Weatherford Democrat

Local News

August 12, 2011

Group hopes to resurrect a little piece of history

WEATHERFORD — Weatherford has a vast amount of tradition and history, and one of those historical landmarks is facing extinction — the Mount Pleasant School, located south of West Oak Street.

Built in 1917, the structure was the first schoolhouse for blacks in Weatherford, a two-classroom building where nine grades were taught.

Raymond George attended Mount Pleasant until the ninth grade, when he and other African American students had to be bussed to I.M. Terrell High School in Fort Worth.

Now surrounded by piles of tile and overgrown bushes and shrubs, the schoolhouse is in need of restoration, and George is leading the campaign.

“That was the only place that blacks had to go to school,” George said. “We weren’t allowed to go to elementary schools, and they didn’t integrate until 1962.

“This is something that needs to be preserved, not because of black history, but because it is part of the history of our community.”

The property includes the structure itself, mostly intact on the inside, as well as 1.5 acres of land.

“My purpose is to preserve the property and restore what is there,” George said. “It can be a meeting place or house offices, but I would like the restoration to happen.”

George has been on that mission for the past 12 years, and his committee is now asking the public to show support and help donate to the cause. According to estimates, the property will cost around $20,000 to purchase.

“It’s not an expensive piece of property,” George said. “I want to get it restored as much as we possibly can and get the same look it had in the 1950s, but I know restoration is going to take awhile.

“I’ve contacted everyone who is still alive that attended Mount Pleasant, and there are very few of us left. Older people my age know how it was back then, but even younger people who have expressed support understand and are willing to do whatever they can.”

Other restoration committee members include Jamie Bodiford Brinkley, Charlie Simmons, former Weatherford mayor Joe Tison, Harold Lawrence, Charles Sullivan, Joe Gratts, Weatherford ISD superintendent Deborah Cron, John Craig and Gale Bradford.

The group was recently given a 501-K status, which will allow supporters’ donations to be tax deductible.

The committee had a workshop earlier this week to discuss fundraising ideas, a history of the school and how restoration could benefit the community in the future.

For more information or to support the restoration efforts, contact George at 817-304-3519.

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