This week we take a look at an historic Tough Job we took on in the early 1920’s in Janesville, WI. This project was the Janesville High School and was one of our first large jobs.
In July 1921, JP Cullen secured the contract to build Janesville’s high school. This prestigious agreement was a signature landmark for our firm and an honor to have been selected as the contractor for such a monumental building that would end up being one of the largest in the city at the time.
Once awarded the contract, J.P. Cullen, the original founder of JP Cullen, and his team began work right away and by late summer 1922, the building was taking shape. Interested in how the building was coming along, locals crossed the Racine Street Bridge to observe the progression of work on the school. Work continued throughout the year and in December 1922, J.P. reported to the school board that the school would be ready on time for the first day of classes.
On January 26th, the mid-year graduation of 33 seniors was held in the new auditorium. The ceremony was witnessed by 1,500 persons, the largest crowd ever seated at any indoor event in Janesville’s history up to that time. Everyone who toured the new building admired the vast, white-painted auditorium. Newspapers reported that it, “equaled in beauty of any theater auditorium in towns many times larger than Janesville.”
The town celebrated the new building on January 31 when a parade of 1,000 persons marched from the old high school on South High Street to the new facility. Junior and senior high school bands lead the procession, as well as local dignitaries following behind.
Despite a couple of finishing details that remained, the school was ready for its first day of classes – held on Monday, February 5th. The 1,165 pupils poured through the school doors at 8:30 a.m. The school building went on to serve the Janesville community for decades and eventually became the Marshall Middle School in the 1980s, and then was turned into apartments in the 1990s.