The “H” rock. A big “H” painted on a rock on the side of the mountain east of Salt Lake City, it marks the territory of Salt Lake City’s Highland High School. Cyprus High out in Magna has a “C” on the hill above it, as many of the schools in the Mountain States do. From almost everywhere in Salt Lake you can see the huge concrete “U” on the side of the hill above the University of Utah. Brigham Young University (yecch!*) has a “Y”. I went to East High in Salt Lake City, and we didn’t have our own letter on a rock on the side of the hill. This was a big source of contention for us, especially since the “H” rock was pretty much right on the border of East and Highland’s boundaries.
At least during my 3 years at East High, several times a year someone (obviously not from East) would climb up to the rock and paint the white H into a red E. And every time, the next day, an administrator would come on over the speaker and admonish us for this vandalism and waste of school’s monies. Now I understand the financial problems this would cause the district, but at the time I just thought things that I will not repeat here.
Now, you probably are wondering if, or at least what, the students of Highland did to retaliate. (Yes, that’s a weird and inappropriate sentence, but you get the meaning.) They did several things. One year they set our tissue paper covered homecoming float on fire. You can just imagine how fast that burnt down to the metal cage that shaped it. Several times they painted the E in front of the tennis courts into an H. Once they spray painted an enormous H on the side of our brand new auditorium.
But by far, the best try they ever made they got caught at. Two or three Highland students used their rock climbing skills to climb up the face of our school and paint the E you see there on top into an H. This was late at night, back at a time when, in Salt Lake City, 11:00 was the wee hours of the morning, so they expected to get it done unnoticed. I don’t know if it was because someone saw them, or just their bad luck that a police officer was cruising by the school at the time, but they were caught rappelling down the face of the school. BUSTED!
Of course that didn’t stop the rivalry and the continued painting and re painting of the “H” rock. To be honest, I haven’t paid enough attention to notice if it still goes on today.
*Sorry all BYU fans, my dad has worked for the U for 40 years, I got both my Bachelor’s and Master’s there. I am required, by law, to say rude things about BYU.