T. B. Harris High School (former) – Belton TX

Project type: Schools, Education and Health
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Description

When the school for African American students burned in 1935, Belton sought a federal grant from the Public Works Administration (PWA) to replace the school and repair and renovate three other schools. PWA project [W]1431 for a grant of $13,590 was awarded 9/25/1935. Newspaper items used the terms PWA and WPA in referencing the new T. B. Harris School and repairs to the other city schools, but total amounts equal the cited costs and dates in the Texas region PWA records and it seems evident that the funds were provided by the Public Works Administration. Funds were secured in the amount of $27,000 for repairs on four buildings, and to erect the new school for African Americans. The school board provided the remainder of the funds through a $16,000 bond issue.

Attorney C. C. Countess managed the details of the program funding in conjunction with the PWA. Project A, the new school, cost $7,897.09. T. E. Sanderford and Associates was awarded the bid. Plumbing (contract A-1) went to John R. Fellrath with a bid of $2,214.29. Electric fixtures and installation went to Stanley Hunter and Son for $488. The one-story yellow brick building was dedicated July 7th, 1936. The school contained an auditorium, library, home economics and six other classrooms and was named the T. B. Harris High School, in recognition of the first and long-time African American educator in the community. The school also included a smaller two-room frame building for agricultural classes. Both buildings together represented “an outlay of some $22,000, forty-five per cent of which was a gift from the Federal government” (p. 4, Recent service dedicates new Harris school). The building is currently in use as the Harris Community Center.

Source notes

School Board launches drive for new Negro school building. (Aug. 8, 1935). Belton Journal and Bell County Democrat, p. 1.
T. E. Sanderford and Associates get contract. (Dec. 12, 1935). Belton Journal and Bell County Democrat, p. 1.
Recent service dedicates new Harris school. (Jul. 16, 1936). Belton Journal and Bell County Democrat, p. 4.
Equipment for Belton school now installed. (Apr 8, 1937). Belton Journal and Bell County Democrat, p. 1.
Report No. 5, Status of Completed Non-Federal Allotted Projects, Region No. 5 Texas. (January 3, 1940). Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works Projects Division, p. 185.

Project originally submitted by Susan Allen on April 22, 2022.

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Location Info


401 n. Alexnder Street
Belton, Texas 76513

Coordinates: 31.06142, -97.46632

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