Technical High School (Omaha, Nebraska)
|Technical High School|
|Type||Public vocational education high school|
|Grades||10, 11, 12|
|Location||3215 Cuming Street,
Omaha, Nebraska, United States
|District||Omaha Public Schools|
Coordinates: Technical High School was a public high school that was located at 3215 Cuming Street in Omaha, Nebraska. Opened in 1923, the school was said to be the largest high school west of Chicago. It was the largest in the Omaha area before it was closed in 1984. Today the building serves as the headquarters of Omaha Public Schools.
The five-winged building and large athletic field occupied 3 city blocks between Burt and Cuming Streets, from 30th to 33rd Streets in North Omaha. The new school opened on October 15, 1923, with nearly 2,400 pupils. By 1940 enrollment had reached 3,684.
As a high school focused on technical education, Tech had many amenities designed to teach students in specific areas. For athletics, there were 2 large gymnasiums and a swimming pool, which was for many years the only pool in any Omaha public school. The roof of the building featured a deck with a canopy that housed an exercise area.
For home economics there was an entire floor dedicated to classrooms. There were extensive wood and metal shops, as well as scientific laboratories, and a greenhouse. The building had 124 rooms. As early as 1947, there were 2,700 students and 100 teachers. Developed with high academic standards the school was a forerunner in vocational high schools by offering students that largely choose not to continue on to college the opportunity to learn a trade or profession.
The auditorium at the school was built to accommodate 2600 people (legal seating capacity was listed at 2120). John Philip Sousa and his marching band appeared in October 1928. Cornelia Otis Skinner made her first high school appearance at Tech in January 1930. In November 1926 the Metropolitan Opera Company of New York gave a performance. Helen Hayes and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. also gave performances at Tech.
After the school closed in 1984, the building was completely renovated for use as the Omaha Public Schools central office. It also serves as a home for the Career Center and Adult Education programs, serving 700-plus students daily.
- Johnny Rodgers, former college football superstar, Heisman Trophy winner, and voted the University of Nebraska's "Player of the Century"
- Brigadier General Kenneth Walker, US Army Air Corps, posthumous recipient of the Medal of Honor in World War II, and pioneer in military aviation
- Thomas Warren, Omaha's first African American police chief
- Captain Alfonza W. Davis, Tuskegee Airman
- Roman Hruska, former US Senator
- Johnny Rosenblatt, former Omaha mayor
- James Dworak, former Omaha mayor
- C. Harold Oster, Omaha police chief
- A.F. Jacobson, former president of Northwestern Bell
- Eugene Skinner, Omaha District’s first black teacher who rose to the position of Assistant Superintendent
- Les Webster, college and professional football player for the Cincinnati Bengals
- Phil Wise, college and professional football player for the New York Jets
- Bob Boozer, college and professional basketball player and Olympic Gold Medalist in 1960
- Ron Boone, professional basketball player
- Bob Gibson, Baseball Hall of Famer for the St. Louis Cardinals and Creighton University stand-out
- Jim Houston, national rodeo champion
- Lucille Wilson, 3x United States women’s track team in the Olympics
- Ray Novak, former college football player
- Catherine Grace Pope, first African-American to enter and win a title in the Miss America Pageant (1969)
- Mel Harder, professional baseball player
- Fred Hare, former college and professional basketball player
- Louis Hartz, former American political scientist and influential proponent of the idea of American exceptionalism
- Jack Urban, former MLB player (Kansas City Athletics, St. Louis Cardinals)
- Terry Edwards, former college football player
Neal Mosser was a college basketball and baseball player who went on to coach some of the greatest names in Omaha sports history at Tech, including Fred Hare, Bob Boozer and Bob Gibson. Dutch White was a remarkable track and field coach for 25+ years. Catherine Grace Pope was the first African-American graduate of Omaha Technical High School to enter and win any award in the Miss America Pageant (1969).
- (n.d.) History of Tech High. Gifford Park Neighborhood Association.
- Gifford Park Neighborhood Ass't
- United States Government Printing Office. (1971) United States Congressional Serial Set. p. 84.
- (n.d.) About Technical High School
- History of Opera Omaha.
- Brookins, J. (1925) "Drama in a Technical High School," Peabody Journal of Education. 2(4) pp. 190-196