In the early 1800s, East Dallas was a city unto itself that consisted of about 1,400 acres. It was governed by a City Council that in 1883 took on the responsibility of running the town’s school system.
Education was frequently discussed during the council’s weekly meetings and was heatedly debated when the East Dallas school system needed to expand.
The debate, known as the “Battle of East Dallas,” was about whether to construct one large brick building for all 460 students to attend, or construct four “modest” buildings throughout the area.
The eight council members were evenly divided for more than a month, until at one meeting, two members in opposition to the one building concept were absent and the council moved forward with plans for constructing the first brick school building in East Dallas.
After issuance of $15,000 in bonds to construct the building, and after yet another battle involving the purchase of a site, the first all-brick school in Dallas was completed at Gaston and College (now Hall) Streets.
The building served as the East Dallas School on the second and third floors and city hall (Cary Hall) on the first floor. The building was later named the Stephen F. Austin School when the City of East Dallas merged with Dallas.
In 1948 the building was demolished, and the Baylor Dental Clinic was built in its place. The Stephen F. Austin campus was relocated around the block to 715 N. Washington. The site continues to be called the Stephen F. Austin campus, and is one of the two locations for DISD’s High School for Health Professions.
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