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 Depression.
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 present location.