Highland Park -- The Los Angeles Unified School District has a rich history and part of it is reflected in its school buildings, some of which are more than a century old.
Today The Eastsider launches a monthly series on the district’s historic Eastside schools. The district has more than 100 historically significant buildings, noteworthy for their age, architectural style, and other features.
The series begins in Highland Park with Aldama Elementary, which opened its doors in January 1924 in the 600 block of North Avenue 50. The original building, designed by architect Charles F. Plummer, is in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, complete with red tile roof, arched windows and smooth stucco, said Principal Laura Gutierrez.
“It’s definitely one of the prettier schools” in the area, Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez appreciates the history and the design of the school.
“I feel I have to protect it,” she said.
The school’s original building was designed to accommodate about 400 students. Over the years, additional buildings have been constructed, Gutierrez said. At its peak in the early 2000s, the school had about 800 children enrolled. Currently, Aldama has 372 students.
The nearly century-old original building was constructed on a hill. When walking through the front doors, visitors find themselves on the second floor, which houses the school’s main office and seven classrooms. Take the stairs down to reach four more classrooms, in addition to the plant manager’s office, parent center and a workroom for teachers.
Four years after the first building opened, a second structure with an auditorium and offices was completed.
In the 98 years since the first building went into service, the structure has been through multiple retrofits and renovations without losing its original character. The first was carried out in 1936 following the 1933 Long Beach earthquake and was meant to strengthen the structure, Gutierrez said. Planning is underway to carry out additional reinforcement work in the future.
Next month The Eastsider visits Belvedere Elementary in East L.A.
The Eastsider invites Aldama alums to share stories tied to the school’s original building. Just hit reply to this email.
🎒 School Roundup
Boyle Heights: The state education department announced that Roosevelt High English teacher Jason Torres-Rangel, who we profiled last week, was one of the 2023 California Teachers of the Year. Now, he's up for the 2023 National Teacher of the Year award.
Of the five statewide award winners, only Torres-Rangel moves up as a nominee for the national award, the California Department of Education said late last week. The winner of the 2023 National Teacher of the Year award will be announced in the spring.
Silver Lake: Micheltorena Elementary on Saturday, Oct. 22 will host its annual PUMPKINFEST, a fall tradition that turns the campus into a Halloween wonderland. Admission is free, and activities will include a Haunted House, Black Light Party, crafts, fortune teller and more.
• Share news about your school with Eastsider readers by replying to this newsletter or submitting the details here.
Wanted: The Eastsider is looking for an editor to manage our coverage of Eastside schools and assist with the production of our Daily Digest newsletter. Go here for details.
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