Stevenson's Historical History

In 1963, Douglas school board members confronted the possibility of double sessions in district classrooms caused by the town's population growth. The situation was especially dire on Douglas' east side which held the post-WWII subdivisions of Frontier Village and Applewhite.

The closest elementary schools for those neighborhoods was a dozen or more blocks away, which was deemed too long a distance for elementary school children to walk in addition to double sessions. So board members proposed issuing bonds for two projects: one was for construction of a new elementary school on Douglas' east side.

After receiving voter approval of the bonds, the school board announced the Phoenix firm of Peterman-Donnelly Contractors was the low bidder of $167,957,000 to construct the new elementary school. The bid was for nine classrooms and a principal's office placed between 11th and 12th Streets in the 2200 and 2300 blocks. The board pinched pennies by having district employees do things such as install evaporative coolers in each room.

Foothills School welcomed 283 students who lived east of Florida Avenue into a kindergarten class and grades 1-4 on Sept. 1, 19645.

The same day, Hollice E. Stevenson, died of a heart attack. He'd been Douglas Schools Superintendent since 1948, and so when the new elementary school was officially dedicated Nov. 21, 1965, it was a s Hollice E. Stevenson School.

Born in 1900 Iowa, Stevenson first taught at age 16 after graduating from White Rock High School in the South Dakota town of the same name. The first school room he taught in held grades one through eight.

Stevenson taught another year before enlisting in the Army at age 18. Discharged in 1919, Stevenson attended North Dakota Agricultural College before resuming teaching in North Dakota. He took correspondence courses and attended summer sessions at three colleges in order to obtain a teaching certificate.

In 1924, he moved to Pine, Ariz. There he taught, was principal of the town's high school, and superintendent of all grades. He remained in Pine for four years, during which he took classes at Flagstaff State College (today's NAU). In 1928, he returned to North Dakota, taught and finally earned a bachelor's degree.

In 1929, he moved to Palo Alto, Calif., where he attended Stanford University and received a master's degree. He served as principal of Orland High School in northern California for a year.

When he returned to Arizona in 1930, it was to be principal of Morenci High School. In 1932, Stevenson became superintendent of Globe schools. His tenure there was interrupted by service in the U.S. Navy during World War II with time in the South Pacific.

Stevenson returned to Globe in 1946, and superintended there into 1948 when he became Douglas Schools Superintendent. His military service helped him as he embarked upon an expansion program for the Douglas district.

The most obvious example was Veterans Memorial Fieldhouse, the formal name for the Douglas High School gym. Stevenson purchased the building for $1,094.00 from the U.S. War Assets Administration. he hired the Douglas firm, Reay Transfer, which cut the massive gym into three pieces and moved them from Fort Huachuca to Douglas.

The pieces were assembled and dedicated Jan. 6, 1950. The gym became part of the new Douglas High School campus that Stevenson first proposed in 1948, and shepherded along through a special bond election late that year. Stevenson saw to it that the new DHS was laid out in such a way that subsequent additions have been simple to achieve, and he insisted upon a lard auditorium that's hosted innumerable school and community events.

Dignitaries at Stevenson's memorial on Nov. 21, 1965 remembered him as full of energy, verve and unceasing in his efforts to expand the Douglas schools program into one recognized throughout Arizona for its effectiveness.

Stevenson School, said then board president Ben F. Williams, Jr., was conceived by Stevenson "in his dreams and which he brought to reality. It will be a symbol of his efforts as an educator - as one dedicated to the youth of our country."

-Ms. Cindy Hayostek, District Historical Researcher


"Hollice E. Stevenson of Globe Named...", Douglas Dispatch, (March 4, 1948).

"Schools Purchase Big Field House", Dispatch, (Oct. 20, 1948).

"Stevenson School is Dedicated...", Dispatch, (Nov. 22, 1965).

Dedication pamphlet of Hollice E. Stevenson Schol, held by author.

G. Genevieve Wiggins, "A History of the Douglas Public Schools 1901-1965".