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High school photo was of first built in Medford

We saw the montage of historical photographs you featured on the front of the Monday, Feb. 18, issue of the Mail Tribune. One of them says "High School," Medford, Ore., on it, but the building doesn't look like the old South Medford High School building. I haven't seen those columns before.

Did it go through some sort of construction to change its exterior?

— Nora, Medford

In the horse race for most interesting reader response to a tax levy story, we think you'd at least place — if not show. But here at Since You Asked HQ, we also love a good question, and inquiring minds want to know.

We started with the source of the photo in question — our friends at the Southern Oregon Historical Society.

Thanks to the assistance of a helpful SOHS volunteer, we learned that the building in the photo is actually of the first Medford High School.

The historical society pointed us to an April 1909 article in Medford's Magazine, where we learned that the building's grand opening was held on April 9, 1909. It featured 12 classrooms, an assembly hall and a third-floor gymnasium. It sat near the corner of Fifth and Sixth streets on North Bartlett where The Commons now stands.

The building served our fair city as the first dedicated high school building from 1909 until the construction of a new school in 1926.

The next high school building lasted only five years as a high school, though; it became McLoughlin Middle School after a new Medford High School building was erected in 1931 at 831 S. Oakdale Ave., which still serves students as Central Medford High School today.

But alas, in with the new and out with the old. Our history sleuth Bill Miller pointed us to a March 20, 1932, Mail Tribune article that said the first high school building on Bartlett was torn down in 1931 after completion of the former South Medford High School.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.