An interesting thing to know about
Aquila Elementary School is that it existed before it had a
building! During the 1956-'57 school year, overcrowding at the grade schools led to 366 elementary
school students occupying the south wing of the third floor
of the High School. They would be
reassigned to Aquila in the Fall. During the 1956-'57
school year, that part of the High School would be known as
Aquila School, with Bob Dougherty as Principal.
Aquila Elementary School was built in
1957 with 27 classrooms. Architects were Bissell and Blair.
900 students attended in the first year. It was designed to
fit its terrain, and had only one step at the front
entrance. Its location precluded a basement or second story,
so it was ideal of handicapped students. An addition was
built in 1967.
The name Aquila came from Mrs. Richard J. Westling, whose
husband had developed the entire neighborhood. The Westlings
had the choice of street names, but they had to fit the
guidelines of the City. For that alphabet, streets had to be
named after battles. Mrs. Westling originally wanted to name
it Aragon, but it was deemed too close to Oregon. Then she
found a book called Action at Aquila, which described a
Civil War battle where 8 men were killed. The 1938 novel was
written by Hervey Allen (who also wrote Anthony Adverse in
1933, which Warner Bros. made into a major motion picture in
1936, starring Fredric March, Olivia de Havilland, Claude
Rains, and Gale Sondergard, and directed by Mervyn LeRoy).
This information comes from a variety of sources: newspapers, books, yearbooks, phone directories, interviews, etc. Given the varied sources, we cannot guarantee that all of this information is correct, and welcome any additions and corrections. Please contact us with your contributions and comments.