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Ogden High School, completed in 1937, together with the U.S. Forest Service Building (1933) and the Ogden/Weber Municipal Building (1939), are exceptionally important as the most significant Art Deco structures in Ogden and the state of Utah. These structures gain added importance as works of the architectural firm of Hodgson and McClenahan, and are excellent examples of federal, work projects initiated during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Leslie S. Hodgson, who designed the school, has been labeled as the most important architect of the Ogden-Weber County area from the late 19th to mid 20th century. The Ogden High School was regarded as his “masterpiece, the culmination of almost four decade’s work.”

Located at 2828 Harrison Boulevard in Ogden, Utah and added to the National Historic Register (#83003201) on June 7, 1983.


Public works projects formed an important part of the federal government’s response to the depression of the 1930s. The Public Works Administration was established under the National Industrial Recovery Act, and was continued by the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935. This agency was authorized to make loans and grants available for “non-federal construction projects of states, counties, cities, territories, and possessions, and to conduct federal demonstrations of slum clearance and low-rent housing.” Such projects were financed by PWA grants from Federal Emergency Relief Administration funds for a portion of the total cost. The remaining cost was usually paid by the local bodies sponsoring the projects.

As early as June 1933, Ogden City, Utah was seeking some $1,745,000 from the state PWA director, R. A. Hart, with the Ogden City Board of Education applying for $600,000 for a new high school. Sources indicate that after delays in funding, plans were executed by the architectural firm of Hodgson and McClenahan for the structure. The contractor for the building was the company of George A. Whitmeyer & Sons. Leslie S. Hodgson, who produced most of the design concepts for the firm became noted for his ability to work with a wide range of architectural styles, from Prairie School and Egyptian Revival to the Art Deco, for example. The high school was considered his “masterpiece,” as he designed it and supervised its construction.

Completed in 1937, Ogden High School cost about $1,150,000. Ogden’s “Million Dollar School” was lauded locally as “truly a magnificent structure, modernly equipped,” with credit going to the Board of Education, PWA, and local voters who provided needed funding for the project. At dedicatory festivities,
state PWA director, R. A. Hart, listed his agency’s objectives as putting men to work, and constructing worthwhile buildings. He stated further that Ogden City and Weber County had done more for recovery through construction projects than any other unit in the state. The high school became a source
of community pride, with a Kiwanis arboretum and lane dedicated at the site in April 1938.

The building remains as the Ogden High School. Remodeling was completed at the school in the late 1970s, by the architectural firm of Sterling R. Lyon, with Barbara G. Cowley, project designer. This was accomplished tastefully, and reflects the continued pride held for the building.


The corner stone of Ogden High notes that it was Public Works Project #1423. Like the U. S. Forestry Service Building and the Ogden/Weber Municipal Building, it was designed by the firm of Hodgson and McClenahan during the 1930s when both public works projects and the Art Deco Style were predominant
on the American architectural scene.

Ogden High School, completed in 1937, was built of tan brick with glazed terra cotta trim. The horizontal massing almost negates the vertical implications which are so characteristic of the Art Deco Style. The asymmetry of massing also varies from most Art Deco prototypes. Flat roofed, similarly detailed rectangular units of varying height are collected into an overall grouping. Interior space use administrative offices, classrooms, gymnasium and auditorium) is implied by the exterior massing.

As in the other Art Deco buildings, vertical bands of metal frame windows are separated by brick pilasters. Spandrels reveal decorative masonry with the geometric Art Deco character, stressing verticals and diagonals in the corbelling patterns. Top spandrels and pilasters are terminated by terra cotta trim reflecting the undulation of the wall plane below.

The main entrance is determined by a tall rectangular mass. Cast terra cotta spandrels here have geo-floral motifs. There is greater spatial undulation here than in other parts of the building and a more vertical feeling. Each of the four entrance doors has a geometric patterned metal grill transom. The original exterior lamps at the entrance are extant, reflecting Art Deco design considerations.

The school interior remains largely unchanged and well preserved. Polychromatic wall stencils, patterned floors, marble dados, metal trim and plaster work are extant. The library was recently renovated (late 1970s) in a way most sensitive to the original design. Subsidiary buildings on campus and all exterior modifications also sensitively reproduce the character of the main building in scale, massing, materials, and trim. The nomination includes the school and gymnasium building.