Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the March 16, 1939 edition of the Chaffey United Press, the school newspaper.

Gardiner W. Spring Auditorium, designed by architects Allison and Allison of Los Angeles, was constructed at a cost of $444,000: a Public Works administration grant of $199,800; a Chaffey bond issue of $195,000 (to be paid over 10 years); and $42,200 from the general school fund.

The site selected for the auditorium was the chapel of the original agricultural college founded by George W. Chaffey which was frequently used as a community meeting place. Under the direction of Merton E. Hill, the chapel was incorporated into a new auditorium built in 1912. This building was razed in 1935 to make way for the new auditorium, though the Austin console organ was saved for installation in the new auditorium, once complete.

In 2014, alumnus Tom Duncan ’65 and his wife Vickee initiated a project to preserve the history of CHS by establishing a display in one room of the Chaffey Memorial Library. The first step was to gather historic memorabilia that was scattered in storage areas all over campus – building basements, classroom closets and all kinds of other interesting out-of-the-way spaces. The next step was to catalog what had been gathered and decide what to put on display. Finally, display cabinets were built and other items set up to create a museum-like area in the library. Tom, Mike Harrison ’65 and Lynn Tegtmeier Valdez ’65 include the room during campus tours and CHS librarian Cindy Martinez Beck ’74 lets current students, faculty, staff and visitors into the room upon request.

Alumni have also contributed items, including George Chaffey’s christening cap; Ernie Payne’s classroom grade book; and a gold football. If you have items you would like to donate, please contact Tom Duncan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 909 518-0914. If you are local Tom will pick up your donation.


CHS Principals from 1950 to 1990 (left to right):

* Dr. David O. Stine, 1984 – 1988

* Karen B. Dunn, 1988 – 1990 (1st female CHS Principal)

* Ernest A. Payne 1950 – 1967 (seated - the only CHS alumnus to serve as principal to date.  He graduated CHS in 1922 and was 1985 Tiger of the Year. The baseball/soccer field on campus is named Payne Field in his honor.)

* Cleo D. Martin 1967 – 1972

* Dr. Fred C. Adams 1972 – 1984 (founder of the Alumni Assn.)

* Dr. Barry W. Cadwallader 1990 – 1993 (later Superintendent of the Chaffey Joint Union High School District)


Built in 1932 at Fifth Street and Euclid Avenue, Tower Hall is the oldest building on the Chaffey campus and is built in Mission Revival style. The tower rises an estimated 120 feet and contains a clock face on all four sides and chimes.

CHS alumni remember that the clock and chimes were operating in the 1960s, but at some time – perhaps in the 1980s – stopped functioning. Attempts over the years to fix the clocks and chimes were unsuccessful until June 2016 when the clock and chime assembly was replaced with a new, digital model.

The clock now keeps accurate time on all four faces, and Westminster chimes ring every hour from 7 am to 6 pm.





The Chaffey High School Alumni Association was founded in 1974 while Dr. Fred C. Adams was principal. He saw the possibility that an alumni organization could assist the high school in providing educational services to the community and providing a bridge between current students and alumni. The Association was founded as a charitable organization, dedicated to raising money to be spent on worthwhile projects on the campus. Its Articles of Incorporation were filed with the State of California on July 1, 1974, and its non-profit status was granted by the California Franchise Tax Board on June 25, 1974.
Chaffey College of Agriculture 1885

Ontario Model Colony founder George Chaffey's plan for Ontario embodied four concepts that were incorporated into all land sale contracts: distribution of water rights to all landowners; construction of what became Euclid Avenue for beauty; provision for a college (the precursor of Chaffey High School) to teach agriculture and general education; and using prohibition to attract temperate settlers.

In 1882, the first year of the Model Colony, George Chaffey had already set aside a 20-acre site at the corner of Euclid Avenue and Fourth Street for an agricultural college. Chaffey established a trust fund for the college and arranged for the University of Southern California (USC) to supervise the trust and develop the college's building plans.