The History of Pen-Hi

Much has been written about the history of Pen-High.  We will be building our take on that history on this page.  In the meantime the following link will take you to the "History - Penticton Secondary" page on the School District 67 website.  

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On September 5th, 1911 Penticton High School was born.  There were 20 pupils on that first day of class, which convened in a building on the corner of Westminster Ave. W. and Winnipeg St. There are conflicting accounts of the building’s prior use; some refer to it as being a packinghouse, others that it was a warehouse for a contracting business. What sources do agree on is that it was owned by W. A. McKenzie who was a Trustee of the School Board and that it lacked the bare essentials of a school such as a blackboard or textbooks. One former student even referred to it as a “rough shack”. 
There are no pictures of that first high school, but there are photographs of the building as it appeared after the school had moved. By 1926 the original building had been bought by L.L. Wilkins for a machine shop, and one former student mentions in the 1926 Annual that the first school was in the rear portion of that building.


In 1913, after two years in the intial location, the High School moved to the old Public School building which was located on the current site of the Library and Museum.  The Public School had recently moved across the street to the newly completed Ellis building which allowed the High School to finally move into a proper schoolhouse.  When the High School was relocated across the street the building became an elementary school.

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high school #3

Extract from The PH Fire January 1949 by David Snyder

"On the morning of January 18, 1949, (about 01:00 hours) a sudden fire flared up in a work closet of our senior high school. Before long the whole school was enveloped in flames. Though the firemen worked feverishly trying to battle the blaze, it was of no avail. Therefore every class student from grade seven to our senior matric class has been managing …under the difficult circumstances" -The PENTOKEN 1949

The fire was on Thursday. School was closed on Friday. Monday morning students were back in classes. Some classes were held next door in the Shatford

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building, across Eckhardt Avenue in the United Church, down Main Street at the Canadian Legion or on Martin Street at the Anglican Church. P.E. was taken in the Armories on Wade Avenue. 

 The Penticton Herald reported that although most the school books were lost, including Mr. Pritchard books, Mr. Jack Tribe was the only teacher whose books were saved as his class was on the extreme West end of the school. Constable Teskey saved and retrieved a large quantity of papers and sports trophies from the principal’s office.

That blaze destroyed the only known collection of PHS grad photos from 1911 to 1948.

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The first Eckhardt Avenue school, built in 1935, completed in 1937, was ash and cinders in January 1949.

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Construction of a new senior high school on Eckhardt Avenue was started  in 1949 and with various additions (including the Auditorium and Gymnasium) completed in 1953 and served the  our community until the summer of 2008.

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