In 1929, Charles H. Orme, Sr. and Minna Vrang Orme (inducted into the Arizona Women’s Hall of Fame in 1989) began a personal adventure that has become the history of The Orme School. They left their dairy farm in Phoenix and bought a ranch in the high grassland of central Arizona. Both graduates of Stanford University, the Ormes believed in the necessity of a good education. To educate their three children and those of the ranch employees, they opened a one-room school in an old ranch house. From those early days, an Orme education has been based on the principles that guide the School today. One principle in particular states: The best education a child can have is one that stresses a solid academic foundation in a family setting where each student is expected to be an important, contributing member of the community.
Charles H. Orme, Jr. was a product of this education. After his graduation with honors from Stanford University, the commitment to his parents’ educational values led him back to become Headmaster of Orme in 1945. Under his loving care and visionary guidance. The Orme School gained a national reputation. To accommodate this growth, the physical plant and the academic program expanded to meet the new dynamics of a vastly increased enrollment. In 1962, the School was incorporated as a not-for-profit institution governed by a Board of Trustees.
Mr. Orme served as Headmaster until his retirement in 1987. His tenure of 42 years as the academic leader of The Orme School has ensured that the values of hard work, community contribution, and personal responsibility have become a permanent part of the Orme tradition.
The Quarter Circle V Bar Brand
Since the Orme School was founded in 1929, our logo has been the Quarter Circle V Bar, a historic cattle brand. For generations of students, it is the beloved symbol of their school. In ages past, both the School and the Ranch were often known simply as the “Quarter Circle V Bar.”
The brand was introduced by George Whitson, who in 1878 bought the homestead of sheepherder George Hance and switched to cattle. In the 1880s, Whitson built a simple board-and-batten house with neither frame nor foundation. The Orme School began in that humble abode, which still stands as the oldest building on campus. In the red floor of that building, you can see the logo etched by the School’s co-founder Charles H. Orme, Sr., affectionately known to students as “Uncle Chick.” The brand is still used to mark the cattle of the Orme Ranch, our community neighbor.
Today, this cherished icon appears in all sorts of places both on and off campus, from the school flag and topographic maps to gates, chimneys, fireplaces and irons, glass doors, chairs, stained glass windows, and even jewelry.
A colorful story is told about the evolution of the brand, although it may be apocryphal. It is said to have been derived from an earlier brand representing an upside down kettle bail (the curved wire handle of a bucket). Cowboys found it hard to draw a curve with the running irons of the day and corrupted it to a V shape. But that was too easy for rustlers (cattle thieves) to alter, so a bar was added underneath. Finally, to further deter rustlers, Whitson added a quarter circle to the top. Or so the story goes.