This photo was recently acquired by the Historical Society.
It was identified as the graduating class of 1897 by clues in the
photo, but we do not yet know the names of anyone pictured. The
front of the building can be seen in the full photo, but
remember, it is of the building that was built in 1890, not the
one many people today remember as East Orange High School.
The original school, built in 1890 and first occupied in
1891, is shown below. It was built facing Winans Street.
The above building was torn down in 1953 to make room for an
addition to the 1911 school shown below. The "new"
building was attached to the old and was built facing Walnut
These buildings are all gone now, and we are waiting to see
the buildings that are even now rising on the old foundations.
This shows East Orange High
School from the south side looking north as of November 12,
2005 just before demolition began. This view is from the parking
lot that was behind a row of stores on Main Street. Notice the
form of the 1890 building still incorporated into the center of
the complex. The new portion at the eastern rear housed a
gymnasium and swimming pool.
At the groundbreaking ceremony held in November of 2005,
Cicely Tyson was guest of honor at the school complex to be named
after her. L-R: East Orange School Superintendent, Cicely Tyson,
Mayor Robert Bowser.
Representing the Historical Society of East Orange, Inc. were
Lucius Bowser and Goldie Burbage.
This satelite map view from 2005 shows the
beginning of the demolition process. Winans Street will
consist of two dead end streets with the school complex
inbetween, approximately where the bridge is in the
From the same southern viewpoint, this is the plan for the new
Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts Community School
to be built in place of the old East Orange High School. On the
right of the bridge is the Elementary School portion, merging
populations of students from Washington and Whitney Houston
(Franklin) schools. The bridge leads into the theater, which
connects to the high school. This will serve the high school
students from the former Cicely Tyson School of Performing and
Fine Arts (V.L.D.).
All construction begins with an empty lot. This is the space
where East Orange High School was. The photo is from December 6,
2006. The photo was taken from the elevated railroad station
looking north towards Williams Street in the background.
The satellite map from early 2007 shows nothing left standing
and construction just beginning.
From the same view looking north down the former Winans
Street, we can see the beginning of construction of the new
Cicely Tyson complex. In the background are the trees of Rowley
Park on the other side of William Street.
This shows the construction completed as of October 9, 2008.
The view is of the Elementary School side as seen from the
railroad station, looking north.
This view is to the west (left) of the previous view, and
shows the other side of the complex, with the central theater
building and the high school on the far left.
From the Google Map as seen in March 2011. The construction
is complete, the school has been open to students since 2009.
Notice that the planned bridge between elementary school and
middle/ high school was never built, but as you examine the
buildings from the ground level, you can see that the bridge plan
explains the strange architecture in both buildings, where the
bridge would have been connected if it had been completed.
If you have any historic school (or other) photos you would
like to see included in our museum, please contact Jim Gerrish at