By: Korral Broschinsky

The first Arlington School was originally known as the Murray Central School. The large brick school was constructed in 1899 on the hill above the 25th District School, located on the east side of State Street at approximately 5000 South. Built in 1874, the 25th District School was the first all-brick schoolhouse in the Murray area. By 1898, according to the American Eagle editorial (a predecessor to the Murray Eagle), the teachers were afraid to ring “the bell [in the 25th District School] for a long time lest the wall should shake down.”

Arlington School, photographed circa 1916. Courtesy Utah Division of State History.
Mr. Stephenson with fifth or sixth grade students inside the Murray Central School in 1903. Courtesy Murray City Museum Historic Photograph Collection.

The Murray Central School was a three-story, red brick building on a sandstone foundation. Grades one through eight attended school there. The imposing structure had twelve classrooms, a library and an office. The cost was over $25,000. The interior was completed in 1903 when the basement was needed for kindergarten classes.

After Murray City established its own school district, the school board held a contest to rename the district schools in January 1906. On the first day of February, the board chose the name Arlington for the Central School building. In 1916-1917, the school district moved the older students to the new Murray Junior and Senior High School. The district’s three schools, Arlington, Bonnyview, and Liberty, were designated as elementary schools. The 25th District schoolhouse was demolished between 1912 and 1915.

In the fall of 1938, Murray residents approved by only six votes a bond for $96,000 designated for the construction and remodeling of school buildings. The board decided to spend part of the money building a new Arlington School, which was at the time the district’s oldest building. With additional funds from the depression-era Public Works Administration (PWA) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the new Arlington School was constructed in front of the older school parallel to State Street. It was completed in late 1939 and occupied immediately following the school’s Christmas vacation.

Unknown teacher with younger students photographed outside the Arlington School in 1913. Courtesy Murray City Museum Historic Photograph Collection.
25th District School on left and the Murray Central School on right, circa 1905 postcard. Courtesy Murray City Museum Historic Photograph Collection.

The following description of the building appeared in a Murray Eagle recap of the school year, entitled 1940 Was Time of School Expansion: “The new 16 room Arlington is of two-story brick construction and is entirely fire and earthquake proof. The building contains a combined auditorium, playroom, cafeteria, reception room, 16 classrooms, and four offices for the superintendent, board of education, clerk, and principal.” The old Arlington (former Central School) was demolished by members of a National Youth Administration (NYA) project in the spring and summer of 1940.


Arlington Elementary School under construction in November 1939 with older school behind. Courtesy Salt Lake Tribune Photograph Collection.