The prettiest public high school in every state

Stadium High School Tacoma
Stadium High School/Wikimedia

Architectural Digest recently revealed its list of the most beautiful public high schools in every state in the U.S. There are many traditional buildings and a few more modern, nontraditional designs among the bunch. All are stunning in their own way.

Along with our recap of AD’s list below, we offer some of our own picks. Maybe you’ve got your own.

Alabama: Murphy High School, Mobile

Style: Spanish Revival
Claim to fame: The 28-acre campus gets its name from Samuel S. Murphy, Mobile County’s superintendent of schools from 1900-1926.
Alternate: Hewitt-Trusville High School

Alaska: Kodiak High School, Kodiak

Style: Modern
Claim to fame: The high school’s original 1950s building was updated and modernized in 2015.

Arizona: Chandler High School, Chandler

Style: Classical Revival
Claim to fame: When it was built in the 1920s, it was considered “semi-fireproof” because of the unusually low amount of wood used in its structure. Several athletic shoe and apparel companies filmed ads on campus as well.
Alternate: Phoenix Union Bioscience High School

Chandler High School
Marine 69-71/Wikimedia

Arkansas: Little Rock Central High School, Little Rock

Style: Art Deco and Collegiate Gothic
Claim to fame: The school was the site of a historic moment in southern desegregation in 1957. The American Institute of Architects also named it “America’s Most Beautiful High School” after it was built.
Alternate: Fayetteville High School

Central High School
Wolfgang Beckers/Wikimedia

California: Torrance High School, Torrance

Style: Mix of styles
Claim to fame: The filming location for “Beverly Hills, 90210,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and many other productions.
Alternate: Surprising or not, a lot of California public high schools crop up on “best of” lists for the most visually appealing high school campuses. Too many to list them all here, in fact.


Torrance High School

Colorado: East High School, Denver

Style: Jacobethan Revival
Claim to fame: The building was inspired by Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
Alternate: Denver’s North, South and West High Schools are pretty gorgeous, too.

Connecticut: Housatonic Valley Regional High School, Canaan

Style: Georgian Revival
Claim to fame: It was the first regional high school in the state, if not New England.
Alternate: Hamden High School

Delaware: Cape Henlopen High School, Lewes

Style: 1930s, classical
Claim to fame: The original ’60s/’70s-era building made way for a newer, brighter facility in 2009.
Alternate: Appoquinimink High School

Florida: Hillsborough High School, Tampa

Style: Gothic Revival
Claim to fame: When it was completed in 1928, it was among the four largest high schools in the South.
Alternate: Strawberry Crest High School

Georgia: Milton High School, Milton

Style: Modern with classical
Claim to fame: The new building opened in 2005 to accommodate a bigger student body.
Alternate: Glynn Academy

Milton High School

Hawaii: President William McKinley High School, Honolulu

Style: Spanish Revival
Claim to fame: Besides being one of the oldest school buildings in Hawaii, “Hawaii Five-O” has filmed on campus.
Alternate: Roosevelt High School

Joel Bradshaw/Wikiwand

Idaho: Boise High School, Boise

Style: Varies according to building
Claim to fame: The current school’s campus was built in several phases and thus varies in architectural style. Idaho’s first commercial radio station also broadcast from the high school.
Alternate: Pocatello High School

Boise High School

Illinois: Lake Forest High School, Lake Forest

Style: Georgian
Claim to fame: The campus looks like a residential estate, and parts of the movie “Ordinary People” were filmed there.
Alternate: Metea Valley High School

Lake Forest High School

Indiana: Shortridge High School, Indianapolis

Style: Classical Revival
Claim to fame: This is an old school with long-time progressive values. An early superintendent allowed women teachers and black students, both uncommon at the time.
Alternate: Mishawaka High School

Shortridge High School

Iowa: City High School, Iowa City

Style: Classical
Claim to fame: A Public Works Administration-built school (like many others on this list) that had multiple additions over the years.
Alternate: Abraham Lincoln High School

Iowa City High School

Kansas: Wichita East High School, Wichita

Style: Collegiate Gothic
Claim to fame: A large, 44-acre campus and signature tower.
Alternate: Sumner Academy of Arts and Sciences

Wichita East High School

Kentucky: duPont Manual High School, Louisville

Style: Gothic
Claim to fame: The real-life figure behind the main character in the movie “The Insider” taught at this high school, and parts of the movie were filmed there as well.

DuPont Manual High School photo
Flickr | local louisville

Louisiana: Neville High School, Monroe

Style: Art Deco
Claim to fame: The school finished a massive, $7.5 million renovation this year.
Alternate: Bossier High School

Maine: Deering High School, Portland

Style: Tudor Revival
Claim to fame: The current main building was completed in 1922, just a year after a fire destroyed the previous school building.
Alternate: Portland High School

Deering High School
Boston Public Library Tichnor Brothers collection/Wikimedia

Maryland: Baltimore City College, Baltimore

Style: Georgian Gothic Revival
Claim to fame: It’s not a church or a college, but it is a striking, hilltop high school campus.
Alternate: Henderson-Hopkins School (includes high school)

Baltimore City College

Massachusetts: Fairhaven High School, Fairhaven

Style: Elizabethan
Claim to fame: No public funds were needed to build this beauty, as local industrialist Henry H. Rogers paid for the entire thing.
Alternate: Monument Mountain Regional High School

Fairhaven High School

Michigan: Grosse Pointe South High School, Grosse Pointe Farms

Style: Georgian Revival
Claim to fame: Built on swampland, the original school building had to be put on floating foundations to support the weight of its marble and limestone building materials.

Grosse Pointe South High School

Minnesota: Hibbing High School, Hibbing

Style: Tudor Revival
Claim to fame: The school’s auditorium is designed to look like New York’s Capitol Theatre.
Alternate: Owatonna Senior High School

Hibbing High School

Mississippi: Columbia High School, Columbia

Style: European modernism
Claim to fame: The striking white structure was a Works Progress Administration project.

Sturmgewehr88 /Wikipedia

Missouri: Central High School, Springfield

Style: Various
Claim to fame: The original 1893 school building has been added onto and renovated over the years.
Alternate: Sumner High School

Central High School
Public Library, Spfd. MO/Wikimedia

Montana: Great Falls High School, Great Falls

Style: Collegiate Gothic
Claim to fame: It was considered cutting edge when built in the 1930s.

Great Falls High School

Nebraska: Lincoln High School, Lincoln

Style: Neoclassical
Claim to fame: “Marble elegance” that has stood the test of time since the school was built in 1915.
Alternate: Omaha Central High School

Nevada: Las Vegas Academy of the Arts, Las Vegas

Style: Art Deco
Claim to fame: Unique design elements, including nods to Aztec culture. Though, despite how unique it is, it might be torn down.

Las Vegas Academy
Matthew Ortile/Wikipedia

New Hampshire: Spaulding High School, Rochester

Style: Georgian Revival
Claim to fame: Inspired by Harvard, the high school was at one point relocated to a newer building before being returned to the historic building.
Alternate Most Beautiful Public High School: Concord High School

Spaulding High School
Ken Gallagher/Wikipedia

New Jersey: Columbia High School, Maplewood

Style: Gothic Revival
Claim to fame: Started in 1815, though this architectural beauty dates back to only 1927.
Alternate Most Beautiful Public High School: Bayonne High School

Columbia High School
Joel Weinberger / Metromoxie / Wikipedia

New Mexico: Volcano Vista High School, Albuquerque

Style: Modern
Claim to fame: One of the newer Albuquerque schools, with a $100 million price tag and environmentally friendly design.
Alternate: Clayton High School

New York: The International Preparatory School, Buffalo

Style: Colonial/Georgian Revival
Claim to fame: Once known as Grover Cleveland High School, the school is designed with rich detail.
Alternate: High School for Construction Trades, Engineering and Architecture

The International Preparatory School

North Carolina: Roanoke Rapids High School, Roanoke Rapids

Style: Gothic Revival
Claim to fame: Designed to echo the university campuses in Oxford and Cambridge, England.
Alternate: New Hanover High School

North Dakota: Grand Forks Central High School, Grand Forks

Style: Various
Claim to fame: The oldest North Dakota high school is knows as “The Grand Old Lady.”

Grand Forks Central High School
Douglas P Perkins/Wikimedia

Ohio: Withrow University High School, Cincinnati

Style: Northern and Southern colonial
Claim to fame: The school has a 114-foot clock tower and a bridge, the latter of which supporters saved from demolition in the 1980s.
Alternate: Hughes STEM High School

Withrow High School
Dale Browning/Wikipedia

Oklahoma: Will Rogers High School, Tulsa

Style: Art Deco
Claim to fame: One of the best known Art Deco buildings in the state, the high school hasn’t changed much since it was built.
Alternate: Emerson High School

Will Rogers High School
W. R. Oswald/Wikipedia

Oregon: Roosevelt High School, Portland

Style: Colonial Revival
Claim to fame: A school modernization project is finishing up for this high school built in 1921.

Roosevelt High School
Roosevelt High School/Wikipedia

Pennsylvania: Reading Senior High School, Reading

Style: Medieval
Claim to fame: Another “Castle on the Hill,” it cost a whopping $1.65 million back in 1927 when it opened.
Alternate: Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School

Reading High School
Justin Waits/Wikipedia

Rhode Island: Westerly High School, Westerly

Style: Greek Revival
Claim to fame: The school started in 1870, but the current building is from the 1930s.
Alternate: William E. Tolman Senior High School

Westerly High School
John Phelan/Wikipedia

South Carolina: York Comprehensive High School, York

Style: Contemporary classic
Claim to fame: This sprawling, 2010 high school campus was built for 2,000 students.

South Dakota: Hot Springs High School, Hot Springs

Style: Tudor Revival
Claim to fame: The school uses red sandstone, a key building material throughout the town of Hot Springs.
Alternate: Marty Indian School

Hot Springs High School
Alexander Daubert/Wikimedia

Tennessee: Montgomery Central High School, Cunningham

Style: Mid-century modern
Claim to fame: When it was built, the school had a space-age design and an innovative open class concept.
Alternate: Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet School

Montgomery High School
K. Johnson/Wikipedia

Texas: El Paso High School, El Paso

Style: Neoclassical
Claim to fame: Besides being a grand old building, this high school also has a landmark stadium.

El Paso High School

Utah: Ogden High School, Ogden

Style: Art Deco
Claim to fame: The Works Progress Administration building was the first million dollar high school, according to the Utah Heritage Foundation.
Alternate: East High School (Salt Lake City)

Ogden High School

Vermont: Peoples Academy, Morristown

Style: Neoclassical
Claim to fame: The signature building sits on a hill and was completed in 1929.

Peoples Academy
Jared and Corin/Wikipedia

Virginia: John Handley High School, Winchester

Style: Neoclassical Revival
Claim to fame: Beautiful building plus beautiful grounds designed by a famous landscape architect.
Alternate: Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


Washington: Stadium High School, Tacoma

Style: French chateau
Claim to fame: The “10 Things I Hate About You” high school is a waterfront, castle-like campus with a stadium with a view.
Alternate: Marysville Getchell High School

Stadium High School
Joe Mabel/Wikipedia

West Virginia: Parkersburg High School, Parkersburg

Style: Tudor
Claim to fame: Swampy land meant students used a boardwalk to get into school prior to area drainage.

Parkersburg High School

Wisconsin: Lincoln High School, Manitowoc

Style: Gothic
Claim to fame: The oldest existing public high school in the state has a historic tower that is now closed for safety reasons.
Alternate: Shorewood High School

Lincoln High School
Asher Heimermann/Wikipedia

Wyoming: Natrona County High School, Casper

Style: Collegiate Gothic
Claim to fame: From 1944–1955, this high school was the temporary location of Casper College.
Alternate: Roosevelt High School (old building)

Natrona County High School

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About the Author
Anna Weaver
Anna Weaver is a writer and multimedia journalist from Hawaii. Her two young kids keep her on her toes and hooked on online shopping. Anna’s also a fan of movies, reading, photography, and sharing far too many IG stories about cute dogs and capybaras.

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