Historic Neon Sign Replica Lit at San Diego High School

A special lighting ceremony will be held Sept. 16 at San Diego High School

San Diego’s oldest high school shined Wednesday evening when a replica of a historic neon sign was lit more than 40 years after the original sign was put up over the campus.

The San Diego High School Alumni Association held a special lighting ceremony at San Diego High School (SDHS) located at 1405 Park Blvd., at the edge of downtown San Diego.

The association, using grant funding from the County of San Diego, recently restored some original letters that once adorned the entrance of the school’s historic brick building widely known by locals as the “Grey Castle,” referring to the towers that flanked it. The association also built a replica lighted sign for the rooftop at the school’s entrance.

SDHS – the oldest high school in the San Diego Unified School District – was demolished in 1974 and rebuilt to comply with earthquake safety standards. Now, part of the school’s original historical façade returned with the relighting of the original letters and replica neon sign.

"Back in 1937, the old Grey Castle was adorned with the letters SDHS that illuminated the night with blue neon. The letters could be seen among the lights of the then-skyline of San Diego," said SDHS Alumni President Eddie Head II.

The ceremony was attended by County Supervisor Ron Roberts, as well as school district leaders, school officials and SDHS alumni, including San Diego City Councilman David Alvarez.

SDHS is currently home to a diverse population of approximately 3,000 students. Besides being the oldest school in the county, it’s also home to Balboa Stadium, the site where the Chargers played in the early 1960s when the team first moved to San Diego.

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