By: Korral Broschinsky


The new Arlington Elementary School was completed in January 1940. In the four decades between 1940 and its closing in 1981, the school was a crucial resource during the postwar suburban housing boom that brought thousands of school-age children to Murray schools. The $100,000 building was the largest unit in the school district’s W.P.A. expansion program. According to an article in the Murray Eagle published January 11, 1940: “The building throughout has been constructed along modern lines for scientific comfort and efficiency. It is fireproof and earthquake-proof. One of the outstanding features is the ample supply of light, provided by numerous windows.” The old Arlington School was demolished by members of a National Youth Administration (NYA) project starting in the spring and completed in the winter of 1940.


Arlington Elementary in April 1940 with the old Arlington School being dismantled behind. Courtesy "Salt Lake Tribune" Photograph Collection.


Second-Grade Class in Arlington Elementary in 1952. Courtesy Murray City Museum Historic Photograph Collection.


The new Arlington School was vastly different from its predecessor. The style of the building was a modest nod to Art Deco style, but typically restrained as were most depression-era projects. The architectural firm of Scott & Welch designed the building. The partnership of Carl W. Scott and George W. Welch began in 1915 and ended 1939, the year they designed the Arlington School. In addition to numerous schools throughout the Intermountain West, the firm designed the Salt Lake Elks Club and the Masonic Temple in Salt Lake City. The Enoch Chytraus Company served as general contractor.

The newly completed building attracted attention, including two teenage boys from Provo, who broke into the school on February 23, 1940, and stole $5.31 from several teachers’ desks. They were caught two months later and the Murray School Board decided to give the boys employment to pay for damages at Arlington rather than press charges. In news of national importance, in April 1954, the Arlington Elementary School was one of 38 Utah schools chosen for a nationwide trial of polio vaccines for healthy students in the first, second, and third grades. Pressed by burgeoning enrollment, in January 1949, a four-classroom addition was built at the north end of Arlington.


Sixth-Grade Class in Arlington Elementary in 1956-1957. Courtesy Murray City Museum Historic Photograph Collection.

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Mr. William F. Robinson teaching Christmas carols to students at Arlington Elementary School in 1959. Courtesy Murray City Museum Historic Photograph Collection.

The new classrooms were described by the Murray Eagle as a definite “improvement over other rooms” with details such as rubber tile floors, acoustic tile ceilings, and pastel green walls. Each room had built-in bookcases, storage lockers, workbenches, and a sink. The kindergarten classes were moved into the new rooms on the lower level and the sixth grade was given the upper rooms. At the time, Murray was one of the first districts in Utah with a full-time winter kindergarten. A new cafeteria/multi-purpose room addition was built at the south end of the building in 1966. As a result, the former lunchroom was remodeled into a new library complete with speech therapy and audio-visual aid rooms.


Students at Arlington Elementary participating in a nationwide trial for the polio vaccine in April 1954. Courtesy “Salt Lake Tribune” Photograph Collection