AKA: Los Angeles State Normal School #1, Los Angeles, CA; Los Angeles Unified School District, Central Junior High, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: built works - public buildings - schools - middle schools; built works - public buildings - schools - university buildings

Designers: Edelman, Abram M. Architect (firm); Abram M. Edelman (architect)

Dates: constructed 1881-1882, demolished 1924

3 stories

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West 5th Street and South Grand Avenue
Downtown, Los Angeles, CA 90071

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In the 1890s, the Los Angeles Normal School was an expanding educational center for secondary school teachers. The Los Angeles Herald said of its vitality in 1896: "Of the progress and standing of the local institution no better authority can be quoted than Earl Barnes, professor of education at Stanford university, who a few months ago said: 'The Los Angeles Normal school has made the most rapid advance during the last two years of any school in the state.' Today there are 488 pupils in the school, an increase of 126 over the enrollment of last year." In 1896, the school received an annual appropriation of $40,000, meaning that all 488 students could attend free of charge, save for a modest library fee, a $1 per term physical laboratory fee, and a $3 fee for chemistry classes. Books cost on average about $5 a term, and instruments and material for work in the different sciences cost from $10 to $20 during the four years' course. "Thus the state educates its own teachers." the Herald summarized. (See "State Normal School," Los Angeles Herald, vol 25, no. 226, 05/24/1896, p. 5.) Average entering age for students in 1896 was 18 years-old, and most graduates were twenty years of age.

The yearly appropriation for the Los Angeles Normal School increased to $60,000 by 1905. (See "Legislature Attempting to Raid Treasury," Santa Cruz Evening Sentinel, vol. 9, no. 208, 02/03/1905, p. 1.) By the biennium of 1914-1915, the school's yearly allocation had increased to $318,500. (See Harry C. Chamberlin, "State Expenses Increased $3,000,000 this Year," Los Angeles Herald, vol. XLI, no. 227, 07/23/1915, p. 6.)

Building History

Losated in the Bellevue Tract, this was the first site of the California State Normal School in Los Angeles, CA (the second teacher's college in the State of CA). It opened on 08/29/1882. An article in the Los Angeles Herald on 08/30/1882 said of the opening: "The Los Angeles Normal School opened yesterday morning for the examination of candidates for admission. Eighty-one applicants were present, as follows: Los Angeles county, sixty-six; Ventura county, six; San Diego county, two; Santa Barbara county, two; Arizona Territory, two; Lassen county, one; Alameda county, one. Of these thirteen are males and sixty-eight females. The examinations yesterday were for admission to the lower classes. To-day will be devoted to the examination of candidates for higher classes. The proceedings were witnessed by a large number of our citizens interested in the advancement of education, all of whom were favorably impressed by the intelligent appearances of the applicants." (See "Local Brevities," Los Angeles Herald, vol. XVIII, no. 6, 08/30/1882, p. 3.)

It became Central Junior High, and functioned as this until it was demolished to make way for the Main Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library.

Building Notes

The Los Angeles Herald reported notes of the Normal School Board of Trustees regarding payment to the architect in 10/1881: "On motion it was ordered that the sum of $500 be paid to the architect, being the balance due for drawing the plans, the same having been completed and accepted. On the suggestion of Prof. Denman a proviso was added to the effect that the architect should make any additional plans and drawings that might be necessary to carry out the plans as originally designed. A discussion ensued as to the advisability of having the architect prepare tracings and duplicates of both the original and working plans. Finally, on motion of Mr. Evans, it was ordered that a duplicate of the working plans be prepared at an expense not to exceed $50." (See "Proceedings of the Normal School Trustees,"Los Angeles Herald, vol. 16, no. 57, 10/25/1881, p. 4.)


Funding for a gymnasium at the Los Angeles Normal School was passed by the California Legislature in 03/16/1889. (See "Los Angeles Normal School Gymnasium," San Bernardino Daily Courier, vol. 5, no. 136, 03/17/1889, p. 1.)

In 1896, the Los Angeles Herald described some of the changes that had been made to the normal school since it opened in 1882: "The first building was begun in 1881, and though entirely remodelled now, forms the front of the present building. With the special appropriation of $75,000 granted by a legislature in 1893, a new building of three stories and basement, 80x180 feet, was erectd containing twenty-seven recitation and class rooms for the normal and training school departments, necessary changes in the old building, heating and ventilating apparatus, a chemical laboratory detached from the main building and furniture. In all the present fine pile of buildings has cost about $160,000, this sum including also furniture, apparatus and library. Some $10,000 have been spent on the improvement of the grounds." (See "State Normal School," Los Angeles Herald, vol 25, no. 226, 05/24/1896, p. 5.)

Plans for an addition to the Los Angeles Normal School has been prepared by 05/1900. (See "On a Tour of Inspection,"Los Angeles Herald, 05/25/1900, p. 5.)


This building stood until its demolition in 1924. The main location of the Los Angeles Public Library #4 (LAPL) was sited on this spot.

PCAD id: 3448