Our Lady of Good Counsel, Oak Cliff — 1901-1961
by Paula Bosse
by Paula Bosse
Talking to my aunt today reminded me that she briefly attended Our Lady of Good Counsel, the all-girls Catholic high school in Oak Cliff next to the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, at the northwest corner of North Marsalis (originally named Grand Avenue) and 9th Street. I’m still not sure why she went there (our family isn’t Catholic), but she seems to have enjoyed her time there for a year or two before she transferred to Crozier Tech.
The school building was the former palatial home of wealthy businessman James T. Dargan, a one-time partner of Thomas L. Marsalis. The house was built about 1888, and according to Dallas Rediscovered author William L. McDonald, it was designed by the Dallas architectural firm of Stewart and Fuller.
The church was holding services in Oak Cliff as early as 1901, and an affiliated school was established by Rev. Francis P. Maginn in September of that year. It appears that the Dargan house was acquired in 1902, the same year that the (new?) church building was dedicated in ceremonies officiated by Bishop E. J. Dunne.
Below, the new church can be seen in a photo which appeared in The Dallas Morning News on the day of its dedication in June, 1902 (all images are larger when clicked):
The neighboring school can be seen in these two early photos:
The school’s founder, Rev. F. P. Maginn:
And an early ad for the school, from 1903 (“Discipline mild, yet firm”):
Here it is in 1942:
And here are some of the LGC high school students from 1944, looking bobby-soxer-y (with another view of the augmented house in the lower left corner):
The newest additions to the building can be seen in the 1959 yearbook:
In 1961, Our Lady of Good Counsel was a fast-fading memory: a new 32-acre campus had been acquired and on it had been built the new (coed) Bishop Dunne High School. Mr. Dargan’s old house-turned-school-building was torn down a few years later, and the land became a parking lot for the Blessed Sacrament church next door (which had also seen many changes and a new building over the years). Today, the view of the land the Dargan house sat on 130 years ago looks like this. (The church looks like this.)
The church in 1930:
And in 1958 (from the LGC yearbook):
This visual aid will help give an idea of the acreage of both the school (circled in red) and the church (circled in blue), via the 1905 Sanborn map:
I’m still not sure why my aunt went there….
UPDATE: For those who might have wanted to see some interior photos, I didn’t find many, other than typical classroom shots, but here are some additional photos, a couple of which show the hallway.
Between classes, 1959:
Girls lining up to go into class, 1960:
Girls outside playing volleyball, 1960:
I had erroneously assumed that LGC was an all-girls 4-year high school; I believe it was a 12-year school, with boys and girls up to high school level, when it became girls-only. This photo appeared in the 1960 yearbook with the following caption: “The safety of all LGC students is the responsibility of the school as long as the students are on campus. For this reason, Officer H. A. Baxtley is available every day as a gracious escort for our little ‘Lions’ across the busy Ninth and Marsalis intersection.”
And finally, because I’m such a movie nerd who loves character actors, I was happily surprised to see that the actress K Callan was a 23-year-old drama teacher (etc.) at the school in 1959 before she entered the professional acting world of New York and Hollywood. (Callan was born in Dallas as Katherine “Kay” Borman and actually attended Our Lady of Good Counsel as a student before she taught there.) (UPDATE: Read K’s memories of her time at LGC in the comments, here.)
Sources & Notes
All photos of the school (except the one from 1905) are from various editions of Reveries, the yearbook for Our Lady of Good Counsel.
The 1902 photo was posted in the Dallas History Guild Facebook group.
The 1905 photo is from Dallas Rediscovered by William L. McDonald (p. 215), with the following credit: “Courtesy of Sister M. Adelaide Mars.”
The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church still stands, at 231 N. Marsalis; their website is here.
Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.