History of Westport High School (part
Some think we got our name "TIGERS" from the Missouri University Tigers.
Some think it was from our tiger like aggressiveness.
This information was found in The Westport Crier, in the back of the Westport
1957 Herald year book, from March 28 to May 9,1957 is as follows:
In the article, "Why Tigers" the earliest mention of Westport was 1856,
long before Westport High School (as we know it) was ever built. In 1859 voters
were asked to support a tax to support the school. Westport closed it's doors
during the Civil war. In 1867 the school board purchased a small tract of land
which is now 706 West 42 nd St., the present site of Allen School. The school
was supported entirely by the taxpayers' money. Many of the students were German
so they taught German classes for a year in the basement of the two story school
building. Classes were under the instruction of Rev. A. B. Mysch and his Daughter.
For corporal punishment, the boys often had to cut his own switch from a tree,
outside. Girls were spared, since a school regulation prevented the teachers
from switching young ladies over the age of 15.
In 1885 Westport was recognized as a high school (under state law), making it
the second recognized high school in the state of Missouri. Westport moved to
39th and Warwick Blvd in 1891. School was opened every day with a Bible selection.
There was a rule requiring pupils to learn 10 to 12 Bible verses every day. In
1905 and 1906 there were only five pupils graduating each of those years.
The night of April 15, 1907
fire broke out and destroyed the school. Westport students attended
classes at Central high school while the new building was being
built. In 1908 Westport High School moved to it's present location.
Another fire in 1934 was in the auditorium and the damage was
estimated to be $1,000 Vocal Music Teacher Mr. Harling Spring
helped save the life of the janitor that was overcome by smoke
by trying to put out the fire.
At the time it was built,
Westport High School cost $440,000. The restaurant equipment
cost $2,500 and $3,500 was set aside for gym apparatus.
Some of the classes offered were Millinery, Interior Decoration, Furniture Arrangement,
Laundry, German, Wood Turning, Joinery, and Botany. A course in Designs gave
instruction in leather work, book covers and wood carvings
Ex-President Teddy Roosevelt spoke to an assembly of Westport students in 1910.
His advise was "Face life as those of you who play football ought to play
football----don't shirk, don't foul and hit the line hard."
In 1923 Westport was over crowded with over 2,000 students. The school capacity
was 1,500 students with 45 rooms.
Mr.D.H. Holloway retired as Principal of Westport High School after 28 years
of service with Westport on January 25, 1957. That is when Dr. H.A. Ball became
Principal. Mr. Holloway did not wish to retire but it was compulsory at age 70.