Go Tigers!

History of Westport High School (Part 2)

History of Westport High School (part 2)


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.

This is the official web site for the Westport High School, Class of 1957 Reunion Committee. Contact Jim Carras (jim@carras.com) for any comments, suggestions, corrections or recommendations.