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Then and Now

Burbank High School--as much a part of that city's...

June 18, 1989|EVELYN De WOLFE | Times Staff Writer

Burbank High School--as much a part of that city's colorful heritage as its entertainment industry--has endured eight decades of irrepressible youthful energy. Along the way it has been revitalized, updated and expanded.

With the Verdugo Hills as its unchanging backdrop, the first Burbank Union High School opened in September, 1909, at Cypress Avenue and San Fernando Road.

In 1922, a new high school was built at Third Street and Burbank Boulevard, described as "on the fringe of the town," to keep pace with a growing city that was experiencing a degree of prosperity unequaled by any community in Southern California.

The school opened that year in its permanent location, with an enrollment of 110 students, a faculty of 10 and its first football team. Bobbed hair was the rage, middies and skirts were the uniform of the day for girls, and the favorite student hangout was an ice cream parlor known as Kewpie.

The Depression years slowed the pace for Burbank and for BHS. In the 1940s, the community witnessed blackouts, no new cars or gasoline to run them and students were doing a thriving business with spare ration stamps, stopping after school at Bailey's for malts or Bob's for a snack.

In the 1950s, Burbank High students entered the era of TV, Angora sweaters, duck-tail haircuts and low-slung jeans. It was a decade of major renovation to the school's facade and campus. The photos show the dramatic change in what became the school's main entrance; a remaining portion of the old building is now the library.

In the 1960s, BHS junior Cathy Ferguson brought honor to Burbank and BHS with her two Olympic gold medals in swimming; in the '70s student Randy Rhodes hit the big time as a rock 'n' roll star and was the pride of BHS. The student haunts were Shakey's for pizzas and McDonald's for hamburgers.

BHS's role in the 1980s is closely linked to the ongoing revitalization of Burbank, and its newest generation of computer-minded students now favor Burbank Bob's as the place to be and four-wheeling as the way to go.

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