Palm Beach High School in West Palm Beach, Florida is a rare
unique educational institution with a long and colorful history.
In the late
1890's, the schools in this area were primarily one room classrooms
located along the shores of Lake Worth. As the number of students
increased in grades one through twelve, the town recognized
the need for
a central school with a high school facility.
Around 1900 this school was located in a little four-room
at Clematis and Dixie. The high school was named Palm Beach
the first graduating class was in 1907. During this time,
the population of
West Palm Beach grew from 564 in 1900 to 1,743 in 1910.
By 1908, it was again recognized that larger facilities were
this "central school" was moved to the largest and most modern
educational edifice in southeast Florida. At a construction
cost of $50,000,
it was built "on the hill" at Hibiscus and Georgia Streets,
west of downtown, on land donated by Ellen Potter.
The principle designer, W.W. Maughlin, used the Mediterranean
Revival style which was popular at that time in south Florida
both public and private. The old city school became the Palm
County courthouse in 1909 when the Florida legislature created
Beach County from the north end of Dade County.
Some of the children attending here walked to school—which
the middle of wilderness—and others were brought by horse
drawn wagon. They all piled into the single, two-story building with its
tower. Large classrooms lined each side the wide central hallways
floors. In 1928, one of south Florida's worst hurricanes took
its toll on the
school building, completely destroying the tower. The tower
By 1922, there were three school buildings on the hill. Central
High was built in 1915 just south of the original building,
the elementary school. Palm Beach High School's main building
designed by William Manly King, and was built in the hill
to the north of
the elementary school building in 1922.
Over the years other buildings were added to house various
vocational educational building was constructed just behind
school building, with shop facilities located across the street.
the hill, an ample auditorium was constructed, with an attached
band building which adjoined the football field. To the rear
elementary building, an addition housed more elementary classrooms
and a large cafeteria. Eventually, two separate gymnasiums
The total area consumed by the "School on the Hill" eventually
two whole city blocks sprawling from Georgia Avenue on the
Tamarind Avenue on the west, and from Gardenia Street on the
Iris Street on the south.
The last Palm Beach High School senior class graduated in
of 1970. The next fall, integration brought the end of Palm
and Roosevelt High when the two historic schools were combined
new entity on the hill, called Twin Lakes High School. Roosevelt
eventually became a middle school. Twin Lakes High opened
in the old
school building in the fall of 1970, but moved into its new
on Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard in January 1989. The county school board threatened to tear down the old buildings, but fortunately never did. The old, original
buildings on the hill were restored and in 1997, received
a new life as
the Alexander Dreyfoos School of the Arts.