West Tech opened its doors to 224 students February 15, 1912. These students began the “Spirit of West Tech”. The school was not finished when they started. They had to use ladders to go between floors. There was no corridor flooring when they began. Their spirit kept them warm until the heating system was installed. These students no longer had to take the streetcars to the East Side to get a technical education.
During its 83 year history, the school was expanded several times. The expansion in 1922 gave us the grand structure that stands now as an historical landmark. It was expanded again in 1947 and 1973.
In 1919, the most influential and enduring organization, the student government General Organization (aka G.O.) was chartered. The June
Class of 1919 presented the school with the statue of Abraham Lincoln. That same year, also, saw the start of our student newspaper, The Tatler. The Tatler would become a nationally and internationally recognized student publication. During the school’s history, student publications would bring many accolades for literary excellence. Over the next many years, the students excelled in academics, arts, music, theater, debate, sports, industry, business and government. The halls of West Tech were filled with many varied awards for individuals and group efforts.
During the years of the school’s existence, there were many principals, administrators, staff and faculty. None, however, was as famous as C. C. Tuck. Mr. Tuck was transferred from West Commerce to West Tech in 1924. He was the principal for 34 ½ years. He was a firm disciplinarian, establishing an early morning track team for all students – girls as well as boys – who were assigned to run for violation of school rules. Mr. Tuck was a sincere, no-nonsense leader who stressed discipline and academic achievement. His imposing presence in the halls of West Tech has been burned into the memories of all who knew him and he is remembered with a sense of fondness and awe.
West Tech graduated over 40,000 students. Including students who attended West Tech but did not graduate, plus the adult education classes, well over 100,000 students passed through the doors of West Tech. We were also a school of many firsts. The school offered the first driver’s ed classes as well as the first auto mechanics, aircraft radio operations and repair and metallurgy classes in the nation. During its heyday, West Tech earned the distinction of being the largest high school in the state of Ohio. This was first achieved in the fall of 1931 with an enrollment of over 4,000. By then the building had 141 classrooms, shops, laboratories and offices in the 278,781 square feet. building. The year 1939, also, saw an attendance record with over 5,000 students enrolled. A modern aluminum greenhouse with 10,000 square feet
was added in 1966. It had a new cooling and ventilator system and automatic fertilizers. The new field house was completed in 1973. It was the
third gymnasium to be constructed at West Tech.
West Tech had survived five wars, the Great Depression, epidemics, energy crises, and even court-ordered busing. But it had met one final foe it could not overcome - the Cleveland School Board.
Sadly, West Tech closed its doors forever as a high school in
Return to WTAA home page