The baby boom following World War II resulted in a vast increase of school-age children by about 1950. This, coupled with the increased residential expansion into the suburbs, created a demand for local schools. Previously, children had been bussed from outlying areas to the large schools in the cities, but more children in the suburbs made it feasible to build schools in these residential tracts.
Since the schools were serving fewer children per building, they could be smaller than the large horizontal schools in the cities. Architectural styles of the time eschewed the classical and period revival styles for a simple, modernist influence on these single-story buildings with sprawling wings. Most of the examples also have a large section with a taller roof that houses a combination gymnasium, stage, and lunchroom.
Typically set far back of the street and surrounded by large expanses of lawn, the horizontal schools blend in to their suburban surroundings. As demographics in suburban neighborhoods continue to change, many of these schools have been closed and demolished in recent years.