Ottawa Hills History


On April 30, 1923 the Grand Rapids Board of Education voted to purchase two city blocks, about 6 acres (24,000 m2) of land, between Alexander Road and Iroquois and Cadillac Drives in Grand Rapids for $28,000. The original location for Ottawa Hills High School was to be built on this land, which was in the center of the new Ottawa Hills neighborhood being built on the former site of a golf course; the name was stipulated in the deed to the property. The original address of the school was 1900 Iroquois Drive, S.E., Grand Rapids.

The building was started in 1924 and was finished the next spring. To carry out the Indian theme suggested by the name of the school, designs taken from Indian pottery, blankets, and rugs were used in a border about the main entrance, and directly above the door was an Indian head, which was later adopted as the symbol of the school.

In September, 1925, the doors of Ottawa Hills High School opened to about 650 students and thirty teachers under the direction of the first principal, Henry D. MacNaughton. Many of the teachers came from Strong Junior High School, where they had taught with Mr. MacNaughton. The Students came primarily from Central and South High Schools. Grades 7-1 to 10-2 were included.

In 1931 the elementary wing was added to the building, two floors being used by the elementary grades, and a third floor by the high school. In 1939-1940 the high school enrollment had reached 1,801, and the crowding increased as the elementary grades took over some of the rooms on the third floor. The congestion continued until 1953, when Mulick Park Elementary School opened, and the Ottawa Hills High School regained some of the much needed space.


No songs from our era about Iroquois...Had to go with Paul Revere and the Raiders below......