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Historic La Porte Colored School

Posted on March 7, 2022


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Voting for the 2022 Best Places in Local Government (aka the #ELGLKnope) Round of 32 opens on March 7, 2022 and closes at midnight PT on Friday, March 11, 2022. One vote per person. Learn more about this award online.

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Historic La Porte Colored School

La Porte, Texas 77571 

  • Online 
  • Year(s)/Era: 1909 
  • Type of Place: Building  
  • Nomination: The La Porte School House is a tangible reminder of the early education of African American students in the La Porte area prior to and during school integration. The original building, first used in the early 1900s, has been renovated preserving as much of the original materials as possible including windows and wood structure. It remains a place of learning to this day, serving as a museum of the era of its use and a place to recognize the societal contributions of La Porte residents like Viola DeWalt (long time teacher at the school), Jennie Riley, and Charlie Perry among others.

    Its history is important and fascinating: At the start of the twentieth century, African-American children in La Porte had no school to call their own. Education space was borrowed from a neighborhood Baptist Church, but that all changed in 1909 when the La Porte school trustees established a new school on the north side of the city. A short time after the school was officially created, the first ten students along with their teacher, Viola DeWalt, found a new home in a small one-room building purchased by the school district. For the next thirty-four years, the building held daily classes until a two-room structure was moved onsite and became the primary facility.

    For many years after it ceased to be used for daily education, the historic one-room schoolhouse was still a centerpiece in the community. The small building hosted school performances and acted as the meeting place for all north-side community celebrations. Over time, the structure fell into disrepair suffering the crippling effects of time and neglect. Through the combined efforts of the La Porte Community Civic Club and the City of La Porte, the building has been completely rebuilt and once again took center stage in the community as it was dedicated on Saturday, July 21, 2018, as a museum and historical site. 
  • Most notable attribute(s): The restoration of the school was truly a collaborative effort involving contributions from the City of La Porte, Harris County, and the La Porte Community Civic Club. It stands today as a source of and place for connection. Connection to history and prior generations. Connection within the present day community. 
  • Special designations or recognitions: The Texas Historical Commission has recognized the school and placed a marker on site.
  • Three words to describe: community-centered, educational, enduring 
  • Anything else to share? This month, the School is hosting a series of celebrations of Black History 

Local Government:

City of La Porte 

La Porte, Texas 77571 


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