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Western High School 50th Anniversary
Graduates of Western High School's graduating class of 1957 will gather in Silver City in late July to recall high school days, shared memories and catch up on the lives of friends and loved ones. The reunion, July 27 to 29, will take place at locations in Silver City and the surrounding area.

Class member Rudy Carillo, now a resident of Dallas and an information technology instructor at a university near Dallas, said the reunion would combine group events and smaller get-togethers.

A casual meet-and-greet begins the reunion on Friday, July 27, in the conference room at the Holiday Inn Express on US Highway 180 East, followed by dinner. Saturday's evets will include hot dogs and hamburgers for lunch and a group dinner at the Red Barn Family Steak House. After church on Sunday, groups will meet individually for brunches and conversation.

For more information on the reunion, contact Carillo by email.

More about Western High School,
precursor to today's Silver High School
In 1937, plans drawn up by E.M. Kolben were adopted by the local and county governments to build a new high school "as good as any in the state." To raise the funds to build the new high school, Governor Tingley approved the sale of bonds. A mathematics class at the existing high school determined how much ground would have to be moved before construction could begin.

By March of 1939, one of New Mexico's largest and most modern high schools was completed in Silver City. Built to accommodate 800 students, the school was located on West Avenue, between Tenth and Eleventh Streets. Contractors were Bradbury and Marchant of Albuquerque. Including all the needed furnishings and equipment, the building cost the taxpayers (with a grant from the PWA- the Public Works Administration) some $227,000.

The building was constructed of reinforced concrete frame and floor slabs with steel roof joists. The exterior elevations were brick with hollow tile, trimmed with
red tile inserts and white cast stone parapet walls and entrances. The 53,000 square feet of floor space contained eleven classrooms, a spacious auditorium, laboratory, science lecture hall, library and study hall. The stairwells and railings were made of marble. Many of the floors were constructed of hardwood.

The school first opened in 1939 as New Mexico State Teachers' College High School. In 1949 the name was changed to Western High School at the same time that the college changed its name to New Mexico Western College. In 1960 the school became Silver High School. In 1966, the new Silver High School building, located on 32nd and Silver Streets, was dedicated and the Western High School building was vacated.

Eventually, Neil Parrish and Larry Phifer purchased the building with the intention of remodeling it into apartments. After putting on a new roof, they found that damage had occurred to the northeast side during an earlier excavation project. Costs for repair would have been astronomical, so the building had to be demolished. The edifice was so well constructed that demolition became extremely difficult, with little chance for salvage of the brick walls. The college then bought the building and completed the demolition in 1983.

You still can go by West Street today and see the steps and concrete pathway that led to this memorable structure. The Western High School structure no longer exists, but it lives on in the minds and hearts of the students and staff who populated its walls for some twenty-seven years.

Western High School information courtesy of Western New Mexico University. Details available on line.


  Silver City/Grant County Chamber of Commerce

Mailing Address:
PO Box 1028 Silver City, NM 88062

3130 HWY 180 E, Suite C [MAP]
Silver City, NM 88061
(575) 538-3785
(800) 548-9378