Schools and Buildings: Why They Have Their Names


Elementary Schools

Abraham Lincoln 

Named for President Abraham Lincoln, it is the third district building to bear the late president’s name.  The first Lincoln School, built before the turn of the century, was burned down and replaced in the 1920’s. The building was later used as an administration building and the site at 4th and Q Streets today is named Lincoln Plaza.

Alice Birney 

Co-founder of the Parent Teacher movement, later PTA, along with Phoebe Hearst.

A.M. Winn 

General A.M. Winn was president of the City Council under Sacramento’s first city charter, elected 1849. He was founder of Sons of the Golden West.

Bowling Green

Named for subdivision.

Bret Harte

American writer who came to California in 1854. Served as US Consul to Prussia and Scotland, wrote “The Luck of Roaring Camp and other Sketches” and “Tales of Argonauts.”

Cesar E. Chavez

Labor leader who formed the United Farm Workers Union to improve working conditions for agricultural laborers.

Caleb Greenwood 

Trapper, pathfinder and early pioneer of the West.  Credited with bringing first wagons from east into state.

Camellia Basic

Named for City of Sacramento official flower.  Basic was added to the name in 1982.


The first Riverside School was annexed in 1911. The original Crocker was torn down and attendance area combined when Crocker/Riverside was built in 1975 on the Riverside site. Crocker was a dry goods dealer in charge of construction of the Central Pacific Railroad.

David Lubin

A dry goods businessman, He was instrumental in forming an international institute of agriculture in 1910.

Earl Warren

Annexed in 1958. Named for former governor of California and former Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Edward Kemble

Editor of Sacramento’s first newspaper. In 1849 he published The Placer Times in Sacramento.  In 1859, was associate editor of The Sacramento Union.

Elder Creek

Annexed in 1958. Named for the creek which runs in the area.

Ethel I. Baker

Annexed in 1958. Named for superintendent of the Fruit Ridge District who served for 37 years.

Ethel Phillips 

Annexed in 1958. Named for 20-year teacher, principal and superintendent of the district.

Fr. Keith B. Kenny

Named for Catholic Priest who was pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.  He was an advocate for Spanish-speaking people, a strong supporter of United Farm Workers, and a confidant of Cesar Chavez.

Golden Empire 

Named for California, the Golden Empire, for its rich gold deposits.

H.W. Harkness 

Dr. Harvey Wilson Harkness was the first superintendent of Sacramento City Schools, and served from 1854 to 1855.

Hollywood Park 

Annexed in 1958. Named after subdivision.

Hubert Bancroft 

Historian and writer, his finished work on the history of the Pacific coast consisted of 39 volumes and covered Alaska to Panama. His collection of research is the basis for UC Berkeley Bancroft Library, one of the greatest research centers in the West.

Isador Cohen 

A wealthy tobacco merchant who came to Sacramento in the 1860’s.  He was very devoted to helping orphans and was an honorary member on the Sacramento Children’s Home Board of Directors.

John Bidwell 

Worked for Captain John Sutter.  A leading agriculturist, donated land to churches, forest service,  and site of Northern School of Northern California, now California State University, Chico.

John Cabrillo 

Portuguese navigator who sailed under the flag of Spain. Cabrillo discovered San Diego Bay in 1542.  The school was originally named Sutter Union.  It was annexed into the district July 1, 1958.

John Sloat 

Before Mexican War, Commodore Sloat was placed in command of the American Fleet in the Pacific. Under his direction, Monterey was taken, the Mexican flag hauled down and the Stars & Stripes raised.

Joseph Bonnheim 

Son of Albert and Fannie Weinstock Bonnheim, died at age 16. Parents established the Joseph Bonnheim Memorial Scholarship Fund at University of California. By 1951, 800 students had been helped by this fund.

Leataata Floyd

Was an influential member of the Marina Vista/Alder Grove community. She volunteered and taught after school classes at the school before it was renamed in her honor. 

Mark Twain 

American humorist Samuel Langhorned Clemens, born 1835. Wrote “Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” along with “Tom Sawyer” and “Huckleberry Finn.” Newspaper reporter while living in West.


Named for “Sister City” in Japan.  Delegates from Matsuyama, including the Mayor, were present for dedication ceremonies when the school opened in 1993.


Annexed in 1958. The Nicholas family owned large acreage in the area for many years and the school was built on a portion of this property.  C.B. Wire married a daughter of the Nicholas family.

Oak Ridge 

Annexed in 1958.  At the time, this school was built there was a lone oak tree on the property.  The use of the word “ridge” made the name conform with the Fruit Ridge School.

O.W. Erlewine 

Superintendent of the Sacramento City Schools 1894-1913.


Annexed in 1958. Pacific School District was one of the oldest school districts in California and named after the ocean.  This is the second school to carry the name.

Parker Avenue 

School for the homeless, named for the street.  Is behind the South Sacramento Emergency Housing Shelter on Parker Ave.


Annexed in 1958.  Named for the subdivision.

Peter Burnett 

American pioneer in California and first governor of the state from 1849-51.  In 1863, Peter Burnett, Sam Brannan and Joseph Winans organized the first chartered commercial bank in state.  He was elected Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and advanced to Chief Justice.

Phoebe Hearst 

Co-founder of the parent-teacher movement, later called PTA, with Alice Birney.

Pony Express 

The Pony Express unique system of delivery mail. Trail of “express” ran between St. Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento. (Plaque in Old Sacramento on 2nd Street marks end of trail.)


Named for Cherokee Indian Sequoyah who developed the first American Indian alphabet in an attempt to establish a written Indian language.  His name was given to the giant California coniferous tree, which reaches a height of 320 feet and diameter of 35 feet.

Susan B. Anthony 

Activist for the women’s movement, especially in seeking women’s right to vote.


Named for township and site of early trading post.


Named for Lake Tahoe.  Tahoe is an Indian name signifying “big water.”

Theodore Judah 

Known as the engineering wizard of the West. Employed by Sacramento Valley Railroad, sent to Washington, DC to see president regarding transcontinental railroad, but could generate no interest.  On return to Sacramento met “big four” Crocker, Hopkins, Stanford and Huntington, and Central Pacific Railroad became reality.

Thomas Jefferson 

Third president of the United States, author of Declaration of Independence.


General George Washington, first president of the United States of America.

William Land 

Came to California in 1860. Worked as messenger boy for Eastern Hotel. In 1875, purchased hotel, and State House. Owned many real estate interests, several ranches, orchards and residential properties.  Served as mayor in 1898, deeded William Land Park to City.


Annexed in 1958.  Named for the avenue on which it was built.

K-8 Schools

Caroline Wenzel 

Librarian who specialized in California history.  Worked in the state library for 36 years, the last 22 as Chief Librarian of the California section.

Genevieve Didion 

Member of the Sacramento City Unified School District Board of Education for 32 years,  July, 1942 to March, 1974.

John Morse Waldorf 

John  Frederick Morse, MD,  was an early Sacramento school trustee and prominently identified with the civic advancement of Sacramento almost from its beginning. He opened the first hospital in Sacramento in 1849.  One of original stockholders of the Central Pacific Railroad.

John Still 

John Hamilton Still, founder of the first bookstore in Sacramento at 2nd Street between K & L Streets.  A plaque was erected for his contribution to the early literary and cultural development of the City of Sacramento.

Leonardo da Vinci 

For the Italian artist.  School name was changed when program moved from Theodore Judah to Joaquin Miller Junior High School site.

Martin Luther King, Jr. 

For Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights leader who sought non-violence in seeking civil rights.

Rosa Parks

Rosa Louise Parks was a civil rights activist best known for her pivotal role in the Montgomery bus boycott.

Middle Schools

Albert Einstein

Named for world-renowned scientist and winner of Nobel Peace Prize.

Fern Bacon 

Annexed in 1958. Fern Bacon was a teacher in the old Pacific School, She served that district for 42 years, 15 as superintendent.

Kit Carson 

An American trapper, scout and Indian agent. Acted as guide for Fremont’s expeditions during 1842-44.  Was appointed Indian agent in 1853.

Sam Brannan 

Leader in the political and financial history of California. Opened store at Sutter’s Fort in 1847, the first of its kind in valley. Carried news of gold discovery to San Francisco. Built Sacramento’s amphitheater and City Hall.  He was newspaperman, farmer, merchant, banker and politician.


Captain John Sutter, came to California in 1839, established New Helvetia or Sutter’s Fort, offering hospitality to immigrants.

Will C. Wood 

Born in Elmira, CA in 1880, served as principal in Fairfield schools, superintendent in Alameda, State Superintendent of Schools from 1919 – 1927. Drafted and lobbied through the legislature California’s basic junior college law.

High Schools

C.K. McClatchy 

Born in Sacramento in 1858, he succeeded his father James McClatchy, the veteran California editor, as editor of the Sacramento Bee in 1884.

Hiram Johnson 

Was governor of California in 1910, reelected in 1914. Initiated many reforms while governor, including workmen’s compensation act, laws regulating weights and measures, conservation of natural resources, woman’s suffrage.  Elected US senator, and served for over a quarter of a century.

West Campus 

An extension of Hiram Johnson main campus, home to the successful West Campus School of Business, Technology and Management.

John F. Kennedy 

Named for President John F. Kennedy, assassinated in office in 1963.

Luther Burbank 

Born 1849.  Self-made scientist who won international reputation as plant breeder.  Responsible for numerous creation in plant world, including “Burbank Potato.”

Independent Study

Capital City School, K-12 

Name reflecting state capital chosen in 1997 by Independent Study students for their K-12 program.

Adult Education Schools

A. Warren McClaskey

Well known and respected local adult educator.

Fremont School for Adults

John C. Fremont was a lieutenant in the Army Corps of Topographical Engineers and was well know for his accurate mapping of the Oregon Trail.  General Mariano G. Vallejo surrendered to Fremont in Sonoma in 1846.

Old Marshall 

Named for James Marshall, who discovered gold at Sutter’s Mill in 1848.  The building has been in use since erected in 1903.

Charles A. Jones Skills and Business Education Center 

Named for Assistant Superintendent of Adult Education Charles A. Jones who retired in 1999.  Jones was a district employee for 36 years.

Preschool Building

Edward Kelley Preschool

Property donated by Edward Kelley, formerly named Brighton School No. 2 and was part of the Brighton township.  The original school was built in the 1860s and rebuilt following a fire in 1891.  It was renamed in 1923 in honor of the land donor.  In 1975, the Rancho Cordova Bicentennial Committee restored the building and rehung the original school bell. The building is a City and County Historical Landmark and is listed in the National Register of Historical Places.

Administration Buildings

Joaquin Miller (Admin. Annex)

“Poet of the Sierras” came West in 1852. Was a country schoolteacher.  He established a Pony Express run from Idaho to Washington.  Established a newspaper, and his popularity as an author began.

John Muir

Originally named Strawberry Lane School, the school was renamed John Muir, the naturalist and writer who was instrumental in the preservation of wilderness areas and campaigned for the establishment of Yosemite National Park.

H C. Muddox (Transportation Headquarters) 

Dedicated in 1942.  Unknown history.

Leland Stanford 

Grocer during the gold rush, he was among the big four in establishing the Central Pacific Railroad.  Was elected as Governor of California in 1862.

SCUSD Campuses (no longer used as public schools)

Clayton B. Wire

Annexed in 1958. Named after board of education member of the Pacific Elementary School District who served for thirty years.

Collis. P. Huntington

One of the “big four” in promoting the railroad from Sacramento to Salt Lake City.  Co-owner of hardware store in Sacramento with Mark Hopkins.


Annexed in 1958. Named for nearby town.

Fruit Ridge 

Annexed in 1958.  Named after area because of various fruit trees, which grew on a ridge.


Named for Upper Lisbon and Lower Lisbon Schools that were located in the pocket area from the 1800’s which served the principally Portuguese community in the area.


Annexed in 1958.  Students of the South Sacramento School District chose name while school was in the planning stage.  After construction, students raised money and planted maple trees.

Marian Anderson 

Named for African-American opera singer Marian Anderson who made history in 1939 when she was barred from the stage at Constitution Hall.  She proudly sang from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Mark Hopkins 

One of the “Big Four” in establishing the first railroad from Salt Lake City. Co-owner of hardware store with Collis.P. Huntington.


Named for the City.  Sacramento means “The Holy Sacrament.”  The river was christened “Jesus Maria” by Captain Moraga, while the branch was called Sacramento. Later this name was applied to the main stream.

James Marshall 

Marshall worked for John Sutter.  He discovered gold at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma on January 24, 1848.

Thurgood Marshall 

Marshall was the first African-American to serve on the US Supreme Court; appointed Chief Justice.

Sara M. Jones 

Sacramento’s and California’s first African-American teacher. In 1870, she began teaching at Sacramento Ungraded School 2, known as the “Colored School” at Ninth & Q Streets.  In 1894, the school board abolished segregated education, and promoted Ms. Jones to principal. She later was appointed principal of Fremont Primary at 24 & N Streets.