Private Education in Dallas — 1916

dallas-educational-center_ursuline_ca-1916_degolyer-library_smu_photoThe looming Ursuline Academy in Old East Dallas

by Paula Bosse

Here is a collection of photos and mini-histories of several of the top private schools that Dallas parents were ponying up their hard-earned cash for in 1916. Some were boarding schools, some were affiliated with churches, some were rooted in military discipline, some were medical schools, and some were places to go to receive instruction on the finer things in life, such as music and art. Sadly, only one of these buildings still stands. But two of the schools in this collection have been operating continuously for over 100 years (Ursuline and Hockaday), and two more are still around, having had a few name changes over the years (St. Mark’s and Jesuit). Here’s where the more well-to-do girls and boys of Dallas (…and Texas — and many other states) were sent to become young ladies and gentlemen. 

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THE URSULINE ACADEMY (above) — Mother Mary Teresa, superioress — the block bounded by Live Oak, Haskell, Bryan, and St. Joseph. This school for girls and young women was established in Dallas by the Ursuline Sisters in about 1874 — and it continues today as one of the city’s finest institutions. The incredible gothic building was… incredible. So of course it was demolished (in 1949, when the school moved its campus to its present-day North Dallas location). See what it looked like at its Gothic, grandiose height in a previous Flashback Dallas post here.

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MISS HOCKADAY’S SCHOOL FOR GIRLS — Miss Ela Hockaday, principal — 1206 N. Haskell. Hockaday was (and is) the premier girl’s school of Dallas society — like Ursuline, it is still going strong (and, like Ursuline, it moved away from East Dallas and is now located in North Dallas). In 1919, three years after these photos were taken, Miss Hockaday would buy the former home of Walter Caruth, Bosque Bonita, set in a full block at Belmont and Greenville in the Vickery Place neighborhood — there she built a large campus and cemented her place as one of the legendary educators in Dallas history. (In 1920, Hockaday’s annual tuition for boarding students eclipsed even the hefty tuition of The Terrill School for Boys: Miss Hockaday had parents lined up to pay her $1,000 a year — now the equivalent of about $13,000 — to educate and refine their daughters at her prestigious institution.)

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MISSES HOLLEY’S SCHOOL FOR GIRLS — Miss Frances Holley and Miss Josephine Holley, principals — 4528 Ross Avenue (at Annex). Another somewhat exclusive school that catered to young society ladies was the Holley school, established in 1908 by the two Holley sisters, who limited their student body to only 35 girls. The school (which is sometimes referred to as “Miss Holley’s School” and “Holley Hall” — and which was located behind the sisters’ residence) closed in 1926.

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ST. MARY’S COLLEGE — Miss Ethel Middleton, principal — Garrett and Ross Avenue.  This Episcopal-Church-associated boarding and day school for girls and young ladies was one of the Southwest’s leading institutions of learning for young women. When established in 1889, it was built outside the city limits on a “hill” — back then the area around the school was often referred to as “College Hill.”

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THE TERRILL SCHOOL FOR BOYS — M. B. Bogarte, head master — 4217 Swiss Avenue (at Peak). The exclusive boys school in Dallas (which, after several mergers, continues today as St. Mark’s); the cost of a year’s tuition for boarding students in 1920 was $850 — the equivalent of about $11,000 — a very pricey school back then. More on the Terrill School can be found in previous Flashback Dallas posts here and here.

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THE HARDIN SCHOOL FOR BOYS — J. A. Hardin, principal — 4021 Swiss Avenue. This prep school was affiliated with the University of Texas. It was located for a while in downtown Dallas and for a time at the location seen below in Old East Dallas, but in 1917 it either bought out and merged with the Dallas Military Academy or that school went out of business, because the Hardin School settled into the military academy’s location, which had been Walter Caruth’s old home, Bosque Bonita, at Belmont and Greenville, where boys were marching around doing drills until Miss Hockaday moved in two years later in 1919.

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DALLAS MILITARY ACADEMY AND SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING — C. J. Kennerly, superintendent — Belmont & Greenville Ave. This “practical school for manly boys” opened up in 1916 in a large house which had been built by Walter Caruth in the area now known as Lower Greenville. The Dallas Military Academy lasted for only one year until the large house became home to the Hardin School for Boys in 1917 (and, two years later in 1919, it became the longtime home of the Hockaday School). If you didn’t click on the link for it above, now’s your chance to read more about the history of Caruth’s grand house, Bosque Bonita, here.

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UNIVERSITY OF DALLAS — Very Rev. P. A. Finney, president — Oak Lawn Ave. & Gilbert. When it opened in 1906, this school was known as Holy Trinity College; its name was changed to the University of Dallas in 1910. The University of Dallas closed in 1928 because of lack of money; it was later known as Jesuit High School until Jesuit moved to North Dallas — the grand building was demolished in 1963. (See an aerial view of this huge building here.)

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THE MORGAN SCHOOL (formerly the Highland Park Academy) — Mrs. Joseph Morgan, principal — 4608 Abbott. A co-ed school.

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POWELL TRAINING SCHOOL — Nathan Powell, president — Binkley & Atkins (now Hillcrest) in University Park. I believe this is the only building in this post still standing — more can be read in the earlier post “Send Your Kids to Prep School ‘Under the Shadow of SMU’ — 1915,” here. (That is, in fact, a bit of the very, very young SMU campus seen in the distance at the bottom right.)

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BAYLOR MEDICAL COLLEGE — E. H. Cary, dean — 720 College Ave. (now Hall Street).

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DALLAS POLYCLINIC/POST-GRADUATE MEDICAL SCHOOL — John S. Turner, president — S. Ervay & Marilla (affiliated with Baylor Medical College).

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STATE DENTAL COLLEGE — 1409 ½ South Ervay, across from the Park Hotel (more recently known as the Ambassador Hotel).

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HAHN MUSIC SCHOOL — Charles D. Hahn, director — 3419 Junius. 

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AUNSPAUGH ART SCHOOL — VIvian Aunspaugh, director — 3409 Bryan. A well-established Dallas art school for 60 years. Miss Aunspaugh died in 1960 at the age of 90 and was said to have been giving lessons until shortly before her death. (The photo below of the exterior is the only one here not from about 1916 — that photo is from 1944.)

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aunspaugh-art-school_james-bell_1944_DHSvia Dallas Historical Society

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Sources & Notes

All images (but one) from the booklet “Dallas, The Educational Center of the Southwest” (published by the Educational Committee, Dallas Chamber of Commerce, and Manufacturers Association, Dallas, ca. 1916), from the collection of the DeGolyer Library, SMU Libraries, Southern Methodist University; more information on this publication — and a full digital scan of it — can be found at the SMU site, here.

The exterior photo of the Aunspaugh Art School is from the Dallas Historical Society, taken in 1944 by Dallas resident James H. Bell; more information on this photo is at the DHS site, here.

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Copyright © 2019 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.