Chaffey High School and Old Junior College – Ontario CA


The first building on this campus was opened as part of the Chaffey College of Agriculture in 1885. It became the Ontario High School in 1901 and the present Chaffey High School in 1911. In 1916, the Chaffey Junior College of Agriculture was added as a postgraduate department to the high school. The junior college maintained a presence on the campus until 1959 when it moved to its present location in Alta Loma. After the destructive Long Beach earthquake of 1933, first SERA and then the WPA were extensively involved with the construction of a number of buildings on the high school/junior college campus:

The old liberal arts building was replaced by the North Hall which was begun under SERA in 1935 and completed in 1937 by the WPA.

The old science building was replaced in two sections by the WPA built South Hall between 1937 and 1940.

The new auditorium was built between 1937 and 1939.

A new swimming pool was begun under SERA in 1935 and finished under the WPA in 1937.

The Chaffey Memorial Library was finished in 1935.

The south bleacher was built in 1936 by the high school. The North bleacher was completed by the Chaffey Junior College of Agriculture in 1937.

A new gym and music building were also built during the 1930s but it is not clear whether the WPA helped with those as well.

The Chaffey Junior College Library “was built as a memorial to George and Benjamin Chaffey, brothers, who were early settlers in this city and developers of it.
It contains library facilities for both the high school and junior college pupils and is situated on the campus between the two schools. It contains 13,591 square feet of floor area. The stack room, 32 by 52 feet, has a capacity of 50,000 volumes in its two stories. The reading rooms and the memorial hall above been treated acoustically.
The entire school plant has an enrollment of about 2,200 pupils. The building will accommodate 250 persons. It is constructed of reinforced concrete and designed to withstand seismic disturbances.
The project was completed in October 1935 at a construction cost of $85,137 and a project cost of $92,021.”
(Short and Stanley-Brown)


Living New Deal Research Associate Charles Swaney sent over blueprints for the various buildings that comprise the complex. These plans are below:

Aeronautics Building:
Aeronautics Building 1     Aeronautics Building 4
Aeronautics Building 2     Aeronautics Building 5
Aeronautics Building 3     Aeronautics Building 6

Girls’ Gymnasium:
Girls’ Gymnasium 1     Girls’ Gymnasium 6
Girls’ Gymnasium 2     Girls’ Gymnasium 7
Girls’ Gymnasium 3     Girls’ Gymnasium 8
Girls’ Gymnasium 4     Girls’ Gymnasium 9
Girls’ Gymnasium 5     Girls’ Gymnasium 10




Project Details

Federal Cost Local Cost Total Cost Project #'s

Source notes

History of Chaffey High School:

Connolly, Donald H. and G. I. Farman. Report of Accomplishments of the Operations Division. Works Progress Administration: Southern California. January 1, 1939. 

Short, C. W. and R. Stanley-Brown (1939) Public Buildings: Architecture Under the Public Works Administration, 1933 to 1939. United States Government Printing Office: Washington, DC.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

1245 Euclid Avenue
Ontario, CA 91762

Location notes:

Coordinates: 34.080563, -117.651315

3 comments on “Chaffey High School and Old Junior College – Ontario CA

  1. In the library at the Chaffey College campus in Alta Loma are 4 paintings that Milford Zornes did during the WPA period. they were donated to the college. I am not sure if they ever hung in the campus in Ontario or not but suspect they were. It might be their records would help us know or not. I am sure they were donated in the late 1930’s. Milford called them part of his “Postal Series”. He did the mural in the Post Office in Claremont, Calif. and one in El Campo, Texas. The paintings at Chaffey are easy to find in the library. If you want photos of the paintings they are on Chaffey’s website. Hal Baker, Zornes Art LLC

  2. My dad proposed to my mom at the Chaffey Tiger statue!

  3. jacquie leal

    I went to Chaffey High for my Senior year when I moved with my family to Ontario. Ninth through Eleventh grade I attended a much smaller school where everybody knew everybody. It took some getting used to. Sometimes it would take up to 15 minutes to get from one class to my next class. But I liked Chaffey better than my old school. Walking down the hallways, I always felt like I had gone back in time.

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