— By SALLY SEXTON
Evelyn Loudres recalls a childhood of simple yet fun times of playing baseball on the hill, attending devotion every morning and getting education inside of a two-room schoolhouse.
Born and raised in Weatherford, Loudres was one of several who attended the Mount Pleasant School, located off Dubellette Street.
The educational facility, built in 1917, served as a center of education for black Weatherford students during segregation. Classes were taught up to the ninth grade, where students either stopped attending school or were transported to I.M. Terrell in Fort Worth.
“I graduated from Mount Pleasant in 1953, and I was six when I started school there,” Lourdes said. “There were five of us in my class.”
Despite students in various grades housed in the two-room building, Loudres said overcrowding wasn’t a big issue for her and her classmates.
“There were probably 35-40 kids in one room, but we never thought about how many kids there were,” she said. “It was just something we do and the only thing we knew.”
While students divided their time between exercises on the blackboards and studying from used books, some of the older and brighter students helped teach the younger ones as well.
In 1950, an addition was added to the building— Wilson Hall, named after the superintendent. The hall, donated by Fort Wolters, was used to house grades seven, eight and nine, and expanded the facility to three rooms.
“It taught us the basic skills — math, science, health, reading and history — and it taught us about living and respecting each other,” Loudres said of the school. “We had a banker, cops, teachers, nurses, phone operators, musicians and pastors who graduated from Mount Pleasant.
“None of us were ever really in trouble because we knew we’d get a switching at the school and another one when we got home.”
Experiences like Loudres’ are one of the main reasons a group, led by another Mount Pleasant graduate Raymond George, have formed a restoration committee.
A project of George’s for almost 15 years, work, including volunteering and community donations, has begun and flourished on the old school house over the last several years.
In early June, a series of windows were placed inside the old wooden structure, a gift from DGB Glass Inc. in Aledo, with an approximate value of $23,000.
Others have also stepped up to forward the project, including Morrison Supply Company, which provided A/C work, Lightfoot Mechanicals for installation of the units, and funding for two A/C units by PRO VISION Digital Surveillance.
George also recognized Gerald Hanna, a $2,500 donor who took an interest in the project, Belk for hosting fund-raising efforts, and Roger Grizzard, of the Pizza Place, who served free pizza to window installation workers.
“So many people have really committed to this and taken days off from their own jobs to come and help,” George said. “This means a lot because this was the only place we had to go to school. It’s something of a historical marker for Weatherford and Parker County.”
With a new roof installed in 2012, George said some of the more major tasks, including windows and air conditioning, have been completed. Another major task that lies ahead is the restoration of the restrooms, where toilets, sinks and other bathroom accessories, have already been donated by Home Depot.
Also on the to-do list are the completion of the ceiling, floors and staining of the original wood walls of the classrooms.
“We’ve got to get the doors on this thing and once we’ve got it dried in, we can really begin working on the insides,” George said. “But so far, everything is going very well.”