Huntington Beach High School's founding was one of uncertainty and political opposition. Originally known as Las Bolsas High School, the school opened in Los Alamitos in 1902 and served as a secondary school for Westminster, Garden Grove, Los Alamitos, Bolsa, New Hope, Fountain Valley, Chica, Ocean View and Springdale elementary districts. However, after only one student showed up for class, the site was scrapped four days after its opening. After attempts to find a permanent location failed due to political opposition and controversy, the remaining districts of Ocean View, Springdale and Fountain Valley were joined by those of Huntington Beach and Newport Elementary.
In 1906, the "school on wheels," as it was often called because of its inability to secure a permanent location, finally settled in Huntington Beach and began operation as Huntington Beach Union High School. Classes were initially held in the basement of an auditorium operated by the local Methodist church. Having received a land grant from the Huntington Beach Company, the high school completed construction of its first permanent buildings at its current location in 1908. By 1910, there were seven teachers and three clubs; Huntington Beach had a population of 815 people. By this time the four graduates had become an average of 14 graduates a year. The first graduating class consisted of six students, but expanded rapidly in the next decade into the hundreds.
In 1921, the Huntington Beach Company increased mining in abundant oil fields around the city bringing a wave of prosperity to the area. In 1926, the school's architects, Allison & Allison, a Santa Ana firm, described the school's structure as a Lombard Romanesque Revival. The iconic bell tower and auditorium were the first buildings constructed, and seven other buildings were built between 1926 and 1952. In the 1970s, Huntington Beach High School began construction of new facilities for a variety of reasons, the most prevalent was the earthquake on February 9, 1971. Some older buildings were demolished and rebuilt because of damage.
Huntington Beach High School is known for its bell tower and auditorium. They were originally built in 1903 and were rebuilt in 1926. In July 2009, renovations were completed on the 27,000 square-foot, 600- seat Darrel Stillwagon auditorium and the bell tower. Construction was also completed on the school's new 9,200-square-foot performing arts classrooms building and courtyard. The project was funded through the HBHSUSD modernization and expansion program.