A Brief History of Washington High School
By: Steve Fuidici, Class of 1976
In 1891 the founders met to declare a high school for Washington Township and the first high school classes in the Washington Township began January 11, 1892 in the Masonic Hall on Peralta Boulevard with 22 students. The school was named Union High School District #2 and May Burdick became the first graduate in June, 1892. In March of 1893, the students moved into a new three-story building on Peralta Boulevard that cost $6,582!
Tennis and baseball were popular sports, but the school organized a football team and played their first official game against the local Washington College on December 16, 1893. The high school won with a final score of 8-0. The first major play was the 1898 production of As You Like It in a improvised amphitheater in the Forest of Arden in the Patterson Ranch Woods. Both boys and girls basketball teams were formed in 1907 and a track was built in front of the school in 1910.
In 1914 the school name was changed to Washington High School District and in 1916 five bus routes were started to bring students to school in canvas-sided buses. Publication of the school newspaper, The Hatchet, also began that year when students decided it could be used to bring untruth and deceit to an end. It wasn't until 1923 that the first volume of the school yearbook, The Washingtonian, was published by the senior class.
In 1923, twenty acres were purchased for $20,000 at the present Fremont Boulevard location. Construction moved quickly and the new classically-designed building was dedicated in August 1924. By 1926 the school enrollment had grown to 300 students and the school was the largest business in Washington Township. The original Memorial Grove was planted in 1932 to commemorate the bicentennial of George Washington.
The Washington high athletic teams had been called the Huskers or Cornhuskers for many years, but as the area changed from rural to suburban the name was changed to the Huskies and the Husky dog was chosen as the mascot. The school colors became orange and black. By 1958 the school had grown to over 2,900 students attending a triple staggered schedule. In the fall of 1959 Logan High school opened and was quickly followed in 1961 by the openings of Irvington High and Newark High.
1972 was a key year in Husky history as earthquake safety concerns led to the closure of the main building, and many students in the northern WHS attendance area left to begin attending the newly opened American High School. Construction of a sports stadium was started in the summer of 1972 and on October 12, 1972 it was dedicated as the Tak Fudenna Memorial Stadium in honor of 1939 WHS graduate, Takeo Fudenna, who gave much to the community and this project and who had died the previous August in an accident.
After the passage of a school bond in the early 90's, the main building and gyms were demolished to make way for new construction. Efforts of the Washington High School Alumni Foundation and its many members helped to save the original entrance archway of the main building and incorporate it into the design of the new building. With a design that reflects the original architecture, the new main building was dedicated on December 13, 1997, and it proudly represents the tradition and contributions that this institution and its graduates have made to the Fremont community.
Some accounts from Reflections: The Educational History of Fremont, 1983