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
For over 70 years, the school has
served students in the Sacramento area. Many local,
state, national, and international figures graduated
from CKM (see
Distinguished Alumni). Currently, approximately
2,000 students attend the school.
In 2002, the school was officially
listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Old and the New for more about the history of
the school and its library.