Landmarks Calendars Samuel Gompers Industrial HS Campus for Individual Landmark

Samuel Gompers Industrial High School building. Image Credit: LPC.

The school was the first vocational high school in New York City. On September 20, 2022, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to calendar the Samuel Gompers Industrial High School for consideration as an individual landmark. The school, located at 455 Southern Boulevard between East 145th to East 147th Streets in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx, is a well preserved example of the Medieval Revival style.

The building was designed between 1923 to 1928 by William H. Gompert, the chief architect and Superintendent of Buildings for the Board of Education. Walter C. Martin, Gompert’s successor, modified the original design in 1930, changing the planned red brick to brown and adding Art Deco reliefs and features. The school was constructed between 1931 to 1933. The building is in the Medieval Revival style. The facades feature light and dark brown brick trimmed with limestone. The front of the building features two six-story towers with arched windows and terracotta reliefs that look reminiscent of a castle or fort. 

The building, which was the city’s first vocational high school, is named after Samuel Gompers, the first president of the American Federation of Labor, which would eventually become the largest federation of labor unions in the country. When constructed, the building featured auto, milling, and forge shops, and had classrooms for electric light and power and auto transmission. The building features panels and reliefs depicting skilled labor.   

The high school began admitting girls in the early 1980s. Samuel Gompers Industrial High School closed in 2012. The building now operates as an educational campus home to three schools: Mott Haven Community High School, Health Education and Research Occupations High School and New Visions Charter High School for the Humanities II. 

The proposed landmark site does not include the school’s parking lot on the northern end of the site. 

Vice Chair Frederick Bland stated, “My jaw is dropping. I wonder how many of these kinds of extraordinary buildings are out there beyond our reach. It’s extraordinary to see this relatively intact status.” Vice Chair Bland asked about the towers and if they were included in the design as a function in relation to electricity, but the towers were part of the design since 1925, before the Board of Education had determined the building would be used as a vocational school that taught about electric lights. 

Chair Sarah Carroll stated, “the Research Department has done a fairly extensive study or survey of school buildings throughout the city and [this building] was an absolute standout.” According to Chair Carroll, the school was prioritized after being identified in two different landmark studies and surveys of schools across the city and buildings across each of the council districts in the Bronx. 

Landmarks unanimously voted to calendar the school. A public hearing will be held at a later date. 

By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018).

LPC: Samuel Gompers Industrial High School (LP-2666, September 20, 2022).

One thought on “Landmarks Calendars Samuel Gompers Industrial HS Campus for Individual Landmark

  1. It’s great to know that there are places where the Landmarks Preservation Commission has found and feel they should be landmarked,

    But not FAIR to let people think it’s to their advantage to do so.

    Also, the expense to keep it as it is. When it deteriorates the money, it will cost to fix and keep the landmark is EXPENSIVE.

    Teach the people what it means to landmark and tell them about the upkeeping that has to happen and the money it will take first.

    Deceit is worst . All will fail with the unknown.

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