Columbia Grammar School

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What it is:

Photo measuring 7.5 x 4.75 inches, affixed to a cardboard frame/backing measuring 10 x 7 inches.

What I know about it:

Undated and unidentified, but see comments below.


The box of photos I bought this past weekend contains a number of studio portraits of children in San Francisco. It also contains some class photos, including ones like this showing a banner that states Columbia Grammar School. (I’m sharing this one because it’s the clearest, least damaged example.) So I figured it wasn’t too much of a leap to assume that Columbia Grammar School might be in or near San Francisco. Some internet searching turned up a Columbia Street Grammar School in San Francisco, renamed Columbia Grammar School in 1881. (It was located where Hilltop High School is now on Florida Street, which is how I learned that Florida Street used to be called Columbia Street.) It was a three-story wood structure, and while there isn’t much of it visible in this photo, it resembles the one I found online. As for dating this photo, it was presumably taken after the school was renamed in 1881, and before it was torn down after a fire in 1926. I wish I could see the layout of the flag better, since the flag changed several times around those years. Perhaps a reader with some knowledge of clothing could help pinpoint it. In any case, it’s fun to look at all those little faces, already showing such distinct personalities.

4 comments on “Columbia Grammar School”

  1. I love class photos. These kids must have been arranged on a bleacher or something. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many flags in a school photo.

  2. I have a picture of my maternal great grandmother in a SF grammar school class picture. I’ll have to check what school it is. Could be Columbia, since they lived South of The Slot.

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