School History

Warren G. Harding Middle School, located at 203 East Euclid Avenue, was built in 1926. It was named for the recently deceased President Warren G. Harding, who had been in office only 29 months when his death occurred in 1923. The cornerstone was laid on Thursday, May 7, 1925, and the students and faculty moved into the building in February 1926.
The student council financed the purchase and placement of a monument at the corner of East Euclid and Cornell during the 1971-1972 school year. The monument enhances the corner and gives the name of the school and the year of its opening. Through the decades the building has undergone various remodeling projects, most recently a new gym and main office addition in the early 1990’s.

While struggling to revamp curriculum in the early 60’s, rights riots and Supreme Court rulings had a serious impact on schools. Warren G. Harding Junior High administration, staff and the Des Moines Schools made what they thought was a just decision regarding “black arm bands.” A group of students who defied a district ban on wearing the arm bands in school to protest the Vietnam War were sent home. The resulting court case reached the Supreme Court of the United States. The ruling in Tinker vs. Des Moines over-ruled the opinions of the lower courts and the school district. What began and had its inception at Warren G. Harding Junior High had a profound effect on all schools in the United States.