The Student News Site of Flintridge Sacred Heart

Veritas Shield

The Student News Site of Flintridge Sacred Heart

Veritas Shield

The Student News Site of Flintridge Sacred Heart

Veritas Shield

This Old Campus: the stories behind FSHA’s quirkiest spaces

Before there was Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, there was the Flintridge Hotel. Opened in 1927, the hotel was designed by Myron Hunt, the same architect who designed the Pasadena Central Library, the Langham Huntington Hotel, the Rose Bowl and Occidental College. With his impressive list of credits, it’s no surprise that the buildings here on the Hill are so iconic. Whether they’re currently being used as classrooms (the Chapel), were previously used as classrooms (the loft) or used to house the night watchman (Nurse Kathy’s office), these rooms have a fascinating history. 

The Loft

If you enter the Admin Building and walk toward the dining hall, you’ll see a winding staircase. Climb it and you’ll arrive at the Loft. Last used by Mrs. Alexis Salazar as a Religion I classroom in the 2019-2020 school year, the loft in the boarding hall is still filled with desks and even features a photo of the Pope. Mrs. Salazar felt that there were pluses and minuses to teaching in this space.

“What I liked about being in that space was that it was closer to the sisters, and even though we didn’t see them often, it was a direct connection to who we are, and our mission at the school,” Mrs. Salazar said. 

However, some students found the loft to be a challenging destination because of its distance from the High School Building. “It was sometimes hard for students to arrive to class on time,” Ms. Salazar said.

Was this photo taken 1964 or 2024? Photo by Claudia Lee ‘24.


With its stained glass windows and slightly distant location next to Ms. Davitt’s office, the Chapel is a beautiful hideaway here on the Hill. Built by the hotel to be a smoking room, the sisters used it as a chapel, but in 2009 was converted into the sole Latin classroom. Currently, Dr. Olanna Mills teaches World History II and the Women and Gender Studies SRP in the Chapel. She likes teaching there because of the flexibility it allows her students. 

“The first thing I decided to do when I was assigned this space over the summer was to remove all the desks,” Dr. Mills said. 

The room now features a long discussion table instead. 

“Students have the opportunity to foster skills such as collaboration, dialogue, listening and… to engage with the material in a meaningful way,” Dr. Mills said. 

A 2009 article from the Veritas Shield announcing the reworking of the Chapel into a classroom. Photo courtesy of the FSHA archives and Hilary Kaiser ‘09.

Nurse Kathy’s office

Although it’s now a place of rest and rehabilitation, back in the 1950s Nurse Kathy’s office served a very different purpose: it was the home of Mr. and Mrs. Barth, the night watchman and a supervisor of elementary school children. (For the first few decades of its existence, FSHA was a K-12 school.) Mr. Barth had a dog named Duke and carried a rifle. Sr. Katherine Jean Cowan ‘59, former FSHA teacher and current resident of the boarding hall, remembers that during her senior year, she and her friend wanted to go swimming one night. 

“We were told, you can go swimming if you can get out of the building [without being prevented by Duke],” Sr. Katherine Jean said. 

Such was the fear of the mighty Duke. She made sure to point out that Duke would never have hurt one of the girls, but he did once tackle a sister

“She must have been covered in slobber,” Sr. Katherine Jean said. 

The outside of Nurse Kathy’s office in the present day. Photo by Claudia Lee ’24.

The Octagon

Today the Octagon is a viewing platform. 60 years ago, however, it was the site of the school’s music conservatory. According to a 1968 Los Angeles Times article, it was “built in the 1920’s, serving as the ballroom of [the Flintridge Hotel].” The ballroom burned down in 1968. The sisters decided to repurpose its foundation as a platform and use the insurance money to update a few other parts of the school. 

From left to right, clockwise: The Octagon in 1949, photo courtesy of the FSHA archives and J. Allen Hawkins. The Octagon and bridge before the fire, photo courtesy of FSHA archives. The Octagon on fire in 1968, photo courtesy of the FSHA archives. The Octagon in 2024, photo by Claudia Lee ‘24. The Octagon from the bridge now, photo by Claudia Lee ‘24.
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About the Contributor
Claudia Lee
Claudia Lee, Managing Editor
Claudia is a senior and the Managing Editor of Veritas Shield. She joined journalism as a sophomore. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, baking, taking walks and writing.

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