Harry Lee Howe’s career in Glendale, from 1907 to 1938, reflects the early years of the city’s educational system — the years during which the population of Glendale grew rapidly and the schools burst at the seams.
Born in 1875 in Indiana, Howe attended Michigan’s Albion College and served as principal of two schools in that state before he and his wife, Pearl Blackman Howe, moved to Glendale in the early 1900s to explore real estate possibilities.
In 1907, he was hired as vice principal of Glendale High.
This school had only opened six years earlier, in 1901, in the former Glendale Hotel, on what was then Fourth Street and is now Broadway. A brand-new school building opened the next year, in 1902, at the corner of Brand Boulevard and Broadway, with 28 students.
By the time Howe was hired, enrollment had grown again and a larger school was necessary.
Union High School opened on Harvard Street in 1909, with an enrollment of 150, according to the April 13, 2002, edition of the Glendale News-Press.
In 1920, the Coachella Valley beckoned. Howe served as principal of Coachella Union High School for nine years. He and his wife purchased a date farm and also grew grapes. They returned to Glendale in 1929.
Glendale had grown rapidly during their absence and a new high school had been constructed in the northwest. Hoover High, named for the country’s newly inaugurated president, opened in 1929, with Howe as head of the social science department.
Three years later, he transferred to Theodore Roosevelt Junior High, which had opened in 1922 as Glendale Avenue School for seventh- and eighth-graders, according to the school’s website.
After several changes, the school began serving ninth-graders in September 1933, with new principal Howe.
The couple was also active at Glendale Presbyterian Church. It had been organized in 1884 in Tropico, where the congregation built a small sanctuary.
It was moved to Fourth and C streets (now Broadway and Cedar Street) four years later.
By the time the Howes arrived in town, the congregation had grown so large that a bigger church was necessary. It was completed in 1912, according to the Feb. 9, 2002, edition of the News-Press.
Howe was also a member of the Unity Masonic Lodge, organized in 1905 by Glendale High principal George U. Moyse, along with Frank E. Albright. It was the first such lodge in this city.
A house on Hillcroft Road, built by a man named Thompson, became their new home.
“Our family was the first to live there,” wrote Jamie Nichols, who, via a series of emails, outlined her grandfather’s career.
Their first child, James, born in 1921, was the first baby boy born at the then Glendale Sanitarium/Hospital, according to Nichols.
James Howe and his sister, Edith Adele, both attended local public schools.
In 1938, Harry Lee Howe, still principal at Roosevelt, fell ill. After several weeks, he was hospitalized but died shortly thereafter.
Fellow administrators served as pallbearers at the service in the Howe home. Commencement ceremonies for Roosevelt’s summer graduates were held later that day as scheduled, according to his undated obituary sent by Nichols.
His resting place is in the oldest section of Glendale Forest Lawn, she added.
James Howe attended Stanford and joined the Army Air Corps during World War II. He was sent on a secret mission to Oakridge, Tenn., where he met a fellow worker, Loralie Dearinger.
They married in 1945 and moved to Glendale in 1948. They met working on the top-secret Manhattan Project, Nichols said.
Edith Adele Howe attended UCLA and married Harold McGlynn, an executive with Pacific Bell Telephone, in the living room of the house on Hillcroft Road.
Pearl Howe died in 1961 and was laid to rest next to her husband. The family lived in the Hillcroft home until the mid-1960s. It is now on the Glendale Register of Historic Resources, according to Nichols.
Nichols and her sister, Susan, attended local schools.
“I love Glendale and the rich history embedded in the architecture. I have produced many professional dance events at the Alex Theatre and every time I walk in, I feel my family’s presence — they attended the opening,” she said.
Since 2016, Nichols has curated the dance series at the Brand Library and Art Center.
“I love driving up the hill to a place my grandparents visited as guests of the Brand family,” she said. “I’m deeply committed to giving back to the community I grew up in and where my family began.”
To the Readers:
Joe Wilke recalls watching a crew digging up palm trees on a Glendale street in the summer of 1967 and putting them on a truck. He heard that the trees were planted on the grounds of Dodger Stadium. Readers, Joe and I would love to hear more about this.