Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Herman Ridder JHS, Bronx

Herman Ridder JHS, BronxHerman Ridder Junior High School in the Bronx was being renovated when I visited as part of the the 8th World Congress on Art Deco in 2005 so I had to be a bit creative to avoid the hoardings and scaffolding.

This photo shows the top of the multi-stepped tower including the Mayan style decorative friezes around the circular crown, the panels above the windows and the large urns on top of the square columns.

Notice also the subtle use of colour in the small marbled pink panels.

Herman Ridder JHS, BronxOne of the main features of the tower are the stylised figures flanking the windows. I presume they represent students as they could be wearing school robes and seem to be holding open books.

The school was designed by Walter C Martin and dates from 1929-31.

I remember there were some deco features inside the school building but the tiles on walls at the stairways really stood out for me.

Herman Ridder JHS, Bronx


  1. David GreenbergerMarch 5, 2014 at 12:23 PM

    JHS 98 (Hermann Ridder Junior High School) was open as a school for gifted students of grade 7-9. The school was organized as if it were a city within a city with elected officials who were the students. There was a mayor, sheriff (with deputies) a judicial system (with appointed judges) sanitation commissioner (with deputies) traffic officers and court officers. The hallways had lines down the centers and traffic circles to control the flow of the students as they went from class to class during a departmentalized academic program. The student government was very well organized with elections and campaigning. It was a true government learning experience. In 1952 the program was no longer for gifted children but for every 7th-9th grader within the schools zone. The student government continued for many years after. The classes were homogenous with a rapid advancement class for those qualifying student where they could complete the 3 years in 2. Every student had to take a home economic course as well as an industrial arts class. A music department was included in the school which was rather extensive. The school's tower was the area for this program as it was so far above the normal building so as not to hinder other academic instruction.There also was a drama program which was well funded and included many who went on to theatrical endeavors. One of which was Al Pacino (class of 1955) The rapid advancement classes pretty much went on to Bronx High School of Science, Stuyvesent High School and Brooklyn Tech. It was truly a well organized school with high standards.

    1. Thanks for this detailed information David. Sounds like an amazing school.