The Whittier Community Center is housed in what was originally the Whittier School, which was built in 1908 for approximately $20,000. The school had one large classroom for each grade K-6 at that time.
The Whittier School was the first school in Utah to offer kindergarten instruction and, in 1930, opened the state’s first public school library. In 1948, the much-needed addition of a kitchen, auditorium/stage, and restrooms was completed for $25,000.
Several well-known educators and administrators were associated with the Whittier School over its sixty year tenure as a public school and teacher training school. Two of the best known were Edith Bowen (head teacher 1932-1936) and Emma Eccles Jones (kindergarten teacher 1926-1936), who worked without pay for three years to help the fledgling program get off the ground.
In 1968, the Whittier School was closed as a public school by the Logan School District. It then became the Clinical Teaching Center – a day training program for intellectually-disabled children – and served in that capacity until 1974 when the program was moved to a new facility on the USU campus. From 1974-1991, the building housed a community arts center known as the Alliance for the Varied Arts.
The Whittier Community Center finally came into being in 1992 when the old school was purchased by a group of citizens from Logan School District for $51,000. By the following year, the group had obtained 501c-3 non-profit status and was hosting regular classes and events. The Whittier’s first tenants were the Cache Valley Civic Ballet and School of Ballet, Cache Aikido Club, Young Artists Guild, Girl Scouts, and the Refugee Center.
On September 25, 2000, the Whittier School building was put on the National Registry of Historic Places.
The Whittier Community Center currently serves up to 3,500 people per week who come to participate in a variety of programs. Many others bring their children to play on the disabled-inclusive playground, the construction of which was the result of the cumulative effort of a large group of volunteers in 2009.
If you haven’t already done so, you may wish to check out our tenant profiles and see if there is anything you would be interested in. You may also wish to drop by the Whittier Center for a tour of this beautiful historic building. We would love to have you.