San Bernardino County
CHAFFEY UNION HIGH SCHOOL AND JUNIOR COLLEGE
Back of the present Chaffey union [sic] high [sic] school [sic] and junior [sic] college [sic] is a long story: a narrative of pioneering and hardship in an undeveloped country, an epic of educational growth, and a story of men who have been guiding forces behind the institutions.
The Ontario colony was founded by George Chaffey, who planned the organization of the town and the establishment of an institution of learning on the land which he gave for the purpose. He was early associated in his land, water and power projects at Ontario, Etiwanda and Cucamonga with his brothers, W. B. Chaffey and Charles F. Chaffey. George Chaffey and his brother, W. B., were closely associated with Chaffey during this period in the colony.
Chaffey College, and agricultural institution, was established in the early years of the colony. Lands were set aside for the campus and a fund created for the operation of the school. Training was begun under the direction of W. T. Randall, principal, and his corps of teachers. After two years, agricultural training was discontinued and general academic work was given until 1906. The college was associated with the University of Southern California for a period; then the two institutions were separated; and in 1903 the separate Chaffey fund [sic] was established with W. W. Smith, George Chaffey and W. M. Rose as trustees of the fund. At the death of Mr. Rose, A. M. Chaffey was appointed to take his place. He is still serving, as is W. W. Smith, and Andrew Rose, a brother of W. M. Rose, is also caring for this fund, having become one of its trustees on the death of George Chaffey.
Public education for the younger students in the colony was cared for in the Ontario grammar [sic] school [sic], which was maintained in a building erected for the purpose and one room of the old college building, which was not then in use. The Ontario high [sic] school [sic] was organized with Jefferson Taylor as principal. This was maintained in the old college until the building now known as the Liberal Arts was erected in 1908.
In order to give a high school education to those children not in the immediate vicinity, the Chaffey union [sic] high [sic] school [sic] district [sic] was organized July 8, 1911, when Ontario and Upland united to form a district. This has since been enlarged to include ten grammar school districts: Alta Loma, Camp Baldy, Central, Cucamonga, Etiwanda, Fontana, Mountain View, Ontario, Piedmont, and Upland. The first trustees of the Chaffey union [sic] high [sic] school [sic]. several of whom had served on the Ontario high [sic] school [sic] board [sic], were as follows: R. B. Campbell (president), C. C. Graber (clerk), J. O. Mills, E. C. Harwood, H. C. Kennedy. Merton E. Hill was elected principal. During the last twenty years B. F. Warmer and H. S. Abbott have also served. E. C. Harwood was president from 1912 until his resignation in 1928. His place was taken by J. C. Jones, who had become a member of the board in 1920. Associated with him as trustees were the following with the dates of election to the board: C. C. Graber (1911), T. W. Nisbet (1913), H. R. Berg (1918), A. L. Weber (1929). Mr. Jones tendered his resignation in 1932 and A. L. Weber has since been president. N.E. Trautman and John L. McCutcheon have succeeded C. C. Graber and H. R. Berg, due to the last school election, held in April, 1932. N. E. Trautman is now the clerk of the board and T. W. Nisbet is the vice president.
As a part of the plan for the new school a bond issue was passed in August, 1911, for the remodeling of the Liberal Arts building and the erection of the Science and Mechanic Arts building and auditorium. In 1919 the building program was continued, because of the increased attendance, by a bond issue providing for an increase in the size of the campus, the reconstruction of the Liberal Arts building, and the improvement of the grounds in general. The Science building, destroyed by fire November 7, 1913, was rebuilt from the insurance. In 1931 a junior college unit was provided by direct taxation. The building was finished in time for the junior college classes to move in during the spring vacation of 1930-31.
The campus of Chaffey now includes forty acres on Euclid avenue [sic], between Fourth and Fifth streets [sic], and also an experimental deciduous orchard on East Sixth
street [sic]. The grounds have been beautifully landscaped with shrubs and trees, which form a valuable laboratory for botanical and horticultural work. This was started by student cooperation. In the early days students planted the shrubs and trees as individual contributions. At one time there was a “Lovers’ Lane,” a row of beautiful evergreen trees, which was taken out for the first athletic field; at another there was a magnificent elm-lined walk, the remains of which may be seen in front of the Science building.
Changes on the campus have included more than those related to walks and trees, however. As the buildings have been added to the group, the athletic fields have been enlarged. The playing field, which was formerly west of the Mechanic Arts building, was moved to a spot north of the gymnasium. Later the citrus orchard north of the field was removed and turf fields and tennis courts added. The student body, in appreciation of the deep interest which Mr. Graber had taken in athletics, asked to have the field named Graber Field, the name which it now bears.
The faculty of Chaffey, numbering now one hundred and seven members, has grown from one of less than ten. It is interesting to note that at the present time, while its members are drawn from all parts of the country, many have received their early training on the campus. W. W. Mather, Fred Wilding, Jr., and H. W. Hawkinson are graduates of the Chaffey College. H. Alter, E. Anderson, G. Cassell, V. Clapp, R. Dysart, G. Greenlee, L. Graves, O. Guthrie, C. Hedges, L. Hofman, J. Homewood, L. Horsch, L. Kent, O. Mabon, S. Mehl, H. Merchant, A. Moore, M. Moore, A. Nyberg, I. Poe, D. Smith, and I. Wynne, graduated from Ontario high [sic] and Chaffey union [sic] high [sic] school [sic]. Mrs. Lana M. Conger has the distinction of serving at Ontario high [sic] as well as Chaffey union [sic] high [sic] school [sic]. Eleven members of the present faculty have served fifteen years or more and thirty-six have been at the institution ten years or more.
The student body rolls have kept pace with the growth of the institution. The first student body of the Chaffey union [sic] high [sic] school [sic] numbered three hundred and fifty-three; the 1931 student body numbered one thousand, six hundred and fifteen. The first class graduated from the Chaffey union [sic] high [sic] school [sic] comprised fifty-four members; the tenth, one hundred and twenty-eight; approximately three hundred students were graduated in 1931, and two hundred and ninety-three received diplomas in 1932.
The Chaffey junior [sic] college [sic], organized as a department of the high school in 1916 and reorganized as a district junior college in 1921, completes the six years of secondary school work offered by the present Chaffey organization. This school, which moved into its own building in 1931, has grown from an attendance of a few dozen to more than seven hundred. While not primarily an agricultural institution, the plans of the men of the colony have developed into an outstanding curriculum. In 1922 the college was affiliated with University of California, but at present its relation to
that institution of higher instruction is one of friendly interest. The college begins a new era in its development in its new surroundings apart from high school activities.
On the 22d of May, 1931, Chaffey union [sic] high [sic] school [sic] celebrated the twentieth anniversary of its organization, the dedication of the junior college unit, and the twentieth anniversary of Dr. Hill’s outstanding service to the institution. At that time, friends who came to the exercises saw there the flowering of the educational dream of George Chaffey, the mature representation of Dr. Hill’s two decades of educational pioneering in a community enterprise, and the promise of a new era of service to the young men and women of the district in the college of the people, the Chaffey junior [sic] college [sic].
In 1931 Dr. Hill accepted a position with the University of California, although he remained as supervising principal of the Chaffey schools for the year 1931-32. He is now the director of admissions at the University of California. Gardiner W. Spring is serving as superintendent of the Chaffey union [sic] high [sic] school [sic] and president of the Chaffey junior [sic] college [sic]. Ernest W. Fischer is principal of the Chaffey union [sic] high [sic] school [sic] and Charles J. Booth is the director of the Chaffey junior [sic] college [sic]. Gerald Mitchell is principal of the Fontana branch [sic] high [sic] school [sic] and Harold Cook is principal of the Upland branch [sic] high [sic] school [sic].
On the seventeenth of March, 1933, Chaffey celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone of the old Chaffey College. The day was celebrated with appropriate exercises on the campus. In the evening, five hundred former students of Chaffey College, Chaffey Union High School, and Chaffey Junior College gathered in the cafeteria at a banquet in honor of the occasion. Superintendent Spring and LeRoy Bradley of the class of 1893 were toastmasters. The program included greetings from former students and distinguished guests. Letters and telegrams of congratulation from those unable to be present were also read. A pageant was presented, depicting fifty years of Chaffey history. Dr. Tully Knoles, president of the College of the Pacific and a graduate with class of 1895, gave the address of the evening.
Transcribed by Jeanne Turner.
Source: California of the South Vol. II, by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 329-334, Clarke Publ., Chicago, Los Angeles, Indianapolis. 1933.
© 2012 Jeanne Turner.