Uintah’s Lost Shield

Many school building facades constructed a century ago displayed ornamental terra-cotta features such as an emblem showing the year the school was built aesthetically placed at the top of the building.  Such was the case with the old Uintah Elementary School which stood at 1227 South 15th East between 1915 and 1993. Chances are though that no one today under age 95 who has lived in the area or attended school there ever saw it or even knew of its existence..

Uintah Adornment Date 1915

Uintah’s Lost “1915” Architectural Ornamentation

Uintah School’s emblem was an artistically designed shield that clearly read “1915,” the year Uintah was built.  It was not located over the school’s front door facing 15th East however; but rather on top of the south wall of the school’s east wing facing 13th South, outside of the school’s auditorium located on the second floor.

Uintah Lost Adornment 1915

View of Uintah School from 13th South looking north in 1915

The school was enlarged in 1927 with a two-story addition to the south end of the east wing, adding what most of us remember being the classrooms for the Fifth and Sixth Grades.  Unfortunately, the hallway connecting that addition of classrooms to the original building permanently blocked the view of that “1915” shield beginning in 1927, or at least until one day during the summer of 1993 when the school was being torn down.

Uintah 6th grade doors

Completed 1927 Southern Addition to Uintah’s East Wing

The 1993 razing of the school started with the Fifth and Sixth Grade classrooms in the school’s southeast corner, working northward and counter-clockwise around the “U” shaped building, as evidenced in the following photo that I took myself.

Uintah Lost Adornment 1993

Uintah School razing in 1993

Had I known about the 1915 shield, I would have probably moved to a different vantage point to take a photo that may have shown it.  I attended school there between 1965 and 1972 and only very recently became aware of it when looking at the 1915 photo more closely.  The very top right corner of the terra-cotta emblem background can be seen in this demolition photo.   In the school’s 78 years of existence, that ornamental shield was seen only during Uintah’s first 12 years plus perhaps just one day during the summer of 1993 before being reduced to a pile of rubble.

Sadly, this is just another instance where Yalecrest has lost a piece of its history, only this loss came very early.  Gone essentially 90 years, it’s as if that emblem giving Uintah its place in time never existed at all.

Kim Childs


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