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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Redwood High: 1958

Redwood High: 1958

1958. My dog Missie catches the eye of a passing cheerleader at Redwood High School in Larkspur, California, the year it opened. Notable alumni in addition to your humble correspondent (Class of '64) include Robin Williams and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. My brother's Ektachrome slide. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

San Rafael

I graduated from San Rafael in '62 and married a Redwood grad (Class of '66) when I got home from Vietnam. Neither was a great experience. I first lived in Santa Venetia then moved right across the street from the SRHS tennis courts. Left Marin in '68 -- got way too expensive and crowded.

Have enjoyed your Marin photos though. It was a great place to live in the early 60s. And, I assume, before that.

Redwood High

My entire family of five kids spent their high school years going here. From around 1962 to 1974. It's great to see the school just before it opened up for classes for the first time. You can see the hole in the roof of the entrance where they have yet to put in the flagpole. They recently did a facelift on the building, but it does not really hide the original construction.

I live about a half a mile from there still, and walk the dog there often.

Lucky me.

Oh, and Robin Williams and Pete Carrol (USC) went to this school.

As always

Dogs are babe magnets.

I have looked at this photo

I have looked at this photo many times in the last year - I think it is one of the most perfect evocations of California life in the 1950s I have seem. The gods were smiling on your brother that afternoon.

Redwood High

I remember Redwood High very well. I went to Tamalpais High, Class of 1954. What are the odds I wonder for me to find this website? Never been here or knew it existed. I was just surfing through the web and was sure I was suffering a flashback or something. And yes, that is the fifties alright. And California stays ahead of the rest of the U.S. for some reason. Diversity perhaps?

Building Design

It is interesting that when I saw this picture, I thought "what a cool modernist building" ... then I clicked on the comments to read that many didn't like it.

Rah Rah

Miss Cheerleader looks like she came out of one of those 1980s high school movies -- "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," or maybe "Grease" except for the hot pants. California must have been before its time even then.

'58 Model

Cheerleaders in 1958 were built right.

Barefoot in the Parking Lot

This wasn't a school day; in fact, it was a month before the school opened for its first day of classes. The cheerleaders were practicing in the parking lot, possibly for opening ceremonies.


Crazy to see a girl walking barefoot at school! Never saw girls this in my school days.

Class of '98

Holy crap! I went there!!! I check this blog daily! This really trips me out!

Re: Dennis's Daughter I silently admonish myself, "Be a reader..."

Dennis's Daughter

Yes, I was referring to Dennis Hopper's daughter, not Dennis Hopper - as in, "the children of the following people: ..."

East Coast

I grew up on the East Coast in Lexington, MA. Our high school was based on school designs in California and has a passing resemblance to the picture above. The biggest problem was that there were several separate buildings connected with an open overhang. Something that might have been good for California, but not good for New England weather!

Redwood Ramblings

Yes, Redwood's resemblance to San Quentin (just a couple miles due east) was definitely a common joke among the student body from the beginning. Originally, its starkness was offset a little by some Bauhaus-like design elements that unfortunately have not been maintained. The window-walls at the end of corridors in the classroom building were made up of varicolored glass panes, and the outer walls under the roof arches of the gym were broken up into panels of various pastel shades - sort of Mondrian lite. Now that's all been painted over with a bland margarine color.

As with all of our pre-1962 Ektachromes, this one has gotten red. I generally rely on the auto-color correction functions of Epson scanning software and/or Photoshop Elements to get me in the ballpark - they're both a lot better at that than previously - then I start tweaking. A big challenge in scanning transparencies, both negative and positive, is managing shadows and highlights. I don't have quite the knack for that that ShorpyLabs has, or maybe my Elements version of the filter is dumbed down, but whatever it is, more often than not they've been improved by the time you see them here.

Dennis Hopper

Uh, Dennis Hopper went to Helix High in La Mesa, Southern California, graduating in 1955 - the year I was born. I graduated from Helix in 1973.

[Or was the commenter referring to Dennis Hopper's kids. - Dave]


Bow wow WOW! So who is this girl. After making friends with Missie did she make friends with you?

Redwood Alum

I also went to Redwood and wow! It is really cool to see it back then. We all thought it was such a horridly ugly school, but looking at it pristine like this makes me appreciate it more. It's got a bit of the midcentury modern going on!

Some other (lesser) notables who went there: the children of Jefferson Airplane, Dennis Hopper, and Joe Eszterhas.

Redwood, more like Deadwood!

Ah Redwood, home to a summer school session or two. It was often rumored (spread no doubt by those of us who attended rival Tamalpais) that the school was designed by the same person who designed nearby San Quentin.

Your beautiful restorations

Either your brother's slides were stored under immaculate conditions in temperature controlled vaults, or you are doing an ace job of photoshopping them back to life. I very much appreciate your loving care in restoring these Ektachromes and am highly enjoying the results. More!

Really enjoying your photography

Wondering where your website is to see more of your photography. The stuff from the 60s and 70s is particularly interesting to me - just before my generation (born in '79), but it's really striking to see well done non-fictional photos from the same era as movies I love by Woody Allen et al. Keep on postin'!


Gavin Newsom

Gavin Newsom "notable"? Try "notorious."

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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