At the time of the move, the junior high served 1,000 eighth, ninth and tenth graders, according to the history provided by Langsdon.
Though this building on Monroe went through changes, its location was home to Central Junior High, later called Central Middle School, from 1939 until 2007, when Central Middle finally closed, according to reporting by KSL.
Because the junior high was at this location for almost 70 years, this is the place most Ogden residents, some of them alumni of the school, think of when they hear the school’s name.
The Monroe building had originally been built in 1909 as a home for the high school, which was housed there until 1937, when it moved to its present location, the historic art deco building at 2828 Harrison Blvd., Langsdon said in an email.
“Students from Central junior high school will all turn out in a group and really strut when school opens this year,” says an article published in the Ogden Standard-Examiner on Aug. 24, 1939, describing the junior high students moving into the Monroe building. “They have accomplished something. Many of them only in the eighth grade are going to high school. Well, they are going to the old high school building anyhow, and most of them are pleased with the change.”
The Ogden Standard, a predecessor of the Standard-Examiner, published an article about the new building on Monroe the first day it opened, Monday, Sept. 13, 1909. In the article, the building was described as having 23 finished rooms, serving approximately 600 high school students.
“The opening of the Ogden High school at the new building this morning was the largest and most promising in the history of the school,” the article says.
Like Central Junior High, Ogden High School spent time at the Ogden Academy building before moving over to the building on Monroe.
Ogden High School first held classes in the building at 25th Street and Adams in 1896, when Ogden School District leased it from the Congregationalist church before purchasing it two years later.
The high school was there until 1909, when the Monroe building opened. The junior high, at that time called the sub-high school, moved into the Ogden Academy building in 1910, Langsdon said.
The high school occupied the building on Monroe for roughly the same 20 years that Central Junior High occupied the Ogden Academy building at the corner of 25th Street and Adams.
While the Ogden Academy building was demolished around 1960, the history of the old high school building on Monroe is less clear.
A district architectural assessment conducted in 2002 found that the building on Monroe that currently houses James Madison Elementary dates to 1941, said Jer Bates, communications director for Ogden School District, in an email. Based on that assessment, it does not appear that anything remains of the original structure built for the high school in 1909.