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San Diego High School Collection

Identifier: MS-0212

Scope and Contents

The San Diego High School Collection dates from 1901-1982. It consists mostly of paper records. Included in this collection are copies of the school's early yearbooks, The Russ Annual, and its successor, The Gray Castle as well as copies of the school's Homecoming programs from the 1920s to the early 1980s. Also included are two pieces of rock from the Old Gray Castle building dated 1906-1976 mounted on wood pedestals to celebrate the school's 70th Anniversary.


  • Creation: 1901-1982


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in some or all of these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creator(s) of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of archival collections is such that multiple creators are often applicable and copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. In any case, the user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, obtaining publication rights and copyright infringement. When requesting images from Special Collections & University Archives for publication, we require a signed agreement waiving San Diego State University of any liability in the event of a copyright violation.

Historical Note

San Diego High School began as the Russ School in 1882. Named for the founder of a local lumber firm, Joseph Russ donated all of the initial lumber used to build the school. The original building, designed by the Stewart Brothers and built by Brown and Stevens, was two stories tall and had eight classrooms. The school opened on August 14, 1882 as a grammar school with an initial enrollment of 308 students—32 more than they had chairs for.

In 1893, the school was given over completely to high school classes. As the city's population continued to grow and the school became over crowded, architect F.S. Allen was commissioned to design a new building. His design would come to be known as the "Castle" due to the gray stone used to complete the castle-like structure. The new school, now officially known as San Diego High School, was dedicated on April 13, 1907. The old Russ building was moved to the canyon behind the new school when, due to many years of neglect, it burned to the ground in 1911.

The Castle would continue to expand over the years, adding a new addition in 1912, a stadium in 1915 and an auditorium in 1926. However, due to the passage of the Field Act in the 1960s, all school buildings constructed prior to 1933 had to be demolished. In 1970, the firm of George Wheeler and Associates was contracted to design the new San Diego High School. The new school was completed and occupied in September of 1977.


2.50 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

1983-006, 1989-009, 2017

San Diego High School Collection
Jennifer Hollander
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego CA 92182-8050 US