Landmarks Votes to Designate Samuel Gompers Industrial High School as Individual Landmark

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

On December 6, 2022, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to designate the Samuel Gompers Industrial High School as an individual landmark. The school, located at 455 Southern Boulevard in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx, was the City’s first vocational high school and is one of the City’s most distinctive public school buildings. For CityLand’s prior coverage, click here.

The high school was designed in the mid-1920s by William H. Gompert and Walter C. Martin and finished construction in 1932. The building features both Medieval Revival and Art deco styles with arcaded brick facades and two ornamented towers. The building’s two towers and center courtyard are reminiscent of a fort or castle. The building features various limestone and terracotta reliefs that depict various trades including architecture, drafting, mechanics, science, electricity, motors, aviation, and woodwork. Two bronze reliefs celebrate heroic workers in front of an industrial skyline. The school is named after Samuel Gompers, the first president of the American Federation of Labor and a leader of the labor and workers’ rights movement in the United States. 

The school offered instruction in a variety of trades, and included forge, milling and an auto shop. Samuel Gompers Industrial High School closed in 2012, but three schools currently occupy the building today: Mott Haven Community High School, Health Education and Research Occupations High School and New Visions Charter High School for the Humanities II.

Landmarks voted unanimously to designate the school as an individual landmark. 

Landmarks Chair Sarah Carroll stated, “The Samuel Gompers Industrial High School is a significant landmark in the Bronx, where Landmarks Preservation Commission staff has been working on a comprehensive survey. The building is incredibly striking – up close and from a distance – and has a fascinating history as a technical high school focused on electricity and trades associated with it, including lighting up Broadway’s ‘Great White Way’.”

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, December 6, 2022).



2 thoughts on “Landmarks Votes to Designate Samuel Gompers Industrial High School as Individual Landmark

  1. I am the last elected President of the Samuel Gompers V & T Alumni Association. I Graduated in June 1966.
    I have many memorabilia pieces from the school.

    Samuel Gompers was not the first trade school in NYC.
    The first trade school is located on Mott Street mid block between Houston and Prince. On the East side of the street. The building still stands and has been converted to apartments.
    Feel free to contact me on any thing related to Samuel Gompers High School.
    Stay safe
    John W. Hyland

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