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Edward Bok Technical High School
Edward W. Bok Technical High School is located in Philadelphia
Edward W. Bok Technical High School
Edward W. Bok Technical High School is located in Pennsylvania
Edward W. Bok Technical High School
Edward W. Bok Technical High School is located in the United States
Edward W. Bok Technical High School
Location1901 South 9th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Coordinates39°55′33″N 75°9′37″W / 39.92583°N 75.16028°W / 39.92583; -75.16028
Area1 acre (0.40 ha)
ArchitectIrwin T. Catharine
MPSPhiladelphia Public Schools TR
NRHP reference No.86003264[1]
Added to NRHPDecember 4, 1986

The Edward W. Bok Technical High School was a public high school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, designed by Irwin T. Catharine and named after literary figure Edward William Bok, editor of the Ladies' Home Journal. It was completed in February 1938 by the Public Works Administration (WPA) as a vocational high school at 8th & Mifflin Streets. As part of the Philadelphia Public Schools' Multiple Property Submission, the school was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in December, 1986. Bok High School was reorganized in 2006-2007 to prepare students for jobs in modern technology. After the 2012-2013 school year, the school was closed. In 2014, the school was renovated to become a home for over 200 businesses including restaurants, apartments, daycares, and hair salons.


Corridor in Bok in 2019.

The building was constructed from 1935-1938 based on the designs of Philadelphia School Board architect Irwin Catharine. The main body of the school is built of limestone-trimmed yellow brick, with a limestone low-rise section abutting the higher brick section. Piers and pilasters emphasize verticality in the Art Deco design. Carved cartouches show people at work. Classrooms adjoin one of two central light courts. At the time of its construction, the building represented a new trend in vocational education. Rather than just teach carpentry skills, the school taught, and had dedicated space for, subjects such as brick laying, plastering, plumbing, machine building, tailoring, and hairdressing. [2]

The school was named for Edward Bok (1863–1930), a Dutch born American editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, who edited the Ladies Home Journal for thirty years.

Following the school's 2013 closing, some of the classes moved into the South Philadelphia High School (SPHS or Southern) building, 5 blocks away, prior to the start of the 2013-14 school year.[citation needed] Bok was scheduled to merge with South Philadelphia High.[3] The building itself remained open for maintenance & operational reasons for at least 1 additional heating season as the boilers supply heat to Southwark School across the street.[citation needed]

Sale and Redevelopment

In Summer 2014, Bok was put up for auction by the School District and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC).[4] Scout was selected as the developer in September 2014 and proposed converting the building into a new destination for makers, creatives, innovators and entrepreneurs.[5][6] The building was redeveloped for commercial use in the creative sector, including both offices and workshops, as well as restaurants and a bar.[7]

Academic programs

Programs were designed to develop students into well-rounded individuals. In addition to regular academic and vocational course offerings, there were specialized programs in Business Technology Computer Assisted Design (CAD), Construction Trades, Culinary Arts, Computer/Networking, Health Related Sciences, Process Technology and Welding.

Auto mechanics was also an elective. The 1967 alumni class included known Mixologist, John C. Lackey.

Bok offered men's and women's interscholastic sports including: football, baseball, basketball, soccer, softball, track and field, volleyball, badminton, cheerleading, drill, team, and weight training. After School Clubs provided special enrichment activities for students. Bok was the only community high school in the city housing programs such as Sunrise of Philadelphia, Inc. and Variety the Children's Charity


As of 2010, Bok had achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for 5 years straight.[citation needed] It has since been determined that their principal, Arthur "Larry" Melton, altered test answers to obtain that distinction. Their scores predictably returned to pre-scandal levels once Melton was convicted of cheating on the PSSA (Pennsylvania System of School Assessment).

Notable alumni


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ B. Mintz, Pennsylvania Historic Resources Survey: Edward Bok Vocational School. Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, July 1986. Accessed 2010-09-30. To access this file type "public" as your ID and "public" as your password.
  3. ^ Schliefer, Thoms (2013-08-09). "Challenge to ease tensions between merging Phila. schools". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on 2015-10-18. Retrieved 2016-11-17.((cite news)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Young Developer Will Create Philadelphia's Largest Creative Community Space".
  6. ^ Saffron, Inga (2014-11-28). "Changing Skyline: Bringing Bok back". The Philadelphia Inquirer. p. D01. Archived from the original on 2015-02-20. Retrieved 2020-06-05.
  7. ^ "BOK Building". BOK. Retrieved 13 August 2021.