Although it is the newest of the directional high schools, Denver South High School has a tradition that stretches back to Denver’s earliest days. Like East, South High School developed out of Denver City’s Union School.
Since Denver’s south side was the least populous in the city’s early days, the area did not get its own school until 1883. This school was called the Grant School and served all elementary through high school students.
In 1907, a separate junior and senior high school was added to Grant School. Although the school was still part of Grant, it was unofficially known as the Denver South Side High School. In 1919, the junior and high schools at Grant split into separate buildings.
Grant High School officially became Denver South High School in 1926, when the high school portion of Grant was selected to become part of the Denver City Beautiful project.
The new high school building was built bordering Washington Park, and was designed by the prominent Denver architecture firm Fisher and Fisher. The building is inspired by the Basilica of Santa Maria Cosmedin in Rome, a church famous for housing the skull of St. Valentine.
Notable South High School alumni include current Congresswoman Diana DeGette and former Archivist of the United States Robert Warner.