The “Red Brick” Is No More

Pampa ‘s school trustees for 1909-10 were H.J. Lippold, J.C. Rider and C.P. Sloan. The teachers were J.T. Claggett and his sister, Miss Maggie Claggett, Miss Mittie Farrington (Mrs. C.A. Tignor), Miss Ella Mallow and Mrs. Frances Knox.

Photo of Eloise Lane

Eloise Lane

By that time school enrollment had reached 150 pupils and it was deemed necessary to expand the school facilities. A bond was voted on and a two-story red brick building consisting of six classrooms and an auditorium was constructed at 309 North Cuyler at a cost of $15,000. It was ready for occupancy on September 10, 1910. At that time Pampa had a six-month school and was the largest school district in Gray County .

The red brick building was named Lamar School for Mirabeau B. Lamar who followed Sam Houston as president of the Republic of Texas . Lamar was honored as the “Father of Education” in Texas because of his measures to donate part of the public domain to the funding of a public school and university system.

For the first school year at Lamar School , J.M. Daugherty, Jr. came from Dumas to join the Claggetts and other teachers. For 1911-1912 Daugherty was hired as superintendent for a nine-month term at $113.50 a month. High school teachers had a salary of $45 monthly and primary teachers received $50 monthly. At the close of the school year in the spring of 1912, the students assembled in the school auditorium. The superintendent made a “nice short talk” and presented a diploma of graduation to Austa Rhoades, the first graduate of Pampa High School . ( Austa Rhoades Duncan died November 13, 1918 during the flu epidemic and was buried in Fairview Cemetery.)

In the spring of 1914, five girls and one boy were graduated from Pampa High School. Marvin Daugherty was the teacher and the graduates were Lila Talley, Augusta Duncan (Murfee), Stella Herndon (Sloan), Georgia Vicars, Lela Baird ( Walker ) and Fred Cary. Immediately following the ceremonies, the graduates took their diplomas and joined the whole town at a dance in the Simms Restaurant at 115 South Cuyler.

For ten years the “red brick” accommodated the entire school, but once again increased enrollment made a new building necessary. Although the tan brick building, opened in 1920 at 126 West Francis, was intended for all eleven grades and an auditorium, the “red brick” was still used.

For a time private music and expression teachers gave lessons in the building. For 1924-25 the fourth grade taught by Marile Lowe occupied the southeast corner of the first floor and the seventh grade taught by Jenkie Collins (Mrs. Bob Campbell) occupied the northeast corner. These two teachers shared an apartment with a second grade teacher, and the three were billed in a local grocery store as “Collins, Cook, and Lowe.”

In 1927-28 three seventh grade classrooms occupied the south side of the second floor and three sixth grade classrooms were on the north side. Josephine Cariker was the homeroom teacher for 7-C in the southwest corner and Miss Roy Riley was the writing and art teacher for the sixth and seventh grades.

In 1928-29 the new east wing of the tan brick building at 126 West Francis provided space for the junior high grades and the “red brick” was used for various high school activities. The girls’ glee club met in a room on the second floor in 1931-32. The high school band met in a room on the first floor. For some time (at least in the 1940s) the second floor of the “red brick” was used as the school cafeteria.

Robert E. Lee Junior High School (now Pampa Middle School ) and Austin Elementary School were ready for occupancy in the fall of 1957, and the “red brick” was no longer needed. It was razed in the summer of 1959. Boatman’s First Motor Bank now occupies the space that was the location of the “red brick” which is still remembered by many older Pampans.

Over 200 Articles, written by Eloise Lane, were published in the Pampa News. These articles may be accessed by clicking on each section below. A list of articles will be revealed that are linked to a page containing the text of the article.

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