Anadarko School site gets historical marker

Published: Sep. 3, 2016 at 10:02 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 12, 2016 at 2:21 PM CDT
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RUSK COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - The school burned down 70 years ago, but many in the area still remember it well.

The Anadarko community is south of Henderson, settled by former slaves in the late 1860s, and it has been officially designated a historical site by the Texas Historical Commission and the unveiling of the Anadarko Rosenwald School Historical Marker.

Historical markers may seem a common site around Texas, but there were only 15 approved in the last year, and the Anadarko community is getting a large one.

The North Tenneha Church of Christ provided music for the ceremony.

Many Rusk County officials attended, and most of the Anadarko community.

Yvonne Hill Wesley Clark owns the property next to where the school once stood, and helped organize the dedication and is compiling the area's history.

"It's very, very exciting because we have been in the process of getting something like this for a long time and it finally came to pass," Clark said.

The school's lot is owned by a group of people.

"The owner of the land next to the school property was Mr. Green Lewis and his wife Pheobe Devereaux, newly freed slaves, who donated the land to build the Anadarko Christian Church in which the school first began," said Clark.

There was one watching the ceremony, Mabel Alicia Johnson, who attended the school. She said she remembered it burned, "One morning about 4 o'clock. The teachers over there in the teacher's house, they saw it. They thought somebody threw coal on it," Johnson recalled.

So she had to finish the year back at the Anadarko Christian Church where children were educated before the school was built. Johnson said it made her, "real sad because that was my last year at the school."

Johnson was born in 1927 a year after the Anadarko Rosenwald School was built. Yvonne Clark said the name Anadarko is Native American, while the Rosenwald part came from a fund that helped pay for the school. That money came from a team up of Julius Rosenwald, who was president of Sears and Roebuck in the early 1900s and someone you may have heard of: Booker T. Washington.

The Anadarko community has plans for building a civic center on the site of the old school in the next few years, not that the property has a historical designation.

Only 15 historical markers were designated by the Texas Historical Commission in the past year, and today one of them was designated right here in East Texas.

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