history of Texarkana Arkansas Jr. & High schools

Article is titled for the Arkansas Jr. High, but there is some on the High School also.



Photo's that go with this article:

First Arkansas High 1911:  This is a picture of the First Texarkana Arkansas High School, located at the corner of 5th and Beech Streets.  After the new Arkansas High School was built at 932 Pecan, it was used as a Manual Training building until 1914 when the first Junior High School was established in the State of Arkansas and one of the few in the United States.

Arkansas High after 1914 

Central Ward School

Fairview School:  This is a picture of the four year elementary Fairview School located at 801-15 East 10th St. Between Locust and Garland Streets.  Later it became the second building used as the Arkansas Junior High School when it was moved from 5th and Beech Street.

In 1935, the Journalism Class of Texarkana, Arkansas Junior High School, gathered the following information about the beginning of its history. The following persons were interviewed, Mr. Otto Forehand, Mrs. L. A. Tanlunson, Miss Lula Stegall, Mrs. Talbert Field, and Mrs. Fleet Cook. 

Many did not realize that this was a comparatively new concept at this time. The School Board of Texarkana, Arkansas was a pioneer in adapting education for the adolescent. In fact, the first Junior High School established in Texarkana, Arkansas in 1914, was the first in the state of Arkansas and among the first in the United States. 

The first High School built in Texarkana, Arkansas was a small brick building at the corner of 5th and Beech Street. After the new High School was built, between Short 10th and 10th Streets and Hickory and Pecan Streets, the old High School building became the new Junior High School. The superintendent of schools at this time was Mr. Ury McKenzie. His Junior High faculty consisted of C. G. Truitt as principal and teacher of mathematics; Miss Iola Edwards (now Mrs. Talbot Field), geography and physiology; Miss Annie Whitney, Latin; and Miss Stella Thomas, English. Before the seventh, eight, and ninth grades were moved into this building in 1914, they were a part of the Central School, a larger building situated on the same block between 5th and 6th Streets facing Ash Street. 

In 1916 Mr. Truitt resigned as principal of junior high, and Mr. Otto Forehand, who was the principal of the College Hill School, was elected to take his place. In 1917, an addition was made to the faculty in the person of Miss Camille Lucas who taught English until she married Mr. Fleet Cook. His father, Attorney W. G. Cook, had been an important influence on the educational life of this city. 

In the spring of 1917, the junior high school was moved from 5th and Beech Streets to 11th Street between Garland and Locust Streets. This Eight Room building was originally built as a Four Year elementary school known as Fairview. It was converted into a junior high because of its nearness to the senior high school and could have access to the Gymnasium and Manuel Training Shop of senior high. 

After moving into the larger building, new courses were added to the curriculum and new teachers were added to the faculty. Miss Ruth Hamilton taught Latin and girls basketball, which was the only physical education offered girls. Home Economics and Manuel Training were added and students reported to senior high for these courses. Mrs. Sudin Delemar Nix had charge of the Home Economics classes and R. B. Lawson had charge of the Manual Training department for both senior and junior high students. Later, this situation was abandoned and laboratories and shops were installed in junior high. 

Starting with very few books in the library, it now at this date, 1935, contains 2300 volumes of the best books for adolescent students. This collection includes reference material, biography, travel, discovery, invention and carefully selected fiction. The general library is in connection with the study hall where students can prepare for reference work and read for recreation and required reading for English. An honors library has also been opened for students who can work without teacher supervision.     

The work continued this way, and faculty continued with few changes until December 1920, when Mr. Forehand resigned as principal to accept the office of County Superintendent. Mr. R. L. Clements was elected as principal of the Junior High School after Mr. Forehandís resignation. Superintendent, Mr. Ury McKenzie, resigned his position in 1920 to accept the position of Superintendent of Hot Springs Schools and Mrs. S. E. Green was elected to succeed Mr. McKenzie. Mrs. Y. E. Montgomery, formally head of the mathematics department in junior high, became principal during Mrs. Greenís administration. Mr. P. N. Bragg succeeded Mrs. Green as Superintendent and became head of the Texarkana Arkansas School system. 

Submitted by Betty Meador Sharp


Manual of the Texarkana, Arkansas Public Schools, 1911.

Texarkana Gazette, dated 12 May 1935.

Photos from Collection of Bill Sharp