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Polytechnic High School's Gynmasiums Still Standing Strong

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Public spaces change fast here in San Francisco, and for better or worse, it can be pretty crazy when you see what the City used to look like. Every week, we'll bring you Then & Now, a comparison of historic photos of the Bay Area with current views from the same perspective. Have a suggestion for a photo comparison that looks totally different (or shockingly the same)? Drop us a tip in the Curbed Inbox or leave a comment after the jump.

Quick note: See that vertical green bar in the middle of the then and now photos? You can move it horizontally to see the photos side by side.

[Then photo: SAN FRANCISCO HISTORY CENTER, SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY/ Now photo: Google Maps] Across from Kezar Stadium are a bunch of condos that face Carl Street. They're flanked by two giant Art Deco buildings that hold the San Francisco Circus Center and AcroSports, but were once home to the separate boy's and girl's gymnasiums of San Francisco Polytechnic High School.

Even though San Francisco Polytechnic High School opened in 1895, the Frederick Street building was constructed in 1911 in a Classical Revival style. It was originally two buildings, with the academic building fronting on Frederick and a "manual training and shop building" facing Carl Street. The surviving Art Deco gymnasiums were later additions to the original school.

The school was well-known for athletics, and had a fierce rivalry with Lowell High School. In fact, the Poly-Lowell city championship game in 1928 drew over 50,000 spectators to Kezar, earning it the record of highest attendance for a high school football game in Northern California.


By 1972, with dwindling enrollment, the district decided to close the school because it was not earthquake-safe. After being occupied by squatters in the 80s, the main buildings were demo'd in 1989 in to make room for new condos. The community rallied to save the boys and girls gymnasium buildings, and they now are used for the San Francisco Circus Center and AcroSports, respectively.

· Polytechnic High School [Noe Hill]
· Poly High alums seek spirit of '68 [SF Gate]
· San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury [Google Books]
· The Hotel Owners Laundry Company (HOLC) Squat: 1984 [Found SF]