This aerial shot from 1960 or 61 shows the newly completed school buildings along South Navajo Drive at the intersections of Date Street and 5th Avenue. You can see a few church buildings springing up on church row at the top of the picture. Originally, that was called 7th Avenue but was renamed to Lake Powell Blvd a number of years ago. The teacher’s apartments are the long buildings on this side of 7th avenue. They’re no longer there. I guess someone thought it would be a good idea to round up all of the teachers and keep them in one spot for easy handling. Probably not a bad idea. Ha!
Ok, back to the picture. The oval shaped area on the left side of the picture is the football field and track. The bleachers are the small strip next to the field. I have a cool ground shot of the field and scoreboard that I’ll be posting soon. The area behind the bleachers was little more than a big sand pit used for football practice. I remember running wind sprints in full pads in that sand that seemed to be 4 feet deep. I get winded just thinking about it now.
I don’t know how these buildings are referred to now, but they were originally labeled by letter. The larger building on the left was A Building. The small one next to it was B Building (I know, pretty creative!). Both of these building housed the high school. The large building in the middle was the Gym (C Building) and the long one near the bottom was D Building. D Building was home to the junior high-ers and I think down to 3rd or 4th grade originally. I was in D Building when President Kennedy was shot. I was in 3rd grade, so it must have gone that low. What’s not shown in this picture is the old X and Y buildings that housed the 1st and 2nd grades for a few years. Those were to the right of this picture along 7th Avenue across from the Catholic Church. X and Y Buildings were long, temporary, wooden buildings where I started 1st grade. At the bottom of D Building, you’ll see a small fenced-in concrete slab that was called the playpen. We spent recesses out there playing anything we could play with a ball.
If I remember right, the square area just above the gym was blacktop. There must have been basketball posts there, but my memory of it is pretty sketchy. Cedar Street is just off the picture on the bottom left corner. Those two houses there are facing Cedar Street. We lived in the 2nd or 3rd house from Date Street on the north side of Cedar Street for a time. I remember listening to Beatles 45 records in the front yard.
It looks like there is still some construction going on with the Bureau homes in this picture, at least in the back yards and easement. The sand was always horrible during windy days and getting it under control seemed to be a constant battle. Check out the row of small trees there were planted in the front yards along South Navajo.
Does anyone else remember the school crossing guards that worked that corner of Date and South Navajo? They were older school kids who got to wear uniforms and carry big flags. When we got to the corner and needed to cross, they would lower those big flags to a 45 degree angle and walk out ahead of us to stop traffic (one on each side of Navajo Drive). I remember thinking how cool that was I wanted so bad to become a crossing guard. I wish I had a picture of them to show you.
For comparison, here’s an aerial view of the same spot today: