Inside McKinley

Last year, McKinley High School celebrated its 100th anniversary as a school. I had the opportunity to visit the school to take some photos. From outward appearances, it appears like the same stately place we all knew. When you enter, you encounter many familiar things that ring a nostalgic bell, and some that are vastly different.

In the decades since we attended McKinley, many things have changed in the world, and many of these changes are reflected inside the school. This page is a tour of the school from the inside.


As you enter the front door of the school, the politically correct handrail on the steps to the first floor is an immediate introduction to the changes you can expect. Other than this noticeable change, the entrance was very reminiscent of what it was a half-century ago.

The famous bust of William McKinley still graces the entrance. It was difficult to tell if the ritual of rubbing the nose of the statue was still in place since it still appeared to have the shine it had decades ago.

As you walk down the halls of the school, things looked very much as they did back then. I think the recessed lighting represents a change, but it was a rather subtle change.

Of course, the kids are different since the school is now a middle school for gifted children who have to be in the top 15% in SAT scores with above average IQ's.

The classroom shown in the photo to the right is Room 101 where Miss Becker taught Physics in the 50's. The "new school" philosophy, with minimum structure, was the first indication of a radical change from our days. Children were free to move about the classroom and carry on conversations amongst each other – something that would not have flown in Miss Becker's class.

The student furniture was vastly different and ultra-modern. There was not a desk to be found that even closely resembled those that we used. Even the layout of this classroom seemed to be significantly different with the teacher's desk at the rear of the room.

While the location of the cafeteria was the same from our days, the location was the only characteristic that seemed at all familiar. With the ultra-modern furniture, recessed lighting and a modern serving line, anyone from our era would have to question if they were in the same building that we knew so well.
While the seats of the auditorium seemed the same, and the mural above the stage remained, the high-tech computer projection system moves you forward in time from a nostalgic view of the aud. The clamor of chatter from the children as they were entering the aud was also a departure from my memories of the times when we entered the aud for a session.
Miss Grant's library is now a science classroom with the new library located in the southwest corner of the building. I didn't have the heart to show Coach Blanke's boy's gym, which is now a dance studio, complete with mirrors on the wall. And of course, the new gym – regulation size and without columns – had no nostalgic cache. Considered an exit problem in event of a fire, the drafting rooms on the fourth floor are now closed. With all the brought back some warm memories.