One hundred years of the Washington Township Consolidated School (WTCS) were celebrated Saturday afternoon with an open house, presentation and community meal. About 100 people — including many graduates — attended and shared memories.
In a brief presentation, Tom Bice, president of the WTCS Foundation Board of Directors, gave a thumbnail history of education in Washington Township and of the school’s place in that history.
Prior to consolidation, the township operated nine country schools within its 36-square-mile jurisdiction.
Bice said that a building committee was formed March 8, 1920. A consolidation committee was then elected, which purchased five acres for $2,250 from A. J. Slaninger. The school building itself cost $19,000 to construct, he said, and the bricks were hauled from Minburn over the course of the summer.
Bice said the values in today’s prices would $34,000 for the land and $375,000 for the building.
The first WTCS graduating class was in 1923 with a total of three students. The largest graduation was the Class of 1937 with 22 students. By the time the last class graduated in 1958, a total of 394 diplomas had been awarded to 205 young men and 189 young women over 35 years.
Electricity was originally provided in the by means of 50 Delco batteries stored on site. The school board bought six Rio chassis and fitted them out as school buses, swapping out old chassis for new as the need arose but always reusing the same bus body.
The vocational-agricultural shop — now used as the community dining room — was built as an addition in 1932 by the Works Project Administration. The voc-ag shop was used by students and also by local farmers, and the school’s chapter of Future Farmers of America built wagons during the war years of the 1940s.
The first hot lunch ever served in Dallas County was eaten at the WTCS on Nov. 11, 1945.
The WTCS joined the Minburn school to form the Central Dallas Community School in 1959, and the school was used for first through fifth grades until Central Dallas became part of the Adel-De Soto-Minburn Community School District in 1991.
The property was acquired in 1998, and the WTCS Foundation was formed in 2003, with Dorothy Wright of Adel as the first president of the board of directors. She was succeeded by Darrell Bever of Minburn in 2009. Bice said about $300,000 has been invested in restoring and maintaining the old WTCS, and he hopes the community’s support will hold steady through the years.