Preservin’ It, Old School

To our credit, we have preserved some of our oldest school buildings. Here is one from each side of town:

North: Denver Avenue Elementary School (now Rufino Mendoza Sr. Elementary School) was built in 1910 as the “15th District School” when the advent of the two packing plants caused a population explosion on the North Side.

South: Daggett Elementary School, built in 1909, is the oldest Fort Worth school building that is still used for its original purpose. Additions to the building have included a wing in 1926, designed by Wiley G. Clarkson. The school is named for Ephraim Merrell Daggett (1810-1883).

East: At a mere ninety, this is the baby in this batch. Tandy Elementary School on Purington was built in 1922 by the Polytechnic school district and named for Poly civic leader George Tandy (1846-1921). The school closed in the 1970s. The building is now part of a retirement home.

West: This school building on El Campo Avenue, designed by Sanguinet and Staats, was built in 1909 by the Arlington Heights Independent School District. When the city of Fort Worth annexed Arlington Heights in 1922, the district was absorbed into the Fort Worth school district. The school was originally called “Arlington Heights Public School” and housed all grades, but after annexation it became Arlington Heights Elementary School. It is now part of the school district’s Boulevard Heights Transition Center. (Note the old-fashioned drinking fountain.)

If you know this one, go to the head of the class. This building is the joker in the hand. It’s not in Fort Worth. It’s the Old Bedford School, built in 1915 and closed in 1969. It has been restored and houses a visitors center, museum, meeting rooms, and a 1915-era classroom.

This entry was posted in Architecture, Downtown, All Around, East Side, North Side, Public Buildings, South Side, West Side. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Preservin’ It, Old School

  1. Keith Wilson says:

    What a find! Glad someone has taken an interest and time to reminisce about old Ft Worth. I went to Daggett and spent 2nd grade in the building pictured, first floor, right corner. Great memories.

  2. Tera Collum says:

    I was on the committee when the Bedford School was nearing its renovation. It is worth the drive to see it.

  3. Paul Basham says:

    I attended both Denver Elem. and J. P. Elder Junior High in the mid sixties. My father was the minister at Boulevard Methodist Church on Circle Park Boulevard. It is unfortunate the church is no longer there. It did not want to seem to change with the times or the neighborhood.
    No matter the racial makeup the schools are now, I know there is still a great spirit of education in both schools. No matter the obstacle, the passion for teaching children has not changed in the last fifty years.
    Thank you for the trip down memory lane. As I turn sixty, the memories of my childhood grow more and more dear to me with each passing day. It is nice to know both schools are going strong.

    • hometown says:

      Paul: You’re welcome One of my Poly High School classmates is an educator at Elder. I was born on the North Side but grew up on the East Side. Rediscovering the North Side and its rich history has been great fun for this “ex-pat.” Time and again I see a building and say, “I didn’t know that was there.”

  4. Roivon Evans-Moore says:

    I just found your website! Love the pictures and info. I attended Alice Carlson Elementary School in the early 1960s and I would like to know if you have pictures posted here. I’m excited to explore more of this site! Thanks!

  5. Nick Loesch says:

    I think there is a building older than that on West side just a bit further out at Pershing and Prevost. My understaning is that it was turn of century (1900) school before the one you listed. Houses Lexa’s

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    • hometown says:

      Nick, I think that Pershing building, 1896, is the second-oldest still standing but is a far ride for me. Stephen F. Austin, 1892, is featured in another post. So many great later school buildings–Peter Smith, Sam Rosen, Sam Houston, M. G. Ellis, Circle Park–were torn down or burned.

  6. Steve A says:

    Actually, the last one was the only one I DID know; being on my daily commute route.

    • hometown says:

      My first newspaper job was in HEB in the late 1960s. That area was still largely farmland. I don’t remember seeing that school, but it and the windmills musta provided the skyline for years.

    • Steve A says:

      Many early teachers at the Bedford School are buried in the same Bedford Cemetery as William Hurst; featured in a previous post of yours.

    • hometown says:

      That makes sense. What is especially nice about that school building is that after all these years and additions and fires and neglect and restoration, it looks more like it originally did than do most schools its age.

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