Taylor Allderdice High School Turns 95

A photo of Taylor Allderdice High School on November 10, 1931.

Carnegie Museum of Art

A photo of Taylor Allderdice High School on November 10, 1931.

Pittsburgh Allderdice High School is turning 95 this year. The school has accomplished a lot throughout its time since it first opened in 1927. Despite its age, the school remains an acclaimed and popular public school in the Western Pennsylvania area.

The school first opened in 1927, its namesake was famous industrialist and one of the first PPS School Board members, Taylor Allderdice. The school was one of first populated high schools in the area at the time. 

The graduating class of 1950 had over 4,000 students. Now, our entire school population today is less than half of that entire class: 1,500. Interestingly, the school for the most part, had three guidance counselors to serve 3,000 students from the 1960s until the 1990s.

The architecture of the school was directed by Robert Maurice Trimble and he deemed the school’s structure as “classical revival.” In 1987, the gym and pool area did not exist. Instead, it was a long step walkway, based on the photo above. Students used to line up in the hundreds on the walkway to enter the building. It was seemingly slow–even with no security check! The pool used to be directly under the cafeteria and the CTE/Visual Communication rooms on the second floor comprised one large gym room, which is why those rooms take up two floors.

There have also been many long standing traditions at our school. For example, The Foreword, our student-led newspaper, has been in continuance since 1937!

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, amid a massive cheating scandal at Allderdice, the school was added to the National Register of Historic Places issued by the United States Department of the Interior. As well as in 2002, the school was designated by Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation as a historical city structure.

A photo of the front of the school, where the pool and gym exist (4th Floor Allderdice Museum Project)

Famous alumni include Mayor Bob O’Connor, Billy Porter, Curtis Martin, Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller, Will Clarke, Nathaniel Philbrick, Edgar Synder, and Judith Bartnoff. Additionally, in the entrance of the school, there is a plaque commemorating the hundreds of Allderdice alumni that entered selective military service during World War II.

Many alumni continue serving the Pittsburgh Public Schools, including Vice Principal Clifford Perkins, former Principal and current North Allegheny Superintendent Dr. Melissa Friez, District Media Director Ms. Portia Martin. As well as current teachers Dr. Slifkin, Ms. Hartz, Mr. Lee, Mr. Carey, Mrs. Price, Ms. Garnett, and Ms. Bienkowski.


The Class of 1966 Yearbook has a poem that Allderdice students would sing:

“This is TA [Taylor Allderdice]. 

This is our world— the world that we make— the world that our parents can never really know. 

We enter as children, and as we leave, we are halfway to adulthood. 

Each of us is an individual, with his own opinions, feelings, prejudices, goals, needs, and pleasures. Somehow, at the same time, each of us is only one of three thousand. 

This is our book, our image of our world, in which we have become what we are. 

Our theme is ‘us.’ This is how we spend seven hours of every day. 

This is our life at TA. This is our crowd of three thousand individuals. This is how we are.”


Through its active student body, diversity, academic opportunities, and dedicated staff, Allderdice is a school rich with Pittsburgh history.