September 18th was a special day at Harvard Elementary School. The sought-after primary school marked its 120th birthday with balloons, a huge cake and a celebration of the school’s long history.
The Harvard Street School, now known as, Harvard Elementary was founded in 1898. Thirty students attended the school and one teacher, Miss Theilen, taught all five grades. Harvard has significantly grown since, with over 700 students and a staff of more than sixty teachers and administrators. Harvard, the second school in the Heights, was just a few blocks away from the Cooley School, which opened two years earlier. At the time, the Heights was its own city and had not yet become part of Houston.
Harvard and the Cooley School were built in a time of growth for the Heights. In 1900 the population was 830 and by 1908, 6,000 residents called the Heights home. The opening of Heights Boulevard, Helms Elementary School, Hogg Middle School and Heights High School were also built during this time period.
120 Years Ago
To put the school’s age in perspective, when it was built, the US was embroiled in the Spanish-American War and there were only 45 states. Queen Victoria sat on the throne and the internal combustion engine was being invented in Germany. The Civil War was only 32 years in the past, and women still didn’t have the right to vote. Harvard Elementary has been around to watch the world change tremendously!
The original building that housed Harvard Street School cost a measly $604 to build, and the chalk budget for the inaugural school year was only 45 cents. Safe to say expenses have gone up a bit since then!
Time to Celebrate!
In honor of the big birthday, Mr. McKinney of Mister McKinney’s Historic Houston gave the elementary school students a history lesson on Harvard and the Heights. The assistant principal, Alexis Clark, said McKinney’s presentation connected the history to her students. Ms. Clark:
“I think this is a huge awakening, especially for the students. I don’t think they realized the history that surrounded our campus, so being able to highlight just being 120 years old and making a celebration out of it so they can go ahead and connect the experience with what it means is huge,”
Here’s to the Future
Happy birthday to Harvard Elementary, and here’s to many more years! Circa Real Estate is proud to live, work and play in the Heights. We love celebrating the neighborhood’s past and working towards a wonderful future. In the past, Mary Wassef, broker at Circa Real Estate, served as the community representative on Harvard Elementary’s Shared-Decision-Making Committee (SDMC). Houston is our home and the Heights is our neighborhood!