While approaching Rand Huggett’s art domain at Amador High School recently, I observed again the ascending, terraced walkway steps, slender columns topped by globes, and long concrete wall fronting the campus off Spanish Street. Such a grand, artful entry, but leading to nothing in particular.
It wasn’t always that way, of course. There once rose beyond the wall a glisteningly white, two-story edifice, with basement. The woman’s club and Sutter Creek’s finest dedicated it for a public high school on April 14, 1914. Its first name was Amador County High School and district. It was not the first high school in Sutter Creek. A remodeled Allen’s lumberyard building served from fall, 1911, until the new building was ready.
The cornerstone had been dedicated by appropriate dignitaries on June 14, 1913, not Flag Day yet, but Amador County’s birthday anniversary — if anyone knew. Prized documents of that school are the blueprints drawn by Kenyan and Parker of Sacramento, safe in the county archives.
The building endured and served generations of Upcountry and northerly Amador youths for 61 years, until that fateful Christmas break in 1975. That’s when trustees and administration deemed it expendable and a Stockton firm demolished it — either on Saturday, Dec. 20 or 27, when few were paying attention.
The writer and others no doubt were quite shocked. No controversy, no prolonged acrimonious hearings about preserving the building. Nothing that I remember as prologue before doomsday. No doubt, due process was obtained and the new plant had gone up to succeed the old building that went down.
Much detail about Amador’s first high schools you’ll find in Vols. 2 and 4 of Logan’s Alley. Ione’s private high school academy was first; Jackson’s was second; Sutter Creek’s was third. In Jackson’s case, its original high school was dedicated on June 19, 1913, and it still stands as offices of the unified school district and site of Jackson Junior High School.
Ione’s Academy was first — circa 1901 — and it went public c1904 to become the county’s first high school. It expired when Amador County Unified was organized in 1983.
Sutter Creek’s high school has had several names. First, Amador County High School, because it was to encompass all county territory outside Ione. Then, out of pique or envy, Jackson started its own district and high school and took in that part of the county around Jackson. A year or two after that happened, Amador County High became Sutter Creek Union High.
Later, when Oro Madre Unified School District was organized, c1959, I think the Herd’s home became Amador County High School again. If so, that ended in 1983 and it just became Amador High, which it is today.
The writer has fond memories, as a Sacramento Bee reporter for Amador, taking photos of the new Amador High gym in the mid-1960s. Installing those beams made great photo ops. Seeking news in those days, I remember vividly going into the basement office of the old school, talking with principal Leland Glandon, Frank Kane, Ben Klotz and others, and in the gym, coaches Davis, Van Erden and Larson.