The History of Ladue Horton Watkins High School
In 1950, Mrs. Horton Watkins donated the land upon which to build a high school with the provision that it be named after her late husband. In that same year, a $675,000 bond issue was passed to build Ladue Horton Watkins High School (LHWHS), a two-story structure comprised of the current front and second hallway.
The school opened in 1952 with 550 students in grades seven through twelve. Also in 1952, blue and white were chosen as the school colors and the Ram was selected as the team mascot. Classes met four days a week with 70-minute periods.
The building was further expanded due to increasing enrollment in 1953, 1960 and 1964. In 1959, the grade configuration changed to ten through twelve when East Ladue Junior High opened to accommodate grades seven through nine. In 1979, ninth grade moved back to the high school.
LHWHS has a long tradition of academic success and is widely recognized as one of the premier public school districts in the nation. For additional highlights about the district and high school, see the District Overview on the district’s website. For additional information about the history of the building, as well as details about plans for a significant renovation, please visit the High School Renovation website.
Click here to read the 1952-1999 history of LHWHS.
Other interesting facts to note:
- In 1961, the student high school newspaper was renamed the Panorama, as it remains today.
- In 1969, “Innovation” was adopted at the high school, a flexible, “open classroom” teaching style popular at the time.
- In 1971, the high school had its highest enrollment to date at 1,595.
- In 1982, the rifle range in the basement of the building became a storage facility and Rifle Club was dropped as one of the school’s activities.
- In 1990, the high school adopted the motto: “Enter to Learn. Go Forth to Share.”
- In 2000, “block” scheduling was adopted at the high school.
- In the 2015-16 school year, a “modified block” schedule will be implemented.