Copyright © 2015-2017 Abraham Lincoln High School Alumni Association, P.O. Box 11102, Philadelphia, PA 19136
Bob Oberg, former Lincoln Vice-Principal (and a past president of our Alumni Association), shared this info about the signal lights:
The hallway lights were used to signal various folks to contact the office.
My lights were red, green and amber. I think security lights were amber.
All lights flashing indicated some sort of "emergency."
Other folks included other VP's, custodian, nurse, department heads, etc.
Once pagers became in vogue, the lights were relied on less and less, and almost never used after we had walkie-talkies.
Any rumor of them controlling traffic in the halls was a Lincoln urban myth.
Thanks to Alumni Association VP and our resident craftsman Joe Nonemaker for executing this amazing model of our old school.
(Click to enlarge)
The “old” Abraham Lincoln High School was built in 1948 on the grounds of the old Oxford and Lower Dublin Poorhouse, which was situated at Rowland and Ryan Avenues.
This location was in the heart of a new community called "Mayfair," situated along Frankford Avenue, north of Bridge Street and south of Holmesburg.
During the 1930s, Mayfair experienced considerable population growth which soon required construction of another school, and members of the Mayfair community successfully pressured the School Board to build a school in their community. Prior to this, older Mayfair children had to travel miles to attend either Northeast High School or Frankford High School.
Originally, the school was to be named “Mayfair High School.” However, other communities in surrounding areas objected to this name and so the school was given the name "Abraham Lincoln High School." The new Abraham Lincoln High School opened in 1950 under the guidance of Principal Charles H. Williams. Mr. Williams retired in 1970 on the 20th anniversary of the school.
The school building was designed so that it could be turned into a hospital in the event of national disaster with ramps between the first and second floors. Students were privileged to experience academic, industrial, fine arts, and commercial education, as well as homemaking. Fully equipped classes and shops included the machines and tooling necessary for mechanics, woodworking, metal working, artistry, and homemaking. In 1958, an athletic annex was completed on the grounds adjacent to the original building, and a swimming pool was added in the 1970s.
In 2002, Abraham Lincoln was transformed into an All Academies High School. Students who wished to continue in traditional industrial, vocational, and arts curricula transferred to Swenson High School of Arts and Technology. The original six academies created in the school were: Business, Environmental, Horticulture, Law, Technology, and Fine and Performing Arts. During this period, the School District of Philadelphia also decided that the original Lincoln High School had become dilapidated and that deteriorating asbestos posed a serious health issue. Construction on a new school began in 2007.
The "new" Lincoln High School opened in 2009 and was dedicated January 26, 2010. It is approximately 248,000 square feet and is designed to accommodate approximately 1800 students.
The new school has state-of-the-art facilities and has restored its organizational and educational principle as an “All Academies” school. The building is air conditioned with a full service cafeteria, an excellent auditorium with a modern sound system, classrooms that are airy and pleasant, and three court yards that are reminiscent of the original building. All students at Lincoln are assigned to Small Learning Communities (SLC). Students entering ALHS start in the Grade Nine Success SLC. In their sophomore year they select from one of the following thematic SLC’s: Horticulture/ Fine and Performing Arts (HOFA), Law, Business, and Bio/Health and Environmental Technology (BET).
Abraham Lincoln HS is supported by Philadelphia Academies, Inc., a non-profit organization that supports career or thematic programs in public schools in Philadelphia.
Our thanks to Paula Miller, Lincoln Physics Teacher and Yearbook Sponsor for providing the information about the poorhouse, and to Joe Nonemaker, Class of '57, for his photography.