History of our Facility
1770 Main Street, San Diego, California 92113-1026
(3.36 acres on the current site)
Recently we received a package from a school in Russia. Some of the students in our upper grade classrooms had written letters to students in a school in Russia. In the package that the school sent us there were several books, some letters to our students, pictures, and a history of their region and school. I invite all parents to see the items on display in the office.
I believe that it is important to become familiar with the history of your community. This is a short history of Perkins Elementary:
In 1905 "James Russell Lowell School" opened on the Southwest corner of 17th and Market Streets. It closed twenty years later in 1925. During World War II a new elementary school was built on the corner of Newton and Beardsley Street. This school opened in September 1942 and it was named "Lowell Elementary School." It was named in memory of the old school that was abandoned in 1925.
Many people have asked who James Russell Lowell was. Mr. Lowell was a poet from Massachusetts. He was born in 1819 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He received a law degree from Harvard but dedicated himself to literary works. It was noted that he was against slavery. He became a professor at Harvard and was an ambassador to Spain. He died in 1891. This school was originally named for this distinguished statesman. From 1942 through 1992 our school was known as Lowell Elementary School. Many people who return to San Diego after many years out of the city come by looking for Lowell Elementary and are surprised to learn that in 1992 it was renamed Perkins. Who was Grace W. Perkins and why was the school renamed after her?
Mrs. Perkins was the principal at Lowell Elementary during 1968-1972. A picture of her is in the school office. She was a very popular and effective principal who was dedicated to the Barrio Logan community. She went on to become an assistant superintendent in San Diego City Schools. She was an unwavering advocate for the students and families of the community. She was an extremely strong and intelligent woman who earned the respect and admiration of all who had the opportunity to work with her. Mrs. Perkins is survived by her daughter who currently lives in New York.
A junkyard was located where the middle school classrooms are currently operating. Mr. Richard Camacho, a retired, employee of Lowell remembers that during recess students used to kick balls into the junkyard and he would go and look for the balls amongst the old cars. The school only covered half the block back then. The other half was occupied by the junkyard. The original school buildings existed from 1942 until 1958. At that time the school was shut down for reconstruction and students were temporarily transported to Emerson Elementary. In the picture from 1960 you can see the new fa