Shells of Our City: Dallas High School/Crozier Tech

Former Dallas High School in transition

UPDATE: Find additional details about the current condition of this building at the bottom of this story. The following is the story we first published in 2009.

Despite high volumes of traffic in the area, it goes mostly unnoticed by the average passerby.

Located at 2214 Bryan Street--just across the street from the DART station at Bryan and Pearl--the main building of the old Dallas High School sits vacant, awaiting an unknown fate that has been a hot topic of discussion ever since the school's closure in 1995.  Not only is it the oldest standing high school in Dallas, Dallas High School is one of the oldest and last remaining historic buildings in Dallas.

Built in 1907 with an addition in 1911, the 3.5-story structure we see today was once a classroom and auditorium building that housed many generations of Dallas students. 

"Dallas High School" was only known as such for a few years, as its often referred to by its most notable alter ego, "Crozier Technical High School" (it held that name from 1942-1975).  Other names it went by include Main High School, Bryan Street High School, Dallas Tech High School and lastly, Business and Management Magnet Center.

Among other things, the school had a state-of-the-art machine shop. Students at schools with machine shop capabilities in the 40's were known for producing knives for their troops, and Crozier Tech was among them.  There is said to be at least 1,000 knives produced from Crozier Tech bearing a "Tech High" engraving on the blade. 

During the racial segregation of the 1950s, Crozier Tech also became the designated school for white students removed from the Forest Avenue High School after Forest High was designated for colored students and renamed James Madison High School.

Famous Chicano singer and and guitarist Trini Lopez is among the notable alumni of Crozier Tech after having attended in the 1960s. 

The 5.4-acre lot was once a five-building campus, but the other four have since been demolished -- the building we still see today remains thanks to a Dallas city ordinance.  While the ordinance provides legal protection from the wrecking ball, it was the also the work of historians, preservationists and school alumni that have raised awareness about the one of Dallas' most remarkable historic sites.

Crozier Tech became a city-designated historic landmark in 2000.  Preservation Texas added the old Dallas High School to its Inaugural List of "Texas' Most Endangered Historic Places" in 2004, also making their list of "Most Endangered Resoucres" just last year.  The National Register of Historic Places has also listed the school under the Dallas High School Historic District. 

Also known for its strong and active alumni base, Crozier Tech has many former "Wolves" involved in the fight to preserve their alma mater.  The school has sparked numerous articles in the Dallas Observer's Unfair Park Blog and the Dallas Morning News, in addition to others.

As the fate of the Old Dallas High remains unknown, we shall continue to view it simply as a shell of our city...until the city of Dallas gives us further notice.

Update April 2012: The boarded-up old Dallas High School on Pearl St. may not be a shell for much longer.

The property is in the process of changing hands to Dallas-based developer Wynne/Jackson.

Michael Jackson, vice president of the company, has plenty of reasons to be interested in the site.

"We like the site. My dad's father went to school there, and we drive by it every day. Since my dad built Plaza, he's been driving past it since the '70s and has been trying to figure out what to do with it," Jackson told Unfair Park.

Jackson's father, Clyde Jackson, built the Plaza of the Americas -- right across the street from the high school and the DART station that sits outside.

The developers say their plans include an adaptive reuse of the original building, retail space, and some housing options. All of it is contingent on the deal actually going through and the permit process of building in and around the historical landmark.

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