Central High School is the oldest high school in Tulsa, founded in 1906 as Tulsa High School and located in downtown Tulsa until 1976. Central was Tulsa's only public high school for white students, and by 1938 it had grown to its peak enrollment of more than 5,000 students. Finally, Tulsa opened two new high schools: Webster High School and Will Rogers High School. Booker T. Washington High School was established for African American students in 1913. Tulsa's schools were legally racially segregated by race until 1955, and remained segregated de facto at least into the 1970s, due to population patterns and school policies.
The construction of Tulsa's Inner Dispersal Loop freeway led to the decision to move the school out of downtown. The new campus was opened in 1976 at 31st West Avenue and Edison Street.
The old Central High School building at Sixth and Cincinnati was acquired by Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) and now serves as PSO's headquarters. The building has been named a Tulsa landmark by the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture.
Today, Central High School is a public school for students from grades 9 through 12. Since 1997, it has served as a fine and performing arts magnet school.