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VIGNETTE > Mead Amphitheater


In 1936, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) built an amphitheater at Tamalpais High school. It is reportedly the largest amphitheater of its kind on any high school campus. It is named for Ernest E. Mead (1873-1954) who was president of the board of trustees of Tamalpais Union High School from 1921 to 1941.  He had gone to MIT, been in the coast guard, fought in Cuba during the Spanish American war, and was a project engineer at Marinship in Sausalito during WW II. He was one of Tam’s most loyal supporters.  The theater was built over an old creek bed that angled down through the campus. The seating capacity is about 2500 students. Commencement exercises have taken place there for eighty years. Graduates usually sat in the front row. When it came time to receive their diplomas, they walked up and across the stage one by one. The wooden stage was torn down in 1975 because of dry rot damage. Two mural panels, each 13 ft. x 6.5 ft. depicting laughing and sad drama masks were mounted on either side of the stage.  They are now in storage and will someday be installed on brackets ready for them on recently rebuilt Keyser Hall.

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