A photo postcard of Van Nuys Grammar School, built in 1912, was enough to spark another road trip. What had taken its place? A quick internet search proved fruitful. The LAUSD website included an early history of the school. Click HERE to read the history that was written by Oletha Sterns, the school’s principal from 1924 to 1953. When she became principal children were bussed in from five miles in every direction! Be sure to check out her explanation of why the eucalyptus grew so tall, and also the “highly anticipated joy” that every A6 class looked forward to in the early years.
According to Sterns, the 1912 grammar school was demolished following the 1933 earthquake. Thanks to the Los Angeles Public Library, patrons are able to access the historical Los Angeles Times archive via their ProQuest database. An August 11, 1912 article in the Times featured a photo of the cornerstone being laid for the $50,000 grammar school. Sterns mentioned that the original school’s cornerstone was inset into the rebuilt school in 1935. So I took a trip out to the ‘new’ Van Nuys Elementary School at 6464 Sylmar Avenue. The cornerstone, to the left of the front entrance was easy to find.
As an added bonus: Don’t miss the beautiful old and gnarled Australian Tea Tree, or Leptospermum, in front of the school. It is right at the corner of Sylmar & Gilmore. If you’re lucky it may still be in bloom!