Cleveland High School

Cleveland High School, Photograph by W.C. Persons, February 12, 1937, Missouri History Museum, P0041-00001

Update: In 2020, the high school suffered from at least two arsons and considerable vandalism. Additional historic images added with revised text in August of 2020.

Sitting vacant, the victim of a school board with no vision, Cleveland High School awaits renovation.  It is a perfect example of the Ittner Milligan architectural firm, who designed most of the iconic school buildings around St. Louis.

The architecture, particularly that of the front portal, is based off St. James Palace in London, which is the official residence of the monarchy of England. Private school buildings in Great Britain are also built in this style, so the pedigree of our schools is long.

Cleveland High School, School Building Entrance at Night, December 1935, Missouri History Museum, P0900-16432-01-8n

Thankfully the building has not seen as severe of deterioration that Central High School has, but the interior has suffered considerable neglect.

The glazed terracotta panels on the front, showing various vocations, are great examples of how the architects thought of all of the little details.

The school sits like a castle up on top of a hill in Dutchtown, looking down on Grand a block away across the athletic fields.  They sure knew how to make great settings back then.


  1. Class of ’78 here! It was a great high school. If your interested you can find many pictures of the inside on Cleveland Alumni Facebook sites. There is even a pool in the basement.
    I grew up one block south of the school on Louisiana. My mom lived there for 47 years.

    Love that you are visiting the South Side. Thanks for the pictures.

  2. My wife and I live on Louisiana (I won’t say where).

    So it’s funny that you’ve done a post on Cleveland. My wife and I were headed to Caruso’s one night last week and we got to talking about the school. We were lamenting the fact that in today’s America, with corporate taxes at the lowest they’ve been in decades (and with some not paying taxes at all, especially on foreign sales), every City in debt (Detroit’s creditors have their greedy eyes on Belle Island; juicy development opportunity for the parasitic wealthy), 4 TrillionUSD wars, and a giant sucking sound which basically funnels BillionsUSD into the pockets of the parasitic wealthy and corporate supranationals, it’s a shame that no money can be found to turn this into a neighborhood arts and cultural center. Ceramics, glass, literacy classes, painting, drawing, athletics, parenting classes, drug addiction programs and numerous other ways in which people can improve themselves, their families, their communities, and all of it under one beautifully historic roof. Anybody got an extra 30MillionUSD we could have? (Just a little dig at the wealthy parasites in this country, who have more money than they need or can spend; crazy hoarders)

    Buuuut NOOOOOOOO! Freedums, War on Terrorism(tm), War on Drugs(tm), ‘Merka, Job Creators(tm) if you’re not with us, you’re against us, socialismZOMG!, Dronebama the war criminal, banks must be made whole, must look forward and all of that other BS MarketingPRopaganda and misplaced fealty must prevail.

    *shaking fist* Down with the Aristos!

    That ends my rant for today.

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