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How did East Union High get its name?
Manteca had a fatal school shooting in 1932
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Two readers have sent emails asking the same question: How did East Union High get its name?
It’s a fair question especially given the campus is on North Union Road.
There originally was an elementary school named East Union School that was on Airport Way just south of Lovelace Road built prior to 1877.
East Union School was built by the Union School District, one of the four original school districts — French Camp, Castle on French Road near Austin Road, and Lathrop School. Given the high school campus’ close proximity to the 19th century school, it inspired how East Union School got its name. How East Union School got its name is another story.
The late Evelyn Prouty, who wrote numerous stories for the Manteca Bulletin that were later incorporated into the history book “Manteca: Selected Chapters from its History”, wasn’t able to pin it down.
Some believed it was because it was built east of the old Union Township on county maps and was so named to avoid confusion. Another said it was to honor an early school called Union to the east in Lathrop that had ceased to exist when East Union was built. Another possibility was that it referenced the nearby railroad junction in Lathrop that was dubbed Union.
The second East Union School was built on the northeast corner of Louise Avenue and Union Road kitty corner from the East Union Cemetery. People donated between $1 and $50 to raise the $186 to build the second East Union campus.
The second floor of the new school served as a social hall for dances, suppers and meetings of organizations such as the Farmers Alliance. Funerals were also held on the second floor. Classes had to be interrupted for each funeral until East Union Church was built in 1892.
The school in 1878 based on the “Illustrated History of San Joaquin County” had and enrollment of 29 boys and 28 girls with an average daily attendance of 24. The teacher was paid $80 a month with it costing $85 a month to maintain the school.
The school burned on Sept. 1, 1913. Given it was the only School in the area Joshua Cowell rented the top floor of his building for the school to use on the northeast corner of Yosemite Avenue and Main Street above the ground floor that now houses Askland Real Estate and German Glas Werks.
The East Union Cemetery Association on May 30, 1937 erected a monument on the southwest corner of Louise and Union honoring the cemetery, church, and school. It is where a convenience store and gas station are located today.

School shooting in
1932 left Manteca
teacher dead
Olive Taylor is the only Manteca teacher ever killed on the job.
The murder occurred in May of 1932 at the Castle School that once served the rural area northeast of Manteca.
Taylor had disciplined a child by spanking him. The irate parent entered the school after classes were dismissed and began yelling at the teacher. The janitor, who was in another part of the building, heard the noise and went to investigate. The man pulled out a gun and killed the teacher. He also wounded the janitor in the face with another gunshot.
The gunman fled. His car was found burning a short time later,
A statewide search failed to find the suspect who somehow had made it back to his native Greece. He was tried for the crime there and later returned to the United States.
Castle School was built on property given to the fledging school in the early 1870s by George Castle and William Harelson. It was a one-room school with children traveling as far as 10 miles to attend. The school was on French Camp Road west of Austin Road and east of Highway 99.
The sole Castle School instructor in 1879 was paid $70 a month. There were 31 children being taught by the teacher.
A third school was built in 1924. It had a single classroom but a dividing wall could be pulled into place to divide it into two classrooms. A stage was at one end and offices at the other.
New Haven School was built in 1966 to replace both Castle School and Summer Home School.
Summer Home School was located on the southwest corner of Cottage Avenue and Southland Road.

To contact Dennis Wyatt email