History of Schools in Mineral Wells, Texas (Revised 2009)
Thanks to A.F. Weaver of Mineral Wells for his early research and publication in 1988 of his works, Time Was In Mineral Wells, for most of the dates of this review. I have revised a date and added more information to bring this history up to 2009.
According to A.F. Weaver, the first school was a rented house located at SE 1st Street and 2nd Avenue. The first teacher was H.M. Berry. Later it was moved to the Baptist Church located 1st Avenue and 4th Avenue.
1884 Rock Schoolhouse is built with the aid of R. E Hendry. This building is located at 201 NW 5th Avenue.
1891 Mineral Wells College, 101 NW 5th Avenue, is established by Professor John W. McCracken of Springtown, TX.
1900 Mineral Wells School, 816 SW 1st Avenue is opened for Negro students.
1902 First High School, West Ward School is built at 205 NW 5th Avenue.
1906 East Ward School, 306 NE 8th Avenue, was built and used until
1926 East Side Public School was opened.
1910 Kidwell Heights Elementary School, 1508 SE 6th Avenue, is built and used until 1942.
1951 it served as Junior High School until 1954.
1915 Houston School is located at East Ward School and used until 1930 when a new school is built.
1915 Second High School, 101 NW 5th Avenue, is built.
1933 Home Economics Building is added on the site of West Ward School. This was the first “stand alone” home economics building in Texas. The building is used as Administration Building in 1955.
1955 building is used as Junior High School.
1963 building is Fannin Elementary School until closed in 1973.
1920 Barber School, 1800 NE 1st Avenue, is built. An addition is made in 1942 and is named Cullen Grimes after a long time principal. Today the location is used by the Alternative School.
1921 Mineral Wells ISD is created by the 37th Texas Legislature.
1926 East Side School, 701 SE 9th Avenue, is built. An edition is added in 1942 and name changed to William B. Travis School.
1927 Dunbar School, 603 S. Oak, is built for Negro students. An addition is built in 1942 and in 1966. After schools are integrated, Dunbar School is used for Special Education offices until 1971. In 1976, School Administration and Maintenance Offices were located in this building.
1951-1954 Junior High School is located at Kidwell Heights location but moves to 101 NW 5th Avenue during semester break. This is the site of Second High School.
1953 Third High School, 900 SE 5th Avenue, is built. There are additions in 1963 of Library and in 1963 of a Band Hall.
1968 the school becomes Austin Junior High.
1990's the school becomes District Services Complex (DSC) and is still in operation.
1955 Lamar Elementary School, SE 12th Street and 22nd Avenue is built. Several additions to this building have been made.
1963 Robert E. Lee Junior High, 1200 SE 14th Street, is built.
1968 Fourth High School, 3801 NE 8th Street, is built. Street name changed to Ram Blvd. in the 1980s.
1969 Crockett Elementary School, 3803 NE 8th Street, is built to serve Fort Wolters as this was the time helicopter pilots were being trained at the base for Vietnam War. In 1971, the war was coming to a close and base closed in 1973-75 so the building was changed to Special Education Office and classrooms.
Special Education Department moved out relocated when high school needed more space. The building served as “I” Building complex for the high school until new fourth high school was completed.
Note: MWISD renovated a building on the south end of track field for use by the drill team in the 1980s. It was converted to an alternative school and was named DREAM Academy until 2009 when the name changed to Mineral Wells Academy.
2000 Fifth High School, 3801 Ram Blvd, is built on site of the original headquarters of Old Camp Wolters where in 1927, all mounted cavalrymen in the Texas National Guard came for summer training. Over 1000 men and horses were on this location until 1941 when the base was activated as an infantry training facility for WWII. It was the largest training facility in the world at the time. Today you can read of the history that has occurred on the campus. It is one of the few schools in Texas that has a historical marker. The campus now has approximately 60 acres.
On this high school complex, you will find a beautiful athletic complex of track field, tennis courts, softball and baseball fields that have been added over the past 10 years. A new football stadium was opened in 2008.
2015 The new replacement Lamar Elementary School, SE 12th Street and 22nd Avenue is built. It houses Pre-K, Kindergarten, and 1st grade.
Mineral Wells ISD
March 6, 2009
Mineral Wells’ oldest building is the Rock Schoolhouse, constructed in 1886, served as the first public school in Mineral Wells, Texas. It is currently owned by the Fifty Year Club, who are restoring and renovating the Mountaineer Park complex that also includes the Lillian Peak Home Economics Building, the 1937 WPA Amphitheater, and the old Mineral Wells High School building.
Stones were obtained from Rock Creek, hauled to the site, and hand-cut. It currently operates as a museum featuring early history of Mineral Wells. It remained in use as a school building until 1972, serving the educational needs of the community for 86 years. Apparently, the 128 year old building is still serving in an educational role, providing free history lessons about the community and its early years as a health spa destination commanding more than 100,000 visitors a year (Rock School House Museum, June 22, 2009, ).
Visible behind the Lillian Peek Home Economics cottage completed in 1934 is the rock amphitheater constructed by the WPA in 1937. The WPA completed a number of amphitheaters during the New Deal Administration, in state parks, community settings, and educational facilities.
In 1933, the state of Texas sent Lillian Peek, the state supervisor of home economics, to seek a site for a new home economics program. She selected Mineral Wells, a community located not far from Fort Worth, in rural Palo Pinto county. Originally intended to be located in a former school building, the city instead decided to demolish the old school and build the first free-standing house built for home economics educators in Texas.
The building was constructed of native stone. The WPA, led by contractor W. W. Brassel, worked one day for pay and one day for free to complete the building for occupancy on February 21, 1934. The “semi-Georgian” style cottage was designed by architect A. Howell, and cost $11,200, with additional cost for the furnishings of just over $2,000. The cottage contained a foods laboratory (kitchen with 6 units), clothing laboratory (containing sewing machines), living and dining room with rustic faux fireplace, bedroom, bathroom, and terrace. (“Lillian Peek homemaking building finished in 1934”, February 12, 2013,)
In 1913, the city of Mineral Wells voted a bond issue to build a new high school. Architect Cornelius Granbery Lancaster designed the building (Beil, 2010) with its “Mission Revival style parapets and polychromatic brickwork along the roofline” (Texas Historical Commission State Marker). Contractor J. S. Murphy completed it in 1914, and the first class graduated 1915. The last high school graduating class was 1953; it remained in use first as a junior high, and then as an elementary school until 1973. Renovation began in 2001 for use as a community center (Texas Historical Commission).