Opened in 1915, George Washington Junior High became one of the first junior high schools
in Florida and one of the first two middle schools in the nation.
The two Tampa schools were dubbed "twin" schools because of their identical architecture.
Over time, George Washington Junior High became better known than Woodrow Wilson Junior High.
As George Washington Junior High served the oldest communities of Tampa,
including VM Ybor, Tampa Heights, Seminole Heights, Jackson Heights, Arlington Heights,
and Riverside Heights, and it's student population grew.
The school was located in the V.M. Ybor neighborhood, north of downtown Tampa.
And, within several decades George Washington Junior High became overcrowded,
forcing the school to move into the larger, and abandoned, former
Hillsborough High School building on N. Highland Ave, in 1966!
George Washington Junior High School closed it's doors for good, at the Highland Ave. location, in 1979.
Although, the old HHS building on N. Highland Ave remained in use as an adult learning center until 1998.
Since then, the Highland Ave school building has remained in use by Hillsborough County,
and a small George Washington Junior High School showcase is on display in the school's library,
along with separate Hillsborough High and Jefferson High museum displays.
Jefferson High was founded at the Highland Ave facility, after Hillsborough High abandoned the location
to move into it's current home on N. Central Ave, in 1928! Jefferson High occupied the old school building until 1966.
George Washington Junior High moved into the old Highland Ave. building, due to overcrowding at it's original building
located on E. Columbus Dr., just after the building had been abandoned by Jefferson High.
In 2001, the Hillsborough County School District sold the abandoned, E. Columbus Dr.,
George Washington Junior High building to the FDOT in 2001 for $380,000.
In August of 2004, the original 1915 George Washington Junior High School building was finally demolished,
to make way for I-4 expansion, despite public out cry, and to the dismay of many of the schools alums.
The three-story, red-brick building on E Columbus Dr. sat in the path of the expansion of Interstates 4 and 275.
Some community members sought to save the 1915 structure but were unsuccessful.
Cost estimates of moving and renovating the large building ranged from $1-million to $30-million.
Salvageable structural materials and architectural pieces where removed from the school to be used to improve
the aging Woodrow Wilson building, located in the wealthier Hyde Park suburb.
HARTline used some of the bricks and archetectural accents to erect a nearby bus shelter
on the northeast corner of the original Washington school site. HARTline, mounted a plague dedicating the bus stop.
And, any leftover bricks were kept to be used for local projects through the city of Tampa.
Since 1979, many new public middle schools and elementary schools have been erected,
named, and opened for business in Hillsborough County, and yet,
not one has been chosen to bare the name of this nation's 1st President "George Washington",
or named in honor, or to preserve the legacy and tradition of one of Tampa's two oldest middle school's!
IT'S THE HOPE OF GENERATIONS OF TAMPANS, WHO ATTENDED GWJHS, THAT ONE DAY ANOTHER MIDDLE
SCHOOL IN HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY WILL PROUDLY BARE THE NAME "GEORGE WASHINGTON" AND THAT IT WILL
ON THE "TIGER SPIRIT!"