Harrisburg's explosive growth after World War I opened new lands for development, both uptown above Maclay Street, and on Allison Hill east of 18th Street. Prior to that time, the Technical and Central High Schools, on Walnut and Forster Streets respectively downtown, served the educational needs of an older Harrisburg. Then the Harrisburg School Board decided in the early 1920's to erect two new high school complexes: one at the city's northern end (William Penn High School) and the other at its eastern end (John Harris High School) to serve the community's burgeoning school-age population. Both schools were completed and opened in September, 1926. Designed by the respected Harrisburg architectural collaboration of Tappley and Hornbostel, the former John Harris High School is an unusual interpretation of the Italian Renaissance Revival architecture style. It occupies lands originally intended for the continued residential development of adjacent Bellevue Park, but which were sold to the School District for the obvious greater benefit to the neighborhood and city. Both the John Harris and William Penn High Schools continued as separate secondary facilities and particularly as sports rivals until 1972, when the two were administratively merged into a single city-wide high school entity, with John Harris serving grades nine through
twelve. Subsequent District restructurings resulted in the renaming of the John Harris campus as the Harrisburg High School with the former William Penn High School serving as the District's vocational technical center. Further recent progressive efforts have positioned both schools to achieve distinction in providing the city's youth a quality education in the 21st Century.Captions:1926 view from Reservoir Park looking southeast showing the just-completed John Harris High School and surrounding not-yet developed rural lands.1930 postcard view of John Harris High School.The Harrisburg History Project commissioned by Mayor Stephen R. Reed.