Built in 1935-36, the Hinckley High School Gymnasium is part of the Public Works Buildings Thematic Nomination and is significant because it helps
document the impact of New Deal programs in Utah, which was one of the states that the Great Depression of the 1930s most severely affected. In 1933 Utah had an unemployment rate of 36 percent, the fourth highest in the country, and for the period 1932-1940 Utah’s unemployment rate averaged 25 percent. Because the depression hit Utah so hard, federal programs were extensive in the state. Overall, per capita federal spending in Utah during the 1930s was 9th among the 48 states, and the percentage of workers on federal work projects was far above the national average. Building programs were of great importance. During the 1930s virtually every public building constructed in Utah, including county courthouses, city halls, fire stations, national guard armories, public school buildings, and a variety of others, were built under federal programs by one of several agencies, including the Civil Works Administration (CWA), the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), the National Youth Administration (NYA), the Works Progress Administration (WPA), or the Public Works Administration (PWA), and almost without exception none of the buildings would have been built when they were without the assistance of the federal government.
The Hinckley High School Gym is one of 233 public works buildings
identified in Utah that were built during the 1930s and early 1940s. Only 130 of those 233 buildings are known to remain today and retain their historic integrity. This is one of 107 public school buildings that were constructed in Utah, 55 of which remain. In Millard County 10 buildings were constructed. This is one of 6 that remain, and one of 2 school buildings
remaining of 5 that were built.
The Hinckley High School Gymnasium was built between 1935 and 1936. It
was part of a larger Public Works Administration (PWA) project that the Millard County School District undertook that included, in addition to this
building, a mechanical arts building at Delta High School and a gymnasium at Millard High School in Fillmore. Total cost for the 3 buildings was $130,000. Construction on all 3 buildings began in the summer of 1935 and was completed by June of 1936. The architects of all three were Carl W. Scott and George W. Welch, and the contractors were Talboe and Litchfield.
Carl W. Scott and George W. Welch were both prominent Utah architects.
Scott was born October 17, 1887, in Minneapolis, Kansas, and graduated in 1907 from the University of Utah with a degree in mining. He was given credit for the idea of the concrete “U” on the hill that is still above the university campus. Following graduation he began a career in architecture as a draftsman for Richard Kletting. In 1914 he became partners with George W. Welch. Welch was born in Denver, Colorado, on May 15, 1886, graduated from Colorado College, and came to Salt Lake City to begin work as an architect. Active in political affairs while here, he was a member of the Utah House of Representatives from 1919 until 1921. Among the buildings that Scott and Welch designed were Salt Lake City’s Elks’ Club Building, South High School, the Masonic Temple, and many public school buildings throughout Utah including Hawthorne Elementary School and Bryant Junior High School in Salt Lake, Park City High School, Tooele High School, Blanding High School, and Cedar City Elementary School. They also designed a number of commercial buildings including the N. O. Nelson Manufacturing Company Warehouse, the Nelson-Ricks Creamery Building, and the Firestone Tire Company Building, all in Salt Lake City.