To celebrate the centennial of Carroll Hill School, the first school in our award-winning school district and the place where the City of Southlake was born, the Southlake Historical Society is presenting an exhibit from July 12-September 6 in the lobby of Town Hall and in the Southlake Public Library located at 1400 Main St. A free ice cream social and reception open to all will be 5-6:30 p.m. on July 28.
For years, the school was the centerpiece of the community; in 1917, Tarrant County consolidated one-room schools in now-Southlake into District No.99. Farmers and others in this poor, rural district (property values totaled $207,000) voted to raise their taxes to build a brick schoolhouse. In 1919, after World War I had ended, it was built. The school was named for B. Carroll, the Tarrant County Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Carroll Hill, the school built on a hill, was not fancy like schools in Grapevine and Bedford. It had three classrooms that held nine grades. “The original Carroll building … is as plain, sturdy and practical as the farmers who built it,” Mary Ann King, Carroll’s granddaughter, told Carroll ISD trustees in 2009 when it was feared the building would be torn down. “In this throwaway society, it is important to have an anchor to the past. It takes tangible things, something to touch, to remind us all of the history that has gone before.”
The school still stands, at 1055 N. Carroll Ave., north of Texas 114 and next to the former Carroll Intermediate School (now Southlake Baptist Church). There is a Texas historical marker out front. The school is not open to the public.
The exhibit will include pictures of students from 1919 into the 1960s, plus a special picture of 2019 Carroll graduates in front of the school. Drawings made with the input of women and men who attended Carroll Hill in the 1930s and ’40s will give a look at the school’s classrooms, stage and removable chalkboards. Visitors will also see pictures and history of the early days of Southlake, established in 1956.
Because of racial segregation, black and biracial students could not attend Carroll Hill. In 1920, local rancher Bob Jones had Walnut Grove School built for his grandchildren and neighbors’ children. The school closed in 1951 because most of its seven or so students were ready to enter junior high, for which they had to go to Fort Worth. Carroll ISD’s newest elementary school is named in honor of the one-room Walnut Grove School.
This being a school exhibit, there will be lots to learn. Learn which city was aiming to annex our area when local citizens voted at Carroll Hill School to incorporate into the town of Southlake. Learn lots of Carroll “firsts,” including which activity earned the district its first state championship (no, it wasn’t football — or any sport).
Also learn about Denton’s Annie Webb Blanton, who in 1918 was the first woman elected to statewide office (state Superintendent of Public Instruction) and whether Clyde Barrow attended Carroll Hill School.
The future of the old school is not yet known.
Graphic design for the exhibit was done by Courtney Fray-Dingemanse of Grapevine, owner of the boutique marketing agency Fray Design Firm. She is a Grapevine Heritage Foundation board member.
Drawings were done by artist Karen Davidenko of Grapevine, who also teaches special education at Cannon Elementary School in Grapevine.
The exhibit is free and will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday -Thursday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The exhibit is closed on Sundays, except for the reception from 5-6:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 28 in Town Hall. The reception is open to the public.
Graphic Header – Artist, Karen Davidenko