Location: 315 E. Wilshire Avenue 1936: W.P.A. Moderne
The Wilshire Junior High School site as been in continuous use for educational purposes since 1890, when the first red brick schoolhouse was built at the northeast corner of Lemon Street and Wilshire Avenue. Other school facilities were constructed on the site and remained there until the 1933 earthquake. Destruction from the earthquake resulted in the construction of a new Wilshire School under a WPA project in 1936, consisting of the existing auditorium and classroom buildings facing Wilshire Avenue. This complex became the Wilshire Junior High School in the mid-1950s. In the early 1980s, the Junior High School was closed and the North Orange Country Community College District acquired the property. The District rehabilitated the buildings, and the auditorium is now available for community use and the classrooms are used for continuing educational instruction.
The existing buildings are representative of the less ornate W.P.A. projects, being poured concrete with more of a Moderne style that was popular at the time of their construction. The building’s block-like profile and austere relief for decorating all openings are characteristic of W.P.A. architecture. The auditorium is the most significant of the buildings, primarily because of its interior detailing, but the complex is distinctive in its unified, uncluttered setting.
With the widening of Lemon Street in the 1970s, some of the window openings facing this street were filled because of traffic noise; this solution, unfortunately, has compromised the appearance of the building’s original design.