The school was founded in 1905 in Ottoman-controlled Jaffa. As the Hebrew name suggests, it is a Gymnasium school. In 1909 it moved to Herzl Street in Tel Aviv and was renamed in honour of Theodor Herzl. Today the school is located on Jabotinsky Street in Tel Aviv and serves as a six-year secondary school.
The school constituted one of the main centers of culture and education in Tel Aviv until 1962, when the site was razed for the construction of the Shalom Meir tower. The decision to raze the historic building rather than repair and perserve it was met with much objection from former alumni, architects, and intellectuals. The destruction of the building led to a widespread recognition as to the importance of building conservation. The Society for Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites was founded in the eighties following, among other factors, the great waves of protest against the destruction of the building, and the iconic facade of the building is used as the society's logo to remind people of that terrible mistake.
Among its most prominent directors were Baruch Ben Yehuda and Carmi Yogev. In 1992, former Air Force commander, Ron Huldai was appointed principal of the high school. He implemented many changes and modernizations that would spread to other schools after his tenure. After leaving his position, he went on to be elected mayor of Tel Aviv in 1998. The current Director General of Herzliya Hebrew High School is Hana Neheman.
Architect Joseph Barsky intended to evoke Solomon's Temple at Jerusalem, thought by leading authorities at the turn of the century to have featured a pair of enoumous Egyptian-style pylons, echoed in the building's unusual towers.