The Carroll School Board voted unanimously Monday night to name the district’s newest elementary school Walnut Grove Elementary after the one-room schoolhouse Bob Jones built so that African American students in the area could receive an education.
The Board selected a name of historical/landmark significance from among more than 100 suggested by current and former students, residents and school employees during a two-week period this spring. The school will open in August 2011 and become home to all current Durham Elementary students and about 125 Johnson Elementary students living in the vicinity of the campus.
Trustees said while there were many suggestions to name the building after well-deserving individuals, they generally gravitated back to a name with historical significance to the area where the new school is being built. The school is located on North White Chapel Boulevard just south of Bob Jones Park.
According to local historians, John Dolford “Bob” Jones was born June 16, 1850 and moved to a farm near Roanoke, Texas in 1859. He eventually owned over 1,000 acres of land where he raised livestock and race horses. He and his wife, Almeady (Meady), were married in 1869. Bob Jones built a log cabin where he and Meady raised 10 children. To ensure their education, Bob hired a teacher to come live on his farm and teach his children. He later built a one-room schoolhouse on his property to accommodate other black families from nearby communities. He called the school Walnut Grove Elementary.
The school existed until 1951 when enrollment dropped to five and the students, including Bob Jones’ two youngest grandchildren, were transferred to schools in Fort Worth. Mr. Jones died December 25, 1936 at his home. A number of individuals suggested naming the elementary school after him, but Southlake already has a park and a nature center named after Mr. Jones.
Other top names considered as part of the process were Lonesome Dove Elementary, Southlake Elementary, White Chapel Elementary and Mabel Cate Elementary. Mrs. Cate was a long-time Southlake resident who worked as a CISD cafeteria manager for 17 years.