Crozier Technical High School — ca. 1946

by Paula Bosse

crozier-tech_woodworking_cook-coll_degolyer_SMUThe Tech woodworking shop… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

It’s always seemed strange to me that Dallas had a technical high school where students were able to learn all sorts of various trades: auto mechanics, metal-working, industrial machine operation, commercial art, introductory science and engineering courses, and much more. Students — while still in high school — could develop skills and acquire practical knowledge in areas they wanted to pursue as careers; they could also discover (while still in high school) that what they thought they wanted to do as a career was absolutely NOT something they wanted to pursue. I imagine that many graduates were ready to step to into jobs immediately after graduation. 

In 1929, Bryan High School (the old “Central High School”) became Dallas Technical High School. In Denman Kelley’s “Principal’s Message” in the 1929 yearbook, he noted that this new idea in education “offers a wonderful opportunity to build up a school for those pupils whose educational needs are not met in the traditional schools…. As the volume of students grows, as the offerings increase with increasing needs, this school must truly become ‘A Greater School for All Dallas.'”

dallas-technical-high-school_1929_seal
Dallas Technical High School, 1929 yearbook

It offered four “general divisions of study” (each arranged in four-year courses): an industrial course, a commercial course, a home-economics course, and the regular literary course. Among the specialized classes offered were automotive repair, woodworking, architectural drawing, stenography, painting, and elementary business training. These courses at Dallas Tech were available to all high school students in the city, and many students jumped at the opportunity to transfer to the downtown campus. (In 1942 the school’s name was changed to N. R. Crozier Technical High School in honor of the late Dallas school superintendent.)

I’m still amazed by this — shouldn’t we still be doing this? I guess this is what magnet schools do, but is magnet-school participation among DISD students anywhere near as widespread as it once was when vocational classes were concentrated at the huge campus of Tech?

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Below are photos showing students in some of the classes available at Crozier Tech in the 1940s. (All photos are larger when clicked.)

crozier-tech_auto_cook-coll_degolyer_SMUUnder the hood

crozier-tech_forge_metal-works_cook-coll_degolyer_SMUAt the forge

crozier-tech_clinical-laboratory_cook-coll_degolyer_SMUIn the laboratory

crozier-tech_sewing_cook-coll_degolyer_SMUModeling finished products in sewing class

crozier-tech_radio_cook-coll_degolyer_SMUNoodling with radios?

crozier-tech_machine-shop_cook-coll_degolyer_SMUIn the machine shop

crozier-tech_nursing_cook-coll_degolyer_SMUIn the nursing course

crozier-tech_printing_cook-coll_degolyer_SMUSetting type in the printshop

crozier-tech_printing_linotype_cook-coll_degolyer_SMUWorking a letterpress and linotype machines (!)

There were also studio and commercial art courses. (I have to add this one because I’m pretty sure I now have evidence that in a previous life I was in a Crozier Tech sculpture class in 1946 — my doppelganger is the blurry girl in the center of the photo, looking with suspicion at the camera.)

crozier-tech_sculpture-clay-modeling_cook-coll_degolyer_SMU

Lastly, a photo of the handsome photography teacher, Orbette A. Homer, who taught at Tech from 1937 until his retirement in 1962. He and his students were responsible for these photos, some of which appeared in the 1946 Crozier Tech yearbook, The Wolf Pack.

orbette-a-homer_crozier-tech-yearbook_1960O. A. Homer, 1960

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Sources & Notes

All classroom photos are from the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU Libraries, Southern Methodist University; these images (and more from this Crozier Tech collection) can be found here.

The photo of Orbette Anderson Homer (1901-1968) is from the 1960 Crozier Tech yearbook.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.