History of Edison School

Edison School, as it was originally known, was built in 1890 to accommodate the burgeoning population of Highlands, which was later annexed to Denver. It is interesting that the school was named after a contemporary inventor, only forty-three years old at the time, whose formal education ended at the age of twelve. Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) was an American inventor, scientist, and businessman who developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world. The selection committee in 1890 most certainly recognized that Edison’s passion and dedication to creativity, innovation and learning exemplified the goal of Edison School in educating the children of Highlands. The original building, located on Quitman Street between 30th and 32nd Avenues, was a two story brick and stone building consisting of four rooms and a basement with a cupola in the center. By 1924, the school could no longer accommodate the ever growing number of students and plans were made to construct a new building nearby. The current building, located at West 33rd Avenue and Quitman Street, was dedicated on September 23, 1925. It originally consisted of twenty rooms, a gymnasium, auditorium, lunchroom, kindergarten, office, clinic and a library. There were four lavatories, two shower rooms in the gym, and a teacher’s restroom, a marked improvement over the two unheated lavatories with outside entrances at the old building. In 1949, Edison was granted funding for improvements during the 1949-50 school year. An addition was built, which included a larger library, an art room, a meeting room for parent education groups, a restroom for the male teachers and a new clinic. The office was remodeled, lighting in the building was updated and the auditorium was remodeled. A modern kitchen was added to the lunchroom. The addition was dedicated on February 9, 1951 and student enrollment reached 925 that year, which is the highest in the history of the school at this location.

In 1986, the wood theater-style seats bolted to the floor in the auditorium were removed and replaced by stacking chairs and the floor was covered with blue carpet. In the 1970s and 80s there were murals painted in the halls, on both floors, but they have long since been painted over.

Today, Edison Elementary prides itself in being a 21st century neighborhood school that prepares students for college and career. Edison is a collaborative learning community where 21st century skills, rigorous academics and character education ensure the development of the whole child. Every classroom promotes growth in critical thinking and reasoning, information literacy, self-direction, collaboration, invention and innovation. We continue to honor our namesake, Thomas Edison, as we celebrate curiosity and creativity in the development of life-long learners.

Original Edison School at 30th & Quitman, torn down in 1925.

Thomas Edison on a visit to Denver in 1908.

Edison Elementary in 1925.

Edison Elementary today.