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).
According to the Old Mineral Wells High School Foundation (oldhighschool.net), the building is undergoing restoration one room at a time. Two rooms have been completed, one which contain a history of the school from 1913 through 1953, and one which is a restoration of a room to circa 1950s. Several educational exhibits were planned for 2014. The 250-seat auditorium is ready for renovation.
I confess to feeling a nostalgia for small towns, and the desire to be part of such an activity. I can actually visualize a committed group of town-folk being able to tackle one room at a time until the building is complete–a task far more doable when a building is still structurally sound and the roof hasn’t leaked or caved. Whatever Mineral Wells did to keep this building viable since its was put out to pasture in 1973, they deserve credit. Perhaps on the next trip by this building, the doors will be open for a visit.
Beil, G. K. (uploaded June 15, 2010). Lancaster, Cornelius Granbery. Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association.