EAGLE FORD SCHOOL, 1601 Chalk Hill Rd. Built 1923
Only Eagle Ford Community Building Still Standing
Bonnie Parker’s Report Card Found In Box In Basement
The Eagle Ford School Today
The following is an excerpt from the Landmark Designation Report prepared by Marcel Quimby of Quimby/McCoy Preservation Architecture, commissioned by the Dallas Mexican American Historical League and partially funded by a grant provided by the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League.
The Eagle Ford School was built in 1923 and is Gothic Revival architectural style.
The historic significance of the Eagle Ford School is twofold with the first being its direct association with several historic communities in western Dallas County that the school served – the Eagle Ford community, Trinity Portland Cement Company’s residential villages, Arcadia Park (an unincorporated community) and rural residents in this area of the county. Second, Eagle Ford school is the only remaining building associated with the Eagle Ford community and the Trinity Portland Cement Company, the largest manufacturer of Portland cement and other cement products in Dallas county from 1909 until 1970.
Eagle Ford School typically provided elementary and middle school education. Most smaller school districts and Dallas County Schools during this time did not have high schools. However Mrs. Bosse, noted in a later interview with the Dallas Morning News that prior to annexation by Dallas Schools in
1928, Eagle Ford School provided a high school department.55 Students who wished to pursue high school
could attend the nearby Cement City high school or a Dallas Pubic School high school – either Dallas High School in downtown Dallas, or Oak Cliff School after 1915.
Bonnie Parker is thought to have attended Eagle Ford School in the 1920s.56 Born in 1910 in Rowena, Texas, Bonnie, her mother and two siblings moved to Dallas County upon the death of her father in 1914.
The family lived with her maternal grandparents, Frank and Mary Krause in a rural area adjacent to the Trinity Portland Cement Company.57 It is possible that Bonnie did attend Eagle Ford School (the second or existing building) during elementary or middle school while living nearby at her grandparent’s home. She later attended Cement City School High School but dropped out in the summer following her sophomore year and married Roy Thornton on September 25, 1926 (several days before her 16th birthday).
By January 1, 1924, construction on the new school had not yet been completed as a newspaper article implied the school ‘will include an auditorium’.46 An article from the following month noted that construction on the new Arcadia Park common school district No. 49 was progressing, and that it would be a modern four-room building with indoor lavatories and chemical toilets, electric lights, current for which
will be obtained from the high voltage transmission line. As the subject Eagle Ford School is ‘District 49′, it seems the name of the school continued to be under discussion or reporting in the Dallas papers was not up to date with current activities of the Dallas County Schools and the smaller, rural school districts. However, when the school opened in fall 1924, the concrete sign on the front facade reflected its’ name -‘Eagle Ford School District 49’.
The new school served Anglo and Mexican American children from the southern areas of Eagle Ford, Trinity Portland Cement Company’s residential villages including Cemento Grande, Arcadia Park (to the west) and surrounding rural areas. This location was across the road from the Trinity Portland Cement Company plant and its residential villages. Trinity Portland Cement Company supplied the materials for
the cement blocks used in the two-story concrete structure while plant employees and residents in company’s housing villages contributed their labor to make these cement blocks and built the school their children would attend.
While the community of Eagle Ford is now a part of the City of Dallas, its early history of cattle shipping point, agricultural background and its cement plants (which were among the largest in Texas) and its more recent community with combined Mexican American and Anglo heritage is remarkable. The Eagle Ford School is associated not only with the community of Eagle Ford but with several historic communities in western Dallas County – Cement City, the Trinity Portland Cement Company’s housing villages including
Cemento Grande – whose children attended the school and Arcadia Park.
This school building remains as the only physical reminder of these communities in what is now the City of Dallas and it’s the rare almost 100-year old building in a rural setting that has such strong, diverse associations. It is also thought that the school is the only remaining public school in DISD in which students from a workers village or ‘company town’ attended.
Courtesy Heritage Oak Cliff. Note: The building has been purchased by Randy Dumse, president of New Micros,Inc.