Construction of Whittier Elementary School began on August 25, 1927. Total cost of the building was around $12,500. At that time, the new school was considered one of the most modern structures on the expanding southwest side of Kenosha. The original building was a two-room school with a community kitchen and lunch area, which also doubled as classrooms.
The earliest records dating back to July of 1931 indicate that although the original work was contracted out, much of the finish work, was done by community volunteers.
On December 19, 1932, Whittier School was damaged by fire. Over $13,000 in insurance claims was collected to repair the building and its furnishings.
Four additions in 1952, 1959, 1965, and 1991, increased Whittier School to its present size. The latest 2-story, 18-classroom addition, $2.67 million addition authorized by the Board of Education in 1990 opened to students in the fall of 1991.
The earliest enrollment records from the 1940s indicated that about 60 students attended classes in grades kindergarten through eight. The school later switched to a kindergarten through sixth grade format to match other schools in the district. Whittier currently houses Pre-K through grade 5 students.
Whittier Elementary School was named in honor of the distinguished poet John Greenleaf Whittier.