As you come into town from US-277 you will see a large one story abandoned building at the north end of Stamford, Texas. It’s an interesting old building that’s been abandoned for years if not decades.
The School’s History
Booker T. Washington School in Stamford, Texas was built in 1919 for the African American community living in town and the surrounding areas. The building you see in the photograph is the main building and housed grades 1-8 and a Home Economics room with a kitchen. Grades 1–3 shared a classroom, grades 4-6 shared a room, and grades 7 and 8 shared a room. I’ve been told that there were several other buildings on the campus grounds and one of those buildings housed grades 9-12. As for the rest of the buildings no other information has surfaced.
In 1966 Stamford, Texas closed the school because of desegregation, which was well after the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision. Mr. Charles Giddings was the last person to serve as principal of the school.
I also received an old picture of the school’s basketball team. Below is a picture of the team taken in the 1940s with a list of those in the pictures. Historical information provided by Lynette Harris; her uncle provided information on the players.
From the top, left to right as follows:
- Mr. Charles Giddings was the Principal and head coach, now deceased
- Donnell Kennison (#9), now deceased
- Rush Johnson (#10), now deceased
- Cullun McGilber (#7) went by the nick name QC, now deceased
- Ben Johnson (#11), currently living in Midland
On the bottom, left to right as follows:
- Louie Davis, now deceased
- Edward Harris, now deceased
- Billy Baker (Billola), now lives in Arizona
After the school closed, it was purchased by Rev. Horn and converted into rental apartments. Later it was occupied by Ms. Lucy Mae Brown who lived there and collected various things (some considered it hoarding). She sold some of her great collection out of an antique or junk store in part of the building.
I am currently waiting for information as to when the property was abandoned. If anyone has images or stories to share about this old school, please comment below. Contact us by email if you would prefer for us to add the information directly to the page instead of posting a comment. Please contact us if you have images related to this article or any other story posted on Vanishing Texas.
The Condition of the Booker T. Washington School
The building is a total loss and is in danger either of being torn down by the city or of nature reclaiming it in the near future. The roof has collapsed and covers the floor. If there were any personal effects of the previous owner left behind, there aren’t any now. It has been picked over and scrapped for anything of value, and what wasn’t taken was destroyed when the roof failed. The outer walls, a few inner walls, and what looks to be a chimney are all that is left.
Source: Many thanks to the families and residents of Stamford for helping my contacts in town to gather this information. Without their help we would not have been able to add the history of the school to Vanishing Texas.
A big thank you goes to the ladies that helped with this project. Please make sure to visit them if have any questions about Stamford or the surrounding areas. Their contact information is listed below.
- Sandra Rhea – Curator, Cowboy Country Museum, Stamford, TX (325)773-2500
- Lucile Wedeking – Director, Stamford Carnegie Library, Stamford, TX (325)773-2532, firstname.lastname@example.org
We Need Your Help!
If you have any information, pictures of the school, class pictures, or even pictures after the school was closed we would love to share them here. Please contact us using the comment form below, Contact Us page, or via our Facebook Page.
Please Note: This article was originally posted on February 17th, 2015 on my personal blog and the images were taken November 2014. This article will be updated as new information becomes available.
About the Images
The images were shot by hand around 11 in the morning with my Sony Nex-3N and Sony SEL16F28 16mm f/2.8. I then edited the images in Adobe Lightroom. Next, I post processed with Topaz Clarity to add texture, brighten, and bring out the details in the images. Then I removed the dust spots. Finally, I used Topaz DeNoise to remove the noise from the images.