The following is from a series of articles on the history of various Glendale schools taken from a report by Chester Lynch. It appeared in the Glendale Evening News on Tuesday, May 22, 1945.
In 1890, trustees of the Sepulveda School District called for an election to buy furniture and pay a teacher for a school to be opened in West Glendale, but the proposition was rejected by the voters. Again, in 1891, an election was held to authorize a special tax for a fifth teacher in the district. This also failed to carry.
The dissatisfaction caused by these two failures encouraged the area to split away from the Sepulveda District and on May 9, 1892, the West Glendale School District was formed. The voters promptly authorized $3,500 to finance the construction of a schoolhouse. Although the bonds, which bore interest of seven percent, sold immediately, a school was not built until the latter part of 1895.
The first recorded records of Columbus Elementary School go back to 1892. The first Teacher’s Register (Mary A. Buright – dated June 20th through June 30th, 1892) show the name of the school to be West Glendale School, with the enrollment of 30 students.
Classes were first held in the rented quarters on the second floor of a brick building on San Fernando Road, near Doran Street. They were soon moved to the Casa Adobe on Dorothy Drive, near Kenneth Road. Later, they were moved to the private residence of the Bullis Family on West Broadway.
In 1895, a two-room wooden schoolhouse was built at Doran Street and Remington Avenue (now known as Columbus Avenue) at the cost of $3,500. As was true of so many other schools in the area, the advent of the Pacific Electric Railway inflated the local population. In 1908, bonds in the amount of $16,000, were issued to build a two-story, eight-room wooden school. Three teachers served in this building until 1910 when the number was doubled. This larger building replaced the old West Glendale School and was called the Remington Avenue School. When the name of Remington Avenue was changed to Columbus Avenue, the school’s name was changed to Columbus Avenue School.
In 1922, a four-room brick structure was added and in 1923, four more rooms were built. The two-story wooden building was moved back on the school property. In 1925, the eight-room brick building was overcrowded and four-room brick wings were added to each end, detached from the main section of the building. Even with these additions, the superintendent, in 1927, reported that the school had “several” overcrowded rooms.
In 1949, a new half-million-dollar school was built on the same school property and the wings of the old buildings were demolished. Later, a multi-purpose room was added. Because of the heavy traffic on the street which led to the front door of the old structure, the new school was built with the main buildings fronting onto Milford Street, somewhat easing the problems faced when children cross the street. The name was changed again, this time to Columbus Elementary School. This new facility also housed the home school whose name was later changed to Columbus Orthopedic Unit, as before the population around the school changed. To make more room for students of Columbus School, the orthopedic unit was moved to Fremont Elementary School in 1990.
This old school building, built in 1910 for the then West Glendale school and now used for classrooms in the Columbus school, will be replaced if school bonds to be voted on June 12 are approved, school officials have announced. Oldest building in the Glendale school system, the wooden two-story structure has been a source of worry to parents and school administrators alike, due to its antiquated arrangements and the constant danger of fire. (Tuesday, May 22, 1945)