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Jonny Goodday | 08/17/2020 | Goodday Mineral Wells | Jonny Goodday Architectural Archives

More recently known as Fannin Elementary

When driving down the main road through Mineral Wells, many pass by this old school. Most people these days remember it as Fannin Middle School even though, at the top of the main entrance, it says “Mineral Wells High School”.

Interestingly enough, this 105 year old school has taught kids from different age groups over the years; closed off to the public since 1973, except for the ever so rare tours.

In 1913, the voters of Mineral Wells approved a bond to build a new high school as the citizens saw the city was growing. The very next year, the school was completed thanks to the contractor J. S. Murphy. The design of this building follows the mission style architecture. 

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In the beginning, attendance was low. In fact, the first graduating class of 1915 was only twenty-four students. As years past and the city continued to grow, the school began to get more and more students. By 1953, the need for a bigger school became a necessity. So, when the new high school was built, this building was repurposed as the junior high for only ten years.

In 1963, it took on another generation, becoming the Fannin Elementary. These days, most of the people around that went there only saw it as the elementary school. But, after another ten years, it was permanently closed in 1973.

From the outside, it doesn’t appear to be closed. The lawn gets mowed periodically, the bricks are still vivid, and the white paint from a distance still looks nice. But, it’s true. For the past forty-six years, the doors have been closed. Every once in a while, vandals break in and destroy what they can, but the building is still kept sealed-up to the best of the abilities by the owners. 

To my surprise, the building is still owned by Mineral Wells ISD. In 2001, renovations began in hopes of making it a community center in the future. Sadly, that fell through. This building has so much potential, but the amount of funding needed has never been allocated. It would be wonderful to see this school renovated, but I am under the impression that it would have to be done privately. 2001 also marked the year that it became a Texas Historical Landmark where you can still read the marker at the front of the building. 

The thing that most previous students remember about this school is its beautiful auditorium. It is by far the most impressive one I have ever seen in person. Still, it is suspended from the ceiling, but, as you walk over it, the sounds of cracking and creaks echo through the room.
These seats would never be able to be filled again – at least, not in its current state. I can only hope that these seats will fill once more.

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The paint may be peeling and the metal ceiling tiles may be rusting, but the reality is that this building (thank goodness) is very structurally sound and won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. The structure is almost completely concrete and brick. The only damages you’ll find, aside from some wooden floor issues, in this place are merely cosmetic.

This was my first time stepping in this building in three years and I was so happy to have the opportunity to return. I will be posting a video soon on my Facebook page. If you are interested in seeing that, make sure to ‘like’ and ‘follow’ Jonny Goodday on Facebook. Thanks for reading my article and, if you have any stories to share about this school, please put them down in the comments below.

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sources of info: 
-The Portal to Texas History
-Mineral Wells ISD

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