Racine High School

Racine High School was on the same block that the Racine County Courthouse is on now. It was built in 1852 and was the first public school in Wisconsin.

Racine High School

Racine High School’s curving rear section

Racine High School, 1911

Joan of Arc statue donated by the RHS class of 1904



Racine High School football team, Class of 1919

Racine High School football team, Class of 1919

1920 Kipikawi yearbook

Racine High School Senior Annual 1909, as a PDF, 20 megabytes: Racine_High_School_Senior_Annual_1909_smaller Ben Hecht, who would run away to Chicago after high school to become a famous writer and journalist, is featured prominently in this book.

Racine High School Senior Annual 1911, as a PDF

Little Bits of Etiquette, Racine High School, 1925

Little Bits of Etiquette, Racine High School, 1925


From the 1922 Kipikawi:









  • Impressive about Racine High School
    • Large number of teachers
    • Large number of vocational teachers
    • Large number of school organizations with large student participation — see the Kipikawi staff listing
    • Large number of commercial teachers and staff
    • Large number of people in the Kipikawi advertising staff
  • Interesting notes
    • The captions for student pictures are carefully done, and often refer to who is pairing off with who
    • Many boys’ captions refer to them being distracted by a certain special girl
    • Many girls’ captions refer to their boyfriends, curling their hair and wearing dresses to please “him”
    • The photo collages between sections are some of the most interesting photos with identifiable backgrounds, such as the Unitarian Church at 7th and College, and the old YMCA on 7th street (page 84 of the 1926 Kipikawi).
    • “The old Meachem home on College Avenue was razed to make room for the new Y. W. C. A. building.” (Racine: The Belle City, Alice Sankey). According to my 1940 phonebook, J.G. Meachem (this would be the long-lived J.G. Meachem Jr.) lived at 905 Main Street. Hmm. I wonder who lived at College Avenue? Maybe his father, J.G. Meachem Sr.?

Racine High School Class of 1886

A nice angle showing what is now the Unitarian Church and the high school on the intersection of 7th and College Ave.

We’ve been looking at many postcards of the huge Racine High School which was at College Ave. and 7th Street, but it’s good to remember that smaller schools occupied that same space. For instance, in 1887, there were two small schools in the north half of that block (now where the courthouse is): the High School and the 2nd Ward School.

1894 Sanborn Fire Insurance map showing unfinished new Racine High School

Now we know that Racine ran out of space in their high school and felt the need to build a new, much larger Racine High School, and it was still under construction in 1894. To imagine that this huge building only served the high school students of Racine to the late 1920s is amazing.

Architectural drawing of Racine High School

Dennis Tully: James Gilbert Chandler was a prominent Racine based architect who designed several buildings that are on the National Register of Historic Places. Those include the Shoop Building and the Racine YMCA building on 6th St. This is an architectural sketch of the Racine High School building that was located on the block that now holds the Racine County Court House. It was built in the 1890’s and was razed about 1928 for the construction of the court house.

3 thoughts on “Racine High School

  1. I currently inherited old year books from my grandmother who passed away many years ago. They are from 1922-24. I do not want to throw them out and they may be able to be archived by your school. I would appreciate a reply to see if I can send them to you. Thank you

  2. I’m interested in tracking down Racine High School year books from 1914 – 1917. My grandfather, John Slezak, graduated in 1917. Can anybody tell me the best way to find them? Are they available as pdf files? Any information would be helpful. Thanks

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