Dorchester High Schools

High Schools

In 1850 the subject of a high school was again agitated, –this time with more success. One hundred and eighty-three tax-payers of the town signed a petition asking the school committee ‘to recommend to the town the immediate establishment of a high school.’ This petition was discussed and reflected upon for two years, when action was finally taken. The sum of six thousand dollars was appropriated with which to erect a building, the location selected being on the School Pasture property, on the westerly side of South Boston and Dorchester turnpike, a little north of Centre Street. This spot was selected as being the most central position. Note that Dorchester Old and New says that the high school was established in a building on Dorchester Avenue at Gibson Street. Later a much larger building on Dorchester Avenue at Center Street was occupied. The picture at the upper right of this age is presumably the building at Gibson Street.

No. 3219 First High School

The school was organized in December, 1852, with a membership of fifty-nine pupils of both sexes, representing the Everett, Mather, Adams, Gibson, Winthrop, Norfolk, and private schools. The first principal was William J. Rolfe, the present Shakespearean authority, who held the position for four years. Mr. Rolfe’s successor was Jonathan Kimball, who remained for nine years. Elbridge Smith, the third master, was in charge of the school for the long period of twenty-four years, during which time he established a reputation which was second to that of no other Dorchester teacher. The present [1891 ] incumbent is Charles J. Lincoln, who was Mr. Smith’s immediate successor.”


Second High School

Picture 12045
Boston. Annual Report of the School Committee of the City of Boston. 1888. (Boston, 1889), 50.

Dorchester High School.–This school was established in 1852.  Before the annexation of the town to Boston, the accommodations of the old schoolhouse were insufficient to meet the increased demands of the school, and a new building was in process of erection oat the time of annexation.  The new building [at the corner of Centre Street] was completed and occupied in September, 1870.



No. 12045 Second High School

The second high school, which was located at the corner of Dorchester Avenue and Centre Street, was used as the high school until the high school building that was later known as the Latin School was constructed at Codman Square in 1900. After that time the older building was used as a school for lower grades. This School was named the Elbridge Smith School for the third master of the high school who served 24 years. It was replaced by the Patrick O’Hearn School in 1957.










The third high school building is located at the corner of Talbot Avenue and Centre Street. Designed by Hartwell, Richardson and Driver and built in 1900, it later became Dorchester High School for Girls, later Girls’ Latin School, later Boston Latin Academy and now Latin Academy Apartments.

No. 219 Third High School


Dorchester High School for Boys


Around 1920 or soon thereafter, the City of Boston built the High School for Boys at the end of Peacevale Road where it meets Wentworth Terrace behind Roberts Playground. That left the yellow brick Dorchester High School building at Codman Square as a high school for girls.






Dorchester High School for Boys

No. 593 Dorchester High School for Boys

At the end of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st, this building was called Dorchester High School. About 2008 or 2009, it became TechBoston Academy, a small pilot school with 780 students in grades 6-12, offering a college preparatory curriculum with technology focus and interdisciplinary, project-based learning

President Barack Obama visited the school in 2011.








Source: Orcutt, William Dana. Good Old Dorchester: A Narrative History of the Town, 1630-1893. Cambridge: The University Press, 1908 [c.1893]



Posted on

March 17, 2023

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