In Part 2 we look at the First, Second, and Third Ward schools (see Part 1).
The First and Second Wards were located to the east and southward and to the west and southward, respectively, of the courthouse. The original First Ward and Second Ward schools, built in 1883, were eight-room wooden buildings that were almost identical in construction.
The First Ward School/School No. 1/Crockett School was located on East 2nd Street at Crump Street in northeast downtown. That site is now two single-family houses just east of the railroad tracks. (Photo from FWISD Billy W. Sills Center for Archives.)
The first school in the Second Ward was located on Belknap Street at Lamar Street where the Radio Shack campus is today. (Photo from FWISD Billy W. Sills Center for Archives.)
But in 1910 a replacement Second Ward School was built on 2nd Street at Florence Street on the homestead of John Peter Smith, who had died in 1901.
This handsome school building, with its crenellated towers, was named for Smith. It was torn down in 1970; the site is now a parking lot. Note the round concrete water fountain on the playground. (Photo from FWISD Billy W. Sills Center for Archives.)
The Third Ward School also opened in 1883.
The Third Ward was the southeast quadrant of town and included much of Hell’s Half Acre. The school was located at East 19th and Gay streets, just northeast of where I-35 and I-30 intersect today. (Photo from FWISD Billy W. Sills Center for Archives.)
The Third Ward School was also called the “Reagan School,” probably in honor of John H. Reagan, who was a U.S. senator from Texas and postmaster general of the Confederacy. This 1903 clip says Reagan was the last surviving member of Jefferson Davis’s cabinet.
John H. Reagan is second from the right in this sketch of Davis (center) and his cabinet. (Photo from Wikipedia.)
The history of the Third Ward is complicated because that ward, during the era of segregation, was the first ward to have schools for white students and schools for African-American students. The Third Ward included Fort Worth’s African-American “downtown.” At first African-American students had been taught in African-American churches. But as these Fort Worth Gazette and Fort Worth Register clips show (top to bottom), by 1883 Fort Worth had built a “colored school house”; by 1884 Principal Isaiah Milligan Terrell (1859-1931) and his wife Marcelite, a music teacher, were at School No. 6 in the Third Ward; by 1901 Fort Worth had designated a high school for African-Americans; and in 1902 the school was located on East 9th Street (at Pecan Street, across the railroad tracks from today’s Intermodal Transportation Center).
This is Principal Terrell’s school on East 9th at Pecan Street for grades one through eleven.
By 1910 the Reagan School building on East 19th Street had been converted from a school for white students to a school for African-American students. (Photo from FWISD Billy W. Sills Center for Archives.)
Also in the Third Ward on East 13th Street is this building, built in 1909 as the “Colored High School.” In 1921 it was renamed for I. M. Terrell, who had been its principal. The building, much expanded, now houses the Fort Worth Housing Authority.
Here is the original building in 1921. (Photo from Tarrant County College NE, Heritage Room.)
This Third Ward school building (1910) originally was named for Texas legislator Andrew J. Chambers and began service as a school for white students. But in 1931 the Chambers building was designated for African-American students and renamed “East Eighteenth Street Colored School No. K.” In 1936 I. M. Terrell High School, having outgrown the East 13th Street building, moved a few blocks south to the Chambers/No. K building. After major additions the 1910 building constitutes a small part of the total facility. It is now home of I. M. Terrell Elementary School.
(When she retired in 1997 Major General Marcelite Jordan Harris, great-granddaughter of I. M. and Marcelite Terrell, was the highest-ranking woman in the U.S. Air Force.)
By 1907, as this clip shows, the original three wooden schoolhouses of the First, Second, and Third Wards were in bad condition, and the Telegram said a new ward and new school were needed near Jennings and Terrell streets as the population expanded to the south.
Sure enough, by 1909 Fort Worth had an Eleventh Ward, and the Eleventh Ward/Alexander Hogg School was at that location. Alexander Hogg (1830-1911) was Fort Worth’s first superintendent of schools (1882-1905). The Hogg School building, still handsome, now houses apartments.