the Ask Vance article: Click on the
"numbers" for verification of the facts.
article does contain a lot of the facts, but they’re just a little
bit confusing. I’ll try to add to your story and clarify the
“relic” the gentleman purchased is the Dynamo, the 1922 yearbook of
Crockett Technical High and not a relic of the first high school.
The first high school is indeed Memphis High School, but that name
never changed. It was just dropped when there was no longer just
ONE high school. However, one could say that every high school
built in Memphis after 1911 goes back to the original Memphis High
the new Central opened in 1911, it was to be the first of several
planned high schools in the greater Memphis area, so the Memphis
High School name was no longer pertinent and it was retired.(1)
This left the Poplar Avenue building vacant and the board had no
real need for the building. So they created the NEW Vocational
Grammar and High School, specifically for the building, and “to
take the load off Central so those other high schools wouldn’t have
to be built for some time”.(2),
both the new Central and the new Vocational School opened at exactly
the same time – September 1911.
Of course, the Vocational School is definitely the forerunner of
Tech and the Poplar Avenue building became so identified with Tech
that most folks think Tech is as old as the building.
name Crockett was added in honor of Mrs. E. J. Crockett, a prominent
early Memphis educator, who was a long time principal of the Memphis
High School. (6)
Van Vleet mansion was torn down in 1927 and the new Memphis
Technical High opened in September 1928.(7), (8)
The Board of Education uses this date as the founding of Tech –
simply because it’s the date of the new building and the final name
for the school. But everybody knows that Tech goes back to that
original Vocational School. A lot of folks continue to think it’s older, but