Golden High School

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Golden High School
701 24th Street
Golden, Colorado

United States
Coordinates 39°44′36″N 105°12′41″W / 39.7434°N 105.2115°W / 39.7434; -105.2115Coordinates: 39°44′36″N 105°12′41″W / 39.7434°N 105.2115°W / 39.7434; -105.2115
Type Public secondary
Established 1873
School district Jefferson County Public Schools
Principal Brian Conroy
Grades 9 to 12
Color(s) Maroon and white         
Athletics Football, soccer
Mascot Demons
Rival Wheat Ridge High School
Superintendent Dr. Cindy Stevenson

Golden High School is a secondary school located in Golden, the county seat of Jefferson County, Colorado, United States. It is part of the Jefferson County Public Schools district.


Golden High School was created in 1873, when the new consolidated school building of Golden was opened. It was named after the city of Golden, Colorado and was part of Golden School District #1. GHS was the first senior high school opened in Jefferson County, and was among the earliest high schools in the state. Originally Golden High did not offer graduation, but its first graduating class was in 1886, consisting of 11 students (Pearl A. Baird, Harry L. Bellam, Mary A. Camp, May E. Collom, Nellie M. Davidson, Robert W. Fisher, Beulah Moore, Myrmeta Perkins, Mary Constance Perrin, Lavinia L. Rowe and Henrietta Sampson). GHS remained in the South School, as it became known, eventually taking over the primary use of the building as the primary grades that shared the building moved on to other places.

A new location for the school was built in 1922-24. This building served until the third Golden High School was completed in 1956, which served until the current school was completed in 2008.

GHS athletics date at least as far back as 1893, when the Colorado Transcript reported that the GHS football team defeated Jarvis Hall college 22-4 at Brooks Field on October 14, 1893.

GHS buildings[edit]

Golden High School has been housed in four buildings since it began in 1873. Originally it was housed in what became known as the South School, built in 1873 as a comprehensive school building to house all of Golden's classes. The South School was a two-story brick structure with stone trim located at 1314 Cheyenne Street, a beautiful Second Empire styled building designed by local architect James B. Baker. Over time several lower class levels were phased out and the building expanded, and in time Golden residents wished to have a pure high school building of the latest design.

Golden High School
Golden High School Golden CO.jpg
Old Golden High School
Golden High School is located in Colorado
Golden High School
Golden High School is located in the US
Golden High School
Location 710 10th Street, Golden, Colorado
Coordinates 39°45′30″N 105°13′23″W / 39.7582°N 105.2230°W / 39.7582; -105.2230
Area less than one acre
Built 1924
Architectural style Beaux Arts
NRHP reference # 97000229[1]
Added to NRHP March 14, 1997

A new Golden High School was built at 710 10th Street on the north side of the city in 1922-24. This was an impressive two-story blond brick structure atop a full basement, designed in the Beaux-Arts style by Denver architect Eugene G. Groves. It featured a full upper story auditorium, gymnasium, and painting Dawn of the West by Santa Fe artist Gerald R. Cassidy, given to the school by banker Jesse W. Rubey in memory of his brother Harold, a clay miner. Golden's North Side Improvement Association created a companion park for the school across 10th Street, named in memory of the park's spearheader George Washington Parfet (pronounced "Parfit"). This school building was expanded in 1950 and 1953, and finally the new Jefferson County R-1 School District decided to build the rapidly growing school a new home at 701 24th Street. Denver architect Temple Hoyne Buell, after whom Denver's Buell Theatre is named, was hired to design the new Golden High School. Drawing from California school stylings, Buell created a Modernist outdoor campus of separate school buildings aligned towards the southwest, fronting on 24th Street. A 1987 expansion linked together most of these buildings, while giving the school a pronounced, glass-arched atrium entrance.

In 2006 construction began on a new home for Golden High School, which was completed in 2008. It was designed by AR7 Architects (now NAC Architecture) to accommodate up to 1,450 students. Like each of its predecessors it has a brick edifice, and is formed in a U shape surrounding a central courtyard, perched on the hillside which has been the GHS home for over half a century.

Today the second and fourth incarnations of GHS continue to stand in Golden. The first incarnation (South School), phased out of public school use in 1936, became home to the Colorado School of Mines geophysics department until it was deemed structurally unsafe and destroyed in the 1960s.

The second incarnation became Golden Junior High School in 1956 and continued until 1988, after which it became the American Mountaineering Center and is today listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The third incarnation of GHS was destroyed in 2008 before the completion of its fourth incarnation, the present day school building. Elements from the third building are known to have survived in the community, such as the bleachers which are now installed at Heritage Christian Academy in Fort Collins, and it is possible elements from the first have as well.

Boiler incident and memorial[edit]

On November 23, 1905 Golden High School, along with the other classes (primary grades 1-3) of the South School building it was in, was saved from a boiler explosion by Oscar Nolin, janitor of the school. As the front page of Golden's Colorado Transcript newspaper of November 30, 1905 recounted the event:

For a few minutes the lives of the entire population of the south side school hung in the balance, and that all escaped injury is considered little less than a miracle...About 2:30 Oscar Nolan, janitor of the building, started down the hill on an errand. When but a short distance away he happened to glance back and saw a large volume of steam issuing from the escape pipe of the school's steam heating plant. Rushing back to the basement he was horrified to find the boiler dry and very hot, while a big fire raged underneath. He at once gave the alarm to clear the building and then proceeded to the dangerous task of pulling the fires, although he expected every second that the overheated boiler must explode. By his prompt action the catastrophe was averted, but in the opinion of those who visited the place directly after, a delay of five minutes would have caused an entirely different story – one of death and destruction. But a short time before the janitor says his gauge showed the boiler half full of water. He believes some boy or boys, either to satisfy curiosity or in a spirit of meanness, drained the water from the boiler when he was in another part of the building.

On the 100th anniversary of this event, where Nolin saved over 100 lives, the Golden City Council declared November 23, 2005 to be Oscar Nolin Day, with GHS principal Mike Murphy accepting the award. Nolin was otherwise an honored citizen in Golden history who helped develop the city, served with the Golden Fire Department and on the Golden City Council. Nolin died in the Great Flu Epidemic of 1918 trying to save his brother's life.

Colors and mascot[edit]

The official Golden High colors are maroon and white, which date at least as far back as 1906 when Herman Coors reported to the Colorado Transcript on a social engagement at the school. The GHS mascot is the Demon, voted overwhelmingly by the students and teachers in 1928 as nominated by student Harriet Summers in a school contest.

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 

External links[edit]