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Page 1 of 2
106 Years Of History
Riverside Park Elementary
Riverside Park Elementary
It was in 1907 when the San Antonio School Board purchased a building site for the proposed Missionfield School. In 1907, H. L. Page prepared plans for this school and the building was finished in 1908. It was at this time when the name was changed from MissionfieldSchool to Riverside Park School because the city of San Antonio had just completed the fine golf course at the Riverside Park located on Roosevelt Ave. In 1912, the Fowler Brothers who were the developers in this part of the city, offered to sell the remaining portion of the block surrounding Riverside Park for $3000.00. In 1913, an undeterminable amount of money was set aside in order to purchase the lots. After the purchase of the property, there was now about a square block bounded on the north by School Street, on the east by Naylor, on the south by Hansford, and on the west by the railroad track.
In the school year of 1907-1908, Riverside Park School opened its doors and welcomed their first class of students. The school was a new brick building consisting of four classrooms, which were all equipped with new desks with wrought iron supports, new chairs, and all new supplies. The restrooms were frame buildings located outside of the main building in the yard. There was a large spacious area located in the new building that was used as an office by the first principal, Miss Margaret E. Burke (1908-1923).
The main entrance of the building was ornamented with sculptured angels, this was found to be an early original work of Dr. Pompeo Louis Coppini. The center of the sculpture donned a round plaque, which contained the name of the school and the date of its establishment. Throughout the years, Coppini’s work has been preserved and when the old building was torn down, the sculpture was carefully placed above the north door entrance on the present building. The plaque is no longer in the center of the sculpture and it is not known when the plaque was demounted.
In 1930, a new brick building was erected just west of the original structure. The new building consisted of six classrooms, which were equipped with tables and chairs on the lower floor. There was an office, a small clinic and a small bookroom. Names of the board members who were serving at the time were engraved on a bronze plaque and was positioned on a wall at the main entrance of the building. The names are as follows:
• J. H. Hornberger, President
• Mrs. Stella Steve Walker
• Dr. J. A. McIntosh
• Leo Brewer
• Mrs. C. W. Taylor
•Mrs. W. H. Quirk
• Adolph Beckman
• B. W. Hartley, Superintendent
In 1944-1945, the old type of hand bell that was utilized to call the staff and students was replaced by the school’s first electrical school bell system. In 1948, new furniture was purchased in order to replace the old in five of the upper grade classrooms. In 1950, the 1B class was furnished with modern air-plane type tables and chairs.
Due to steadily continuous growth in the community, on September 4, 1957, construction began on a new cafeteria stucture. The dedication ceremony of the new cafetorium was celebrated on March 4, 1958.
After fifty years of use, the old building was proven to be unsafe and it was torn down in the spring of 1964. The construction of a new wing consisting of twelve classrooms was started and completed by September 1964. The new classrooms were considered very modern, each room had sinks and bubblers for drinks. Each room had cloakrooms with folding doors, and all rooms were equipped with shelves and coat hangers for children’s coats. All primary rooms had toilet facilities. New furniture was purchased and each student had their own desk and chair.
In 1966-1967, Riverside Park once again outgrew her building and the plans in the future, perhaps in 1967-1968, are to construct a library and to establish a kindergarten or Headstart Program aided by the Federal Government. Enrolled at the present time (1967) are
482 children with the guidance of 18 teachers.
As growth in community continued to increase, it was necessary to add to the existing building. It was around 1914 when two additional classrooms were added to the original building. The building was made with safe concrete halls and safe concrete stairs. At this time the building was heated with a hot-air furnace. The two upper rooms of the original building had a folding partition, which could be opened in order to create an auditorium. At the beginning of World War I in 1914, additional classrooms and two classrooms in frame buildings were erected on the south side of the yard in order to accommodate the growing number of students. These new rooms housed the lower grade students and teachers.
One frame building was converted into a cafeteria and auditorium. Then in 1939-1940 the two old frame buildings were torn down and a more serviceable cafetorium was built.
-- May 1967… History Updated by Belle Henderson