ORANGE HIGH SCHOOL
A Brief History
Four buildings in three different parts of the city have housed Orange High school. The first, built on the plot adjoining the First Church of Orange (Presbyterian) cost approximately $50,000. The second, at Main and Cleveland streets, was later Colgate School and then Colgate Building. The third is the current Middle School on Central Avenue, near Lincoln. The fourth is the present high school building at 400 Lincoln Avenue, adjacent to the Middle School. There were eight classrooms in the first building and the principal’s office and primary classes were in the basement of the school. During the first term, there was an enrollment of 37 students. The third floor was used primarily as an assembly hall. Dedication exercises were held for the first building on September 13, 1869. This building served as the high school for Orange until 1906, when the new building, later to become known as the Colgate School and then the Colgate Building (Board of Education), was built at the corner of Main and Cleveland streets. Dedication exercises were held in late June 1906, and the school was opened for use in the fall of the same year.
The new building had 18 classrooms and at one time 417 students. The Colgate Building was recently demolished, paving the way for a new, multidimensional educational facility. For 19 years the building at Main and Cleveland streets was known as Orange High School, but increasing population prompted the building of a new school. Therefore, in the fall of 1925, after months of work, a then modern stone building was opened at the corner of Lincoln and Central avenues. This building served as Orange High School until 1973 and included within its confines Board of Education and Superintendent offices. The current building at 400 Lincoln Avenue was dedicated on October 7, 1973, nearly a month after its September 5th opening. The struggle to build the facility was representative of the sixties era with all the elements of that decade: confrontations with the established order, civil rights activism, battle lines drawn between black and white, between the Board of Education and the City Council, between property owners and tenants. The dedication attended by political figures, school officials, students, citizens and many who battled hard to realize the dream of this new Orange High School, climaxed a stormy chapter in Orange’s history.
The information for this brief history was culled from articles that appeared in the Daily Courier, March 6, 1936, and the Orange Transcript, October 4, 1973.