West Philadelphia High School

West Philadelphia High School is a secondary school located in the West Philadelphia section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the intersection of 49th Street and Chestnut Street.[3]

West Philadelphia High School
4901 Chestnut St


Coordinates39.9581°N 75.2196°W / 39.9581; -75.2196
TypePublic high school
MottoWhere Every Student Thrives!
School districtSchool District of Philadelphia
PrincipalMarla Travis
Enrollment575 (2014-15)[1]
Color(s)Orange      and Blue     
NicknameSpeedboys and Speedgirls
YearbookThe Flame
West Philadelphia High School
The "old" main building. The West facing facade of WPHS. Formerly the Boys entrance
Location4700 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Coordinates39.9555°N 75.2167°W / 39.9555; -75.2167
ArchitectHenry deCoursey Richards, Grays & Co.
MPSPhiladelphia Public Schools TR
NRHP reference #86003345[2]
Added to NRHPDecember 4, 1986


The original West Philadelphia High School (WPHS) building opened in 1912 as Philadelphia's first secondary school west of the Schuylkill, occupying an entire city block bounded by 47th Street, 48th Street, Walnut Street and Locust Street. The student population at that time was in excess of 5,500.[3] Such was the press on the new high school, which originally stood as two separate buildings for boys and girls, that the City was compelled to open Overbrook High School in 1926. A third high school, John Bartram, followed in 1935.

The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.[2]

WPHS's athletic field, which is located at 48th and Spruce Street, was formerly known as Passon Field and home to Negro League baseball in the 1930s. It was the home field of the Eastern Colored League's Philadelphia Bacharach Giants starting in 1931, and the Negro National League's Philadelphia Stars in 1934 and 1935. In 1936 the Stars moved to Penmar Park at 44th and Parkside, where they played the majority of their home games through their final season in 1952. The field is still in use by West Philadelphia High School's football and baseball teams.[4]

In September 2011 the school moved to a new building at its current building at 49th & Chestnut Streets. The new building is much smaller due to reduced enrollment at the high school.[5] As of 2016 there were plans to convert the old building into apartments.[6]

In June 2013 the school district allowed the Sustainability Workshop to take all of the space in the auto mechanic building, prompting community opposition.[7]

In November 2016, the water from some faucets at the high school was found to be discolored, and was declared unsafe by school officials the following month.[8]

Small learning communities

  • AUTO: Automotive Academy
  • B&T: Business and Technology
  • UL: Urban Leadership
  • 9: Ninth Grade Success Academy
  • CAPA: Creative & Performing Arts

Sports programs & extra curricular activities

  • Cheerleading Squad
  • Dance Club
  • Musicals
  • Choir
  • Volleyball
  • Baseball
  • Boys & Girls Basketball
  • Football
  • Track

Notable alumni

  • LeAnna Washington - Pennsylvania State Senator for the 4th district from 2005 to 2014


  1. "West Philadelphia HS". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  2. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  3. "West Philadelphia High School". The School District of Philadelphia. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  4. Healy, Paul (2003–2005). "Passon Field". Project Ballpark. Retrieved 2009-01-13.
  5. Kerkstra, Patrick (January 6, 2012). "How the fate of the old West High may be hinged to far West Philly revival". PlanPhilly. WHYY-FM. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
  6. "Old West Philadelphia High School to become apartments". WPVI-TV. February 5, 2016. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
  7. Denvir, Daniel (2013-06-14). "West Philly High auto program takeover prompts sharp criticism". Philadelphia City Paper. Archived from the original on 2016-03-25. Retrieved 2013-08-16.
  8. Grant, Kristen (December 9, 2016). "West Philly High School's water safety in doubt". Philadelphia Media Network. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
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