After 1906, Dr. G.J. Robinson came to the Heights and then Dr. T.A. Sinclair and Dr. B.V. Ellis. All three physicians located their offices over the drug store. These three doctors had individual offices and private practice, but always at least one "was in" and ready to help. The citizens of the north end of the Heights could depend for service at Johnson's drug store center, and the service was excellent. Sometimes a patient was sent to Houston to a specialist. One lady remembers when Dr. Robinson sent her to the old Scanlan Building to Dr. John Foster "to have her tonsils taken out." That delicate attention was given at home on the dining room table. Dr. Robinson gave the anaesthetic, the child's father acted as nurse (the mother could not look at blood) and the tonsils were yanked out in good order. Most treatment was the homey sort and most patients responded without the aid of a psychiatrist.
The hotel which Carter had built as a drawing card for the de luxe character of his addition ceased operation in 1899. It was leased then to Dr. Penn B. Thornton and a Dr. Davis. No record helps to authenticate this earliest period of the hotel's conversion to a hospital, but there is evidence that these doctors did not stay with the project for any length of time. Miss Nellie Kennedy, who had been last to help with the management of the hotel, stayed on for about six months with Doctors Thornton and Davis.
In the City Directory 1900-1901, Houston Heights Infirmary is listed. Opposite page 89 appears a full-page advertisement by Dr. W. T. Dickey, proprietor: "Baked Alive" treatment for gout, arthritis, and most chronic diseases, and then "we cure morphine and drug habits." The benefits of the "delightfully situated" infirmary are extolled with the further inducement of "the Houston Heights car every twenty minutes." In 1902-1903, Houston Heights Hotel is back in the Directory, with 0. M. Carter as manager. The next issue of the Directory omits all notice of the place, but in 1905, 0. M. Carter is entered as resident at the hote1.
Then in 1906, came another change with "J. Alvin Horne Sanatorium" named. Dr. Horne's management did not last long, for on May 30, 1908, the Heights Suburbanite ran an advertisement for the Texas Christian Sanitarium and lists the following names in connection with the new management: Wm. A. Wilson, President; Dr. W. W. Lunn, Vice-President;
A. F. Sanderson, Secretary; Dr. T. A. Sinclair, House Physician. Dr. John T. Moore also had interest in the project.
Originally the building was flush with the street. At this time it was moved back for landscaping. Old pictures show the change. The new sanitarium was well kept and a park at the side and back of the building made it something of a show place. But as a hospital the converted hotel was never too great a success. After a few years the place ceased operation as the Texas Christian Sanitarium and limped out its last stage as a home for feebleminded patients.
On June 7, 1955 the Houston Chronicle printed the story of the hospital's end in its column of "Forty Years Ago":
Actually the fire was on June 1, 1915. The "Forty Years Ago" column was in error.
One patient proved to be the hero of the fire; he rushed upstairs and persuaded his fellow patients to play tug-of-war with him. In this way he led many to safety. But a number of the patients fled and the neighborhood spent the rest of the day trying to find them. The burning of the hotel was the "big fire" in the history of the Heights. One early resident recalls the clamor and clangor as the Houston Fire Department trucks dashed out the Boulevard from the Washington Avenue Station. Horses were still used at the time, and one great horse from that station, after the long mad run, dropped dead when he reached the scene. The building was completely destroyed.
Later, Dr. Sinclair and his associates- would be the founders of a permanent hospital for the Heights, but their establishment comes after the period covered by this work as a history of Houston Heights as a municipality.
Dr. John Wroughton, after 1900, had his office and residence at 12th and Boulevard. But after 1904, Dr. Wroughton changed his office to an address on Washington Avenue. One early resident says that Dr. Wroughton was instrumental in founding the Hot Wells institution west of Houston as a health resort.
Dr. A. L. Miller also served the north section of the Heights and for a number of years after 1912 had his office above Fulton's Pharmacy. Dr. Miller is still practicing in 1955 and has his office at his home address, 13th and Yale.
In the south end of the Heights the City Directory in 1907 lists Dr. William Olive as physician, surgeon, and proprietor of Olive's Drug Store at 910 Yale. (It was next door to this drug store that the first volunteer fire department was housed, and,above it the first Masonic Lodge in the Heights organized.) Across the street, at 909 Yale, Dr. Robert H. Towles, also listed as physician, surgeon, and proprietor of a drug store, established his practice.
There were a number of doctors living in the Heights who practiced in Houston, but in the early days there were not too many who had offices in the Heights. There is no record of a dentist practicing in the Heights. However, in the early 1900's, Dr. D. W. Whipple and his family lived between 13th and 14th on the Boulevard, and at his downtown office Dr. Whipple attended to everybody in the Heights who had the toothache.
Later, after 1896, when the Heights had become incorporated as a municipality, we find scattered in the minutes of council meetings, data on the growing needs for adequate schools. At the meeting on December 5, 1898, John Milroy (secretary pro tem) enters an itemized account for labor amounting to $200.90 and for materials totaling $403.45 for the construction of Harvard Street School. One item, "desks -- $11.00"!
Another bill for both Cooley and Harvard Schools supplies is interesting as seen in the light of 20th century's year 1955:-
Altogether the year's supplies for the two schools for essential needs reached a total of $20.00. The city fathers evidently approved that last item as an expenditure of $0.50 for juvenile delinquency.
At a meeting on June 20, 1898, a motion was made by D. D. Cooley (presumably to raise the level) "that teachers of the higher grades be paid $50.00 per month and teachers of the lower grades $40.00..." From the group of applicants on the list presented at the meeting, the council members proposed "election by ballot." There is no mention of referring such selection of teachers to the school board. And there was a school board at the time. However, most of the council members were also school board members. The three teachers chosen at this particular meeting were:
A change must have been made after the voting because the City Directory for the next school term (1899) does not name Miss Clark. It gives Miss Annie Thielen at Harvard and Misses Emerald M. Jones and Kate Hill at Cooley. (Miss Hill, like Miss Clark, was listed from Hempstead.)
One more note from these early records is significant of its date in the middle of winter, in January, 1899:-
And on June 24, 1902, looking forward to a high school, the council deliberated an
The new building opened in 1894. D.D. Cooley was the principal speaker at the dedication ceremonies; and since it was Mr. Cooley who had led the movement to establish the school, it was suggested that it be named for him. Arthur W. Cooley remembers attending classes there with Miss J. Deady of Harrisburg as his first teacher. Miss Deady's father was honored years later when the James Deady Junior High School was named for him.
The next mention of a school in the Heights was in the City Directory 1897-1898, this time giving "Cooley Public School, No. 3, District 25 ws Rutland bt 16th 17th," and then in awkward fashion adding "Misses Couch, teachers." In 1899, Misses Emerald Jones and Kate Hill are named as teachers. Miss Hill continued for a number of years at Cooley; and when she resigned in the spring of 1905, on account of illness, Miss Ruby Webb finished the term. "Miss Ruby" then taught at Cooley School until her marriage in 1913 to Mr. 0.F. Carroll.
While the first addition, giving the school four new rooms, was being built in 1906, classes continued over Frank Johnson's drug store and over Kincaide Mercantile Company's store (later Lewis's grocery). Miss Lota B. Harris started teaching that year at Cooley and she followed her first grade (and evidently two or three more grades) over the Kincaide store and remained with Cooley pupils through the years. In 1939, when Miss Harris retired, she had given the Heights a lifetime of devoted, intelligent service in the teaching profession. Another teacher who for years remained at Cooley and endeared herself to the children of two generations was Miss Daisy Russell.
At first Miss Deady alone taught all eight grades. Then two teachers handled the two classrooms. After the first addition to the building, in 1906, there were six classrooms and as many teachers. At that time, too, the old red brick was painted and new white brick added to make a white building.
The Mothers Club of Cooley School was organized in 1907, the forerunner of the school's P.T.A. The mothers took turns serving hot lunches in the basement. But first they had the basement closed in from the wind and rain and had the floor cemented. Hot lunches then meant soup one day and chili the next. But the soup was a meal in itself and likewise the chili. Two slices of bread went with the bowl, and the whole dinner cost exactly $0.05. Hot dogs had not yet appeared in the history of mankind.
Mrs. D. D. Cooley served as first president of the Mothers Club. Other ladies whose names most frequently appeared in the columns of the Suburbanite as leaders of the club's activities were: Mesdames D. M. Duller, L. Sparks, H. J. Muller, M. Sheehan, Chas. York, J. C. Carpenter, J. W. Wilder, and J. W. Hartley.
Sometimes the mothers had teas and entertainments. One social tea and musical program was reported by the Suburbanite for December 12, 1908 at the home of Mrs. T. P. Griffiths. Earlier that year, on March 21, the annual spring festival featured the following program:
On one memorable February 22, the ladies, each dressed as Martha Washington, celebrated George's birthday with games on the school grounds, special prizes for the children, and booths where nickels and dimes accumulated for the school's necessities. Schoolground equipment, a flag and flagpole, a piano, and classroom aids were all supplied by the Mothers Club.
Harvard Street School
The school was built on two lots at Harvard and 8th, and its name derived from its location, although later the word Street was dropped from its title.
Before the building could be erected, it was necessary to secure the enrollment of at least thirty pupils. Interested mothers accomplished this feat, and a one-room building followed fast. There were fifty desks and thirty pupils in the first five grades, with Miss Thielen as teacher of al classes. In 1900, Miss Thielen was transferred to Coole School and replaced at Harvard by her sister, Miss Alice Thielen.
In 1902, rooms were added to the building and three teachers then employed: Misses Yeager, Ayleen Sharp, and Lucille Schindler. This enlarged, three-room frame building was still serving in 1911 when a view book of the Heights printed a picture of the first brick unit beside the old building.
Besides the Misses Thielen, a number of early teachers served at Harvard through the years and should be mentioned in a history of that school: Misses Florence Keene, Vera Harris (before Miss Harris transferred to the High School) Miss Nanno Maynard and Marie W. Finney. Later, W. H. Elrod served as principal, after the school had grown into an impressive center of learning. Mr. Elrod's term at Harvard expired with the amalgamation of the Heights into the Houston Public School system.
In 1910, the Mothers Club of Harvard School was organized. Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Limbocker (who owned and edited the Suburbanite) sponsored an all-day picnic on their spacious lawn, across from the old Heights Natatorium, to raise funds for the club's work. Mrs. Limbocker's niece, Mrs. D. D. Smeaton, was the first president of the Mothers Club. Other outstanding members were: Mesdames H. C. Colley, P. M. Granberry, L. E. Van Valkenburgh, and C. C. Young.
Harry Van Demark was a rising young playwright of the Heights at the time, and he staged a production for funds to fill in the school grounds. An old newspaper clipping remarks that the "school board was persuaded to repair the roof."
In general the needs of the school fell upon the shoulders of the people of the neighborhood. In 1911, like the mothers of the children at Cooley, the mothers at Harvard School were preparing soup and chili for hot lunches. The growth of the school system in the Heights was not left to the school board and the teachers, except in matters of classroom procedure. An active interest in the welfare of their children is apparent in all records of the people of the Heights and extended to tangible evidence in getting things done.
Houston Heights High School
A. Hugh Russell was the first principal of the new high school, and the faculty included: Misses Ilse Frischmeyer, Minnie M. Gillespie, C. Ethel Bagby, Margaret Guthrie, Mary G. Smither, and Ima Cully. These names are listed in the City Directory, 1905-1906 which would indicate that the school was in operation the preceding year. No more definite date can be set since all records were later lost when the building burned.
The Suburbanite has notice of the high school graduation exercises on June 17, 1905, and states that "Miss Lottie Burlingame has the honor of being the first graduate of our high school." The next year on June 2, 1906, the paper again lists graduation and names those receiving diplomas: Neva Robinson, Mattie Jackson, Ralph Cooley, Floyd Shelby Sisk, and Phillip Patella. The third class, finishing in 1907, included: Sophia Borgstrom, Yandell Coombs, Annie Price, Georgia Peck, Helen Milroy, and Clifton Wilson.
The building later, and evidently at first, served to accommodate the overflow of elementary pupils from Cooley and Harvard. In fact, for many years the downstairs rooms of the two-story high school building had grammar grades only. In that period, the average elementary pupil did not go on to high school. No wonder the high school graduate then could "read and write," since only the gifted student persevered and was thought worthy of an education. The number of high school pupils was not in proportion to the community's number of elementary grade students.
A.H. Russell after his first term as principal and superintendent, left the Heights. S.H. Hickman is listed as his successor for the school term 1.906-1907. The following year Mr. Russell returned as superintendent and served in that capacity until the spring of 1911 when he resigned. Lawson W. Greathouse served as principal of the high school during Mr. Russell's term of office as superintendent. Then in 1912, M.L. Donner is given in the Directory as principal. Miss Nellie S. Ferguson was "acting principal" in 1913, followed by W. C. Wahlers. Mr. Greathouse had succeeded Mr. Russell as superintendent.
No City Directory was printed in 1916, but in 1917, S.P. Waltrip for the first time appears in the Directory as superintendent, with I.V. Brock as principal. After that date high school progress is noticeable. This does not mean that those who went before made little progress, but rather that the necessity of high school education for "all pupils" had all over the country become the accepted norm. And preparations were being made to meet the demand.
Also, in 1918 the Heights joined the City of Houston, and the Houston Independent School District already had junior high schools [Here this work is under necessity to deviate from its first purpose to cover the history of the Heights only until annexation]. The City Directory 1920-1921 lists what might have become a fact during the preceding year the existence of
and another entry
At last the Houston Heights High School was housed in a building taken over exclusively for high school work, on the site of the old Heights Playground; and a junior high school was established as preparatory for senior high school courses,
Then came the upset; the building at 12th and Yale burned on March 13, 1924. Since there was already a junior high school nearer the city and serving the people between Houston and the Heights, it was decided to make the high school on 20th into a junior high school for the northwest section and find a location nearer to the more populated district needing a senior high school. The site chosen was the block between Arlington and Oxford and between 13th and 14th.
More definite names were also desired and the junior high school became Alexander Hamilton, while the new senior high was called John H. Reagan.
Serving longest at the Heights High School and moving on to Reagan were Miss Vera Harris, who had earlier taught at Harvard and who was a sister to Miss Lota Harris of Cooley, and Miss Nellie Ferguson. Miss Ferguson continued in the system until 1954 and died in December of that year. Miss Vera Harris retired with her sister in 1939 and moved to Austin. Miss Hope Finfrock is another name now cherished by the many pupils that she taught at Heights High School. Miss Finfrock's father, P. H. Finfrock, taught in the Houston Public Schools for 29 years, and his family was outstanding in the academic circles of the Heights.
A high standard was maintained from the beginning at the Heights High School. To its teachers in particular the people of the Heights owe a debt of deep gratitude for the inculcation of sound principles that have marked the development of Heights history.
The Deed Records of Harris County (vol. 199, pp. 580-581) show "Houston Heights Municipality to 0. M. Carter property in exchange for a lot between 7th and 8th on Railroad, dated November 6, 1906." In 1907, a school for the Colored children in the south end of the Heights was built on that lot. It was called the Eighth Avenue School and was located on West 8th and Railroad, with Miss Jennie D. Smith as teacher. In 1908, this school is listed at 725 Waverly, and the following year at 727 Waverly, where it has remained permanently located.
In 1910, the Twenty-third Avenue School had two teachers: Misses Virginia Cornish and Virginia L. Nelson. In 1918, before annexation, the school on Waverly had three teachers and the one on 23rd two teachers.
Finally on February 10, 1906, the Suburbanite announced that the "Union Sunday School, which had been organized through the persistent efforts of Mrs. W. C. McBride," is closing "now that the different churches have Sunday Schools" so that the "attendants might go the church school of their choice."
The City Directory lists St. Stephens Episcopal Mission in the 1895-1896 yearbook, while the rector, the Rev. Benjamin A. Rogers, still resided at 609 Elgin. The mission was located at the Cooley School building. After 1896 each year until 1903 the Rogers family is given at 1316 Boulevard and the mission still at Cooley School. In 1904, the Rev. Rogers died, and before that date, in 1903, the mission had been dropped from the Directory. The Rogers family remained for a number of years in the family home.
The early organization of the Episcopalian congregation makes that denomination first in the history of church services in the Heights. However, this congregation erected no building, and St. Andrews Episcopal Church, which was organized a number of years later, could hardly be said to have been a continuation of this first mission.
This brief history then will take up a short sketch of only the very first churches that continued without interruption and which built permanent church plants.
First Presbyterian Church
People of all denominations loved Brother Wear. He lived near the Dexter home on West 17th, and boarding with the Wear family was Dr. Guff J. Robinson. One of the early social events in the Heights was Dr. Robinson's wedding to Miss Neva Robinson, performed by Rev. Wear, in the Presbyterian Church.
Collins Memorial Church
Another building was erected in 1915, which is now called Schrode Hall in honor of Rev. T. J. Schrode, who was then pastor. Rev. Schrode raised funds for the new building by the "Joash Chest." He gave each member of the congregation a dollar to invest and return with the increase for the church fund.
In 1926, both Fellowship Hall and Schrode Hall were moved to the present location of the church on 1lth and Harvard, where an imposing church plant has kept pace with the rapid growth of the church membership.
The early pastors were: Rev. M. D. Collins, 1903; Rev. Edward W. Osburn, 1903-1906; Rev. Whitford, part of 1907; Rev. Wm. H. Donner, 1907-1910; Rev. C. L. Elliott, 19101912; Rev. H. H. McCain, 1912-1914; Rev. T. J. Schrode, 1914-1917; Rev. C. W. Rogers, 1917-1919.
In January, 1905, the tent burned and the church rented a three-room house in the 200 block on West Ninth, until it could complete its new building at 919 Yale Street. By 1917 more spacious grounds were necessary for expansion, and the Yale Street property was sold. Services were then held in the High School building until after annexation, when a permanent location would be made on 9th and Harvard.
Grace Methodist Church
At first there was no building and the members met for worship at the Harvard Street School, but it was not long before a frame building was erected on the corner of 13th and Yale. In 1912, the first brick unit of the present group of church buildings was completed.
All Saints Catholic Church
Immediately four lots were purchased on 10th and Harvard, and in 1909 the white brick church was completed, The first church was located where the school building is at the present time. In 1912, the priest's residence was built on the corner, where the present church' is located. No school was built until 1913, and then only a three-room frame structure was erected. The Dominican Sisters had taught catechism from the beginning; and when the school was opened, they had charge.
The greatest asset of the new parish was the kindly nature of its first pastor. Father Walsh had all the qualities that endear a priest to his people, and furthermore he understood the hardships involved in building a new parish. The Heights was sincerely sorry when All Saints lost Father Walsh in 1914 to Annunciation Church. He was succeeded by Father John Gallagher.
A scholarly German minister, the Rev. Fred Huhns, was the first pastor and served until 1910. Rev. Huhns was also the founder of the Baptist Temple Library, and in this capacity served people of all faiths in that end of the Heights. Rev. Evander Ammons served after 1910 until 1915 and was followed by Rev. E. P. West, who remained until after annexation.
In 1911, a new brick building was begun on 20th and Rutland, on land donated by 0. M. Carter, and was completed in 1912. This structure formed the first unit of Baptist Temple's present impressive church plant.
First Library in the Heights
Rev. F. Huhns interested people of all denominations in the need for a reading room and library. He held services over Lewis's store on 19th and Ashland and partitioned off the back of the room for his library.
Children could get anything there, from Anne of Green Gables to a popular series of the period called The Dorothy Dainty Books (a somewhat milder dose of the Little Colonel series). Toby Tyler, Mrs. Wiggs, they were all to be had at the Baptist Temple Library. And since the whole community supported the library, the books were available to all. Besides, Rev. Huhns was a gentle person, peculiarly suited to remind the reader of Charles Lamb or the author of Alice in Wonderland.
On June 29, 1909, the library was formally opened and Miss Julia Ideson was the principal speaker. Miss Julia Spencer and Miss Agnes Jeter had charge of the library, and Judge T. M. Kennerly was its chief sponsor and its guiding spirit. Not only with the activities of the Baptist Church but with the civic development of old Houston Heights, Judge Kennerly stood out as a pioneer leader. Rev. Huhns was an intellectual and his zeal to establish the library was matched only by Judge Kennerly's help in its organization.
After 1912, when the Baptist Temple had built a church on West 20th, the library continued to function, but principally then as a denominational unit.
There is no record of any other library facilities for the general public in the Heights before annexation.
Since the Suburbanite issued its first number on January 28, 1905, there seems reason to believe that possibly this new journal took over the printing press and equipment of the earlier Houston Heights News. At least the Suburbanite followed fast after the first newspaper, but it lasted long and remained a vital force in the life of old Houston Heights.
Across the street from the Vieweger home, on 3rd and Harvard, lived Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Limbocker, who after 1904 owned and edited the Heights newspaper. Their Suburbanite was a weekly publication and a reliable source of information. Everybody in the Heights subscribed.
All local happenings usually got into the paper on page one. If a special issue used up that page for a display pictures or the promotion of some new improvement, the local news found space elsewhere. But almost always six of the other seven pages were devoted to serials and feature stories, probably syndicated material now referred to in newspaper parlance as "canned stuff." The eighth page ordinarily ran items of interest of Channeyville (where Heights Boulevard merges into the Washington Avenue area Vick's Park (north end of Waugh Drive, today cutting into the old Channeyville district), Brunner (farther west of Channeyville and bordering the Heights on the southwest) and also Harrisburg. Why the Suburbanite of the Height printed news of Harrisburg, on the other side of Houston, is not clear.
It is the page that ran "Heights Local News" that today makes the Suburbanite important. This weekly chronicle of life in the Heights kept a fifteen years account of Heights history which ended only with the life of the publication on February 6, 1920. Residents moving in were announced. Marriages, births, and deaths are all there. One odd feature in the early years of this newspaper pertained to the post office: separate lists of the names of gentlemen and of ladies who had failed to call for mail were printed. School history and elections got space. Even the court proceedings (and the fancy fines) in the Suburbanite trace the picture of Houston Heights.
Besides helping with the newspaper, Mrs. Limbocker was also active in the social life of the Heights, and her husband, known as Judge Limbocker, served long on different civic boards and committees. Later, Mrs. D. D. Smeaton, Mrs. Limbocker's niece, lived in the old home.