Bradford High School
" 'Mid the hills of Pennsylvania, stands a school we love
Our devotion is as steadfast as the stars above"
Remember that song? It has served as the official school song for at least 82 years. No wonder we all can still hum a few bars.
The Bradford High School building that we know today was dedicated on September 6, 1925. It was built to replace the older high school (most now remember that location as the Third Ward School, razed in 2003). Increasing enrollment and deteriorating conditions in the old high school forced the construction of the newer and more modern structure.
The location of the new high school had created months of debate inside the city. Suggestions for its building site ranged from Jackson Avenue to the old Bradford cemetery plot off Davis Street (currently Hanley Park). Eventually, a site on what was then called Bennett Brook Road (now Interstate Parkway) was chosen, and construction began in the summer of 1924.
The laying of the cornerstone occurred on July 19, 1924. "The impressive ceremonies at the site of the new Bradford High School held this afternoon, when the cornerstone of the structure will be laid at 2 o'clock, are to be proceeded by an extensive procession of hundreds of school children and numerous civic, service, fraternal, and military organizations to the school grounds. As the stone was lowered in position, Bill Marshall of Boy Scout Troop 5 and Mildred O'Neill of Girl Scout Troop 1 raised a new American flag to the corner of the building. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in the crowd stood at salute". Speeches followed, and a blessing by local ministers and St. Bernard's priest. A copper box was placed in the cornerstone. Inside were copies of the Bradford Era, the Bradford Herald, the Bradford Star, newspaper clippings concerning the construction of the school, a bible presented by Martha Sprout, a silver "Peace" dollar, a directory of the Bradford schools, and various letters from dignitaries and city politicians.
The school was completed in time for the 1925-26 school year. The Bradford Era
describes the opening, September 6, 1925:
"The doors of the new $500,000 Senior High School were thrown open to the public for the first time yesterday. The voters and taxpayers of the city had possession of the building for an inspection on Labor Day. This morning, the students will take charge and actual school work will begin in the spick and span new classrooms prepared to receive them."
The dedicatory exercises were held in the new auditorium which is on the main floor, directly opposite the entrance. This is now probably the most imposing assembly hall in the city. It is capable of seating 670 persons in comfortable opera chairs. A spacious stage occupies one side of the room in full view of the audience. This is furnished with a handsome curtain of blue velvet. The orchestra pit is directly in front. The acoustics of the new hall are excellent-every speaker last night was plainly heard in all parts of the auditorium.
No count was made of the number of visitors at the school yesterday, but is was estimated that the number ran to the thousands."
Over the years, various improvements have been made to the building. The mid 1960s saw the addition of a new auditorium and changes within the building. In 1998, the building underwent extensive renovation.
Bradford High colors, red and black, may they float for aye ~ We'll remember Alma Mater, throughout life's long day ~