The old "Tech Castle" is demolished

Null Adams - Memphis Press Scimiter:  November 26,1965

Newspaperman and Tech High graduate Null Adams wrote this article about "old Tech" in 1965.  One fact in his story is not quite correct - the first sentence, "It was Memphis' first high school".  And then he continues, explaining that "It" refers to "Old Tech".  Actually Memphis' first high school was Memphis High School and it was located on the top floors of the old Market Street School at 3rd and Market.  In 1898, the Memphis Board of Education built "a castle" on Poplar Avenue exclusively for Memphis High School and that school remained in this building until June of 1911.  In September of 1911, the new Memphis Vocational High School opened in the old castle building and the new Central High School opened in a new building on Bellevue.  Both schools evolved from Memphis High School. 

"The Castle"on Poplar

Memphis Vocation High (1911-17) evolved into Crockett Vocational High (1918-20), and then into Crockett Technical High (1921-27).  In 1928 Crockett Technical moved from "the castle" into a new building on Poplar and was renamed Memphis Technical High.  At the same time, the Memphis Board of Education moved into the old castle.  Although the old building was originally called "Memphis High School", it had now become so closely associated with Tech High that until it was demolished in 1965, it was always known as "the Old Tech building".  That led to a lot of confusion and incorrect information about the founding dates of Tech and Central High.  They both actually began on the same date - September 1911.

The demolition of this beautiful and historic Memphis building ranks right up there with the demolition of Memphis Cossitt Library.

Click on small photos for an enlargement   >

Below:  A
series of photographs of the old Castle through the years...

The old school appeared in numerous postcards of the period - usually called "High School".  But there are cards appearing with the name "Memphis High School" and "Vocational High School".  The famous school photo, which was used again and again was taken by well known Memphis photographer J. C. Coovert.

Memphis High School 1907

High School 1908

Vocational High School 1914

Group of Schools 1913

The "Castle" through the years ...

1909  Memphis High School

1911 Vocational HS

1912 Flood

Vocational HS

Crockett Technical

Crockett Technical 1922

Crockett Technical 1926

A new view

Sign over door

Board of Ed 1960s


1907 Souvenir photos

Vintage Vase

MHS pin, circa 1898


Can you find the Castle?




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