Washington High School (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)

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Cedar Rapids Washington High School
2205 Forest Drive Southeast
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52403
Type Public secondary
Established 1956
Principal John Cline
Grades 9–12
Number of students 1700
Color(s) Red and Blue
Mascot Warriors
Newspaper The Surveyor
Yearbook The Monument
Affiliation Mississippi Valley Conference

Washington High School is a public high school in Cedar Rapids, in the U.S. state of Iowa. Built in 1956, it is named in honor of the oldest high school in Cedar Rapids.


Built in 1855, the original Washington High School—although not yet known by that name—opened in 1857. In 1869, it narrowed from a general school to a high school. Originally called "the schoolhouse", the "Cedar Rapids graded school," and the "second ward school", it received its current name in 1875 when all the Cedar Rapids schools were named for presidents. The oldest building was called Washington School. In 1887, Abbie S. Abbott began her 34-year tenure as Washington High School principal.[1] The school was expanded in 1910 to help deal with over-crowding, but the expanded room from the addition did not hold out for long. The nearby vocational school Grant School was converted to a regular high school to reduce the burden. However, deteriorating conditions at the original structure led to its abandonment in 1935. Four junior high schools in the area, which had been expanded in preparation, were converted to joint junior/senior high schools.

The present[edit]

September 3, 1957, was the first day of school at new Washington. Washington began with grades 10-12 and did not become a four-year high school until 1987.

During the 1956–57 school year, students voted on colors for the new high school and selected red and blue with white trim.[2] They also picked the “Warrior” to be Washington’s mascot.[3]

In 1961, 17,625,904 square feet (1,637,500.1 m2) of classroom space were added to the south end of the building–12 classrooms. In 1971, the area under the library was enclosed to provide new office space for the counselors. In 1990, a new gymnasium was built to accommodate the increasing number of recognition assemblies.

In 2003, a large wing of six classrooms and six science laboratories was added to the southwest corner of the building. At the same time, a new band room was completed and the entire original music area was remodeled to house the growing vocal and string orchestra programs.

The first principal, Fred J. Kluss, had been principal at Roosevelt before coming to Washington in 1957.[4] Kluss was succeeded as principal by Don Birdsell who served for three years.[5] Robert O. Fitzsimmons became Washington’s principal in 1962.[6] Donald G. Nau took over as Washington principal in the middle of the 1966–67 school year.[7] Ralph Plagman was principal from 1981 to 2017. John Cline was hired as principle on Wednesday, April 19, 2017. [8][citation needed]

Art gallery[edit]

In 2007 Washington High School opened an art gallery to feature the works of famous Washington alumni.[9] The gallery includes works by Grant Wood and Marvin Cone, who both graduated in 1910 at the "old Washington" school. The centerpiece of the gallery is an original mural painted in 1927 by Grant Wood called Kanesville.[10][11][12]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "All Set". Cedar Rapids Gazette. June 14, 1887. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 
  2. ^ Shrader, Gus (April 16, 1957). "Red Peppers". Cedar Rapids Gazette. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Vote Tuesday on Warriors, Eagles For New School". Cedar Rapids Gazette. May 17, 1957. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 
  4. ^ "School Board Lists Teacher Assignments". Cedar Rapids Gazette. January 22, 1957. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Washington High Principal Named". Cedar Rapids Gazette. June 8, 1960. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 
  6. ^ "New C.R. Residents: Principal and Medical Director". Cedar Rapids Gazette. November 4, 1962. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Robert Fitzsimmons Named Kennedy School Principal". Cedar Rapids Gazette. August 16, 1966. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 
  8. ^ Christie Wallace (April 7, 1981). "Plagman new Wash principal". Cedar Rapids Gazette. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 
  9. ^ Angela Meng (April 2, 2006). "A place of honor". Cedar Rapids Gazette. Retrieved November 17, 2012. 
  10. ^ Kristina Gleeson (April 19, 2007). "C.R. Washington commemorates artists". Cedar Rapids Gazette. Retrieved November 17, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Washington High School Officially Opens Art Gallery". Cedar Rapids Community Schools. Retrieved November 17, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Washington Art Gallery Home To Grant Wood Original". Cedar Rapids Community Schools. Retrieved November 17, 2012. 
  13. ^ Jeff Johnson (January 3, 2011). "Former Washington star Arrington has big NFL debut". Cedar Rapids Gazette. Retrieved November 17, 2012. 
  14. ^ Askeland, Kevin (September 6, 2012). "Ashton Kutcher, Will Ferrell make the MaxPreps Hollywood All-Star Football Team". MaxPreps. Retrieved April 21, 2014. 
  15. ^ Rob Bruggeman profile, hawkeyesports.com
  16. ^ "Famous Iowans Collins, Arthur". Des Moines Register.com. Archived from the original on 2012-09-03. Retrieved 2010-12-29. 
  17. ^ Marvin Cone Archived 2013-01-02 at Archive.is Des Moines Register. October 19, 2009.
  18. ^ "Don DeFore, Iowan In Hollywood, Still Has Corn-Fed Look". The News and Courier. October 6, 1946. p. 6-D. [dead link]
  19. ^ a b c d Ernest P. Mickel (December 1, 1933). "Cherished Traditions Cling To Old Washington High School, Now To Be Abandoned As Seat Of Learning". Cedar Rapids Tribune. Retrieved November 30, 2012. 
  20. ^ http://www.thegazette.com/2010/06/15/koch-fights-to-be-the-best
  21. ^ Ford (2011-05-17). "Cedar Rapids native to lead global agency". Cedar Rapids Gazette. Retrieved 2011-05-17. [dead link]
  22. ^ McDonell, Terry, ed. (April 26, 2010). "For the Record: Died". Sports Illustrated. Time. 112 (18): 18. 
  23. ^ "Tyler Olson - Iowa House Democrats". 
  24. ^ "Carl Van Vechten's Camera Documented Personalities". Cedar Rapids Gazette. March 10, 1971. Retrieved November 30, 2012. 
  25. ^ J.R. Ogden (December 26, 2007). "Dedric Ward". Cedar Rapids Gazette. Retrieved December 7, 2012. 
  26. ^ Kristy Raine (October 2003). "The Stone City Art Colony and School: 1932-1933 Grant Wood". When Tillage Begins: The Stone City Art Colony and School. Busse Library. Retrieved November 17, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°59′48″N 91°37′52″W / 41.99667°N 91.63111°W / 41.99667; -91.63111