Last week, AISD's Pease Elementary School celebrated its designation by the Texas Historical Commission as a Recorded Texas Historical Landmark by unveiling a historical marker in front of the school. AISD Trustees Amber Elenz, Gina Hinojosa and Ann Teich participated in the celebration with Superintendent Meria Carstarphen.
The school, originally the Austin Graded School House under the Austin Public Free Schools, opened in 1876-the same year Texas adopted its current constitution. Pease is the state's longest continually operating public school.
The school, which was the first school in Austin to be built entirely from public funds, also was the only public school in the city for a number of years. While it has had a number of renovations and additions over the years, as well as a few name changes, students are still learning under its roof 137 years later.
Timeline of events
- In 1839, the Republic of Texas dedicated the property upon which Pease Elementary School sits for public educational purposes.
- In 1876, the school opened under the name Austin Graded School House.
- In 1895, the school, then the West Austin Ward School, was remodeled, adding six rooms to the original 12.
- In 1896, a fire damaged the building. However, much of the original structure remained intact while the damaged portion was renovated, and an additional two rooms were added.
- In 1902, the school was renamed in honor of former Texas Gov. Elisha M. Pease, who enacted legislation establishing Texas' public school system in 1854.
- In 1916, renovations and additions were made to the original structure's east end, near Rio Grande Street.
- In 1926, Texas architect Hugo Kuehne added a cafeteria and classrooms above the cafeteria to the west end, near West Avenue.
- In 1949, the school was remodeled and rewired, but generally retained the integrity of the building's materials and design.
- In 1971, the Texas Legislature transferred the ownership of the property from the Republic of Texas to the City of Austin for school purposes to AISD, while retaining a right of reverter for the property to automatically vest to the state in the event AISD ceases to use the property for public educational purposes.
- In 1972, the Texas Historical Commission approved a Historical Marker for Pease Elementary School, which was dedicated April 28 of that year.
- In 2013, the Texas Historical Commission approved designation of Pease Elementary as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, its highest designation for properties judged to be historically and architecturally significant.
The Texas Historical Commission Official Texas Historical Marker Program, inaugurated in 1962, includes both the Recorded Texas Historic Landmark and subject marker programs. More than 15,000 markers have been placed across the state, including 3,600 RTHL markers. The Texas Historical Commission awards the RTHL designation to buildings at least 50 years old that are worthy of preservation for their architectural and historical associations.
For more information, please visit www.thc.state.tx.usor contact the Department of Communications and Community Engagement at 414-2414.
To view pictures from the unveiling, please visit the superintendent's Power of Us blog.