Population growth in the city of Sacramento during the 1930’s
prompted the construction of the city’s second high school – C.K.
McClatchy Senior High School. Funding to build the school came
from local sources and the Public Works Administration, one of
the New Deal programs instituted by President Franklin Roosevelt
to stimulate the U.S. economy in the wake of the Great
The school was designed by the local architectural firm of Starks
and Flanders, which had also designed other landmark buildings in
the city including the Elks Temple, the U.S. Post Office, and the
Courthouse—all located in downtown Sacramento.
On May 20, 1937, local dignitaries and students from the city’s
junior high schools gathered to watch the laying of the school’s
cornerstone which bears the name of C.K. McClatchy, the late
editor and owner of The Sacramento Bee.
On September 19, 1937, the school was officially dedicated.
Sitting on 30 acres, the school included a band room complete
with soundproof practice rooms as well as dressing and music
rooms near the auditorium. A nurse’s suite with bathrooms and a
sun porch were also features of the new campus.
The school is an architectural hybrid. According to the
application for listing on the National Register of Historic
Places, CKM “shares the pared down, stylized design typical of
many PWA projects. Moderne in its massing and simplicity of line,
it carries stylized elements of Classical Revival—perhaps more
accurately, ‘Mannerist Revival’—architecture.”
For over 70 years, the school has served students in the
Sacramento area. Many local, state, national, and international
figures graduated from CKM. Currently, approximately 2,000
students attend the school.
In 2002, the school was officially listed on the National
Register of Historic Places.
C.K. McClatchy High School began as one of President Franklin D.
Roosevelt’s Public Works Administration Projects (PWA) in
1936 and cost approximately $800,000 to build. The high school
whose building style is Classicized Moderne architecture was
named for C.K. McClatchy who had succeeded his father, James
McClatchy, as editor of the Sacramento Bee in 1884 and died in
1936. Students began attending the school in September of
1937. The original library was housed across the hall from its