LISD History

Up until the creation of city schools, education of Longview's children was provided by small, private schools which charged a monthly fee that varied by grade level. A newspaper article from 1889 talked of plans to build a boarding house in connection with Longview public high school for "the benefit of students from abroad," hopefully attracted to Longview for the town's health-giving mineral wells, and the excellence of the school which teaches every branch of knowledge, from needlework to fine art.


Postcard postmarked Feb 26, 1909.
LOCATION: southeast corner of Green and College Streets

This 3-story frame school opened for white children in 1890. It had four rooms on the first floor, four on the second floor, and two in the attic.

In 1888 Longview's African-American children attended a 4-room frame building located on the Marshall Highway north of town. Before 1908 a two-story frame building was built for secondary education, and was called the Colored High School. It was later enlarged and renamed North Ward High School.

Longview Independent School District was formed in 1909.  In 1910 it and Kilgore were the only independent school districts in Gregg County.  County schools included Harmony Grove, Judson, Peatown, Elderville, Spring Hill, Pine Tree, Gladewater, Sabine, Danville and White Oak.


LISD Superintendent S. J. Blocker was also a builder and architect. He designed and supervised the construction of this first brick high school in Gregg County in 1909.

In 1912, the growth of the community prompted four additional elementary schools to be built. They were First Ward, Northcutt Heights, Campus Ward, and  Northside Elementary for Negroes.

At Longview High School in 1913 there were 6 members of faculty and administrative staff, and 110 students - 15 seniors, 25 juniors, 21 sophomores and 39 freshmen.


LOCATION: southeast corner of Green and College Streets

This brick High School was built in 1927 on the site where the 3-story frame structure had stood, and was used as a high school for 4 years. 

With the discovery of oil, after the high school building on Whaley Street was completed, the high school building on Green Street was converted to Longview Junior High and housed grades 6-9. Former Campus Ward school was converted to a Junior High Annex.  Campus Ward was the oldest school building in Longview when it burned down in 1944. Students from Longview Junior High rotated classes with South Ward students until the new addition was built in 1945.  In 1955 another addition was constructed. 

In 1957 Longview Junior High was renamed Henry L. Foster Junior High School in honor of long time LISD superintendent H. L. Foster. It was renamed to Henry L. Foster Middle School in 1976 and grade 6 was moved to the elementary schools, and grade 9 moved the the new high school on Loop 281. In 1987 the building that housed Nicholson Memorial Library became an addition to Foster Middle School.


LOCATION: the corner of Second and Whaley Streets

In 1931 LISD purchased the city block known as the R. C. DeGraffenreid homestead on North Second street. This new high school was built there in 1932. Mark Lemmon of Dallas, raised in Longview, was the architect. The design featured art deco entrances and wooden floors in the classrooms. The football stadium was added in 1933, and the building housing T. G. Field auditorium, the cafeteria and administration building was completed in 1955.

Longview Negro High School was built in 1930, and served more then 200 students. After this school was destroyed by fire in 1948, Mary C. Womack High School was opened at the corner of Boyd and Luckett Streets. The school mascot was the Leopard. J. L. Everhart served as principal of Longview Colored High School and Womack High School from 1945-1970.

In 1965 Longview ISD and Judson ISD were consolidated.

The summer of 1970 when desegregation was federally mandated was a challenging time for Longview. On July 4, 1970, 36 school buses in LISD's bus yard were bombed. That fall African-American students from Mary C. Womack High School, Southside Elementary, Rollins Elementary and Ned E. Williams Elementary were transferred to previously all white schools. FBI investigations into the bus-bombing resulted in the conviction of two people on civil conspiracy charges in 1971.

The new Longview High School, located on Loop 281, was dedicated on August 19, 1976. The ninth grade, which since the middle 1930s had been considered part of the senior high program but had been housed in the junior high building, was added to the new high school.

The Mary C. Womack school building was torn down in 1983, and after a failed attempt by former alumni to save the old Longview High School building, it was demolished in the summer of 1988.

Other schools from Longview Independent School District's past and present:

  • Erskine Bramlette Elementary, located on Tupelo Dr.,  built in 1956.

  • East Ward Elementary, located on 1000 South Sixteenth Street, was opened in 1953.

  • First Ward Elementary School building became the High School's Shop, Band, and Agricultural units in the 1950s.

  • Forest Park Junior High, located on Lake Drive, was opened in 1957.

  • G. K. Foster Elementary, located on Sixteenth Street, was opened in 1953.

  • Jodie McClure Elementary, located on Melba St., was built in 1956.

  • Northcutt Heights, located at 515 N. Court Street, was rebuilt in 1931 after the original building was destroyed by a tornado. It has previously housed the LISD Administration offices, and currently is home of the Gregg County Multi-Purpose Senior Center, and Meals on Wheels.

  • Northside Elementary, located on East Marshall between First and Second Street, was opened in 1929 as an African-American school. It was later renamed Janie Daniel Elementary.

  • Pinewood Park, located on 200 Glenn Dr., was built in 1950, with an annex added in 1953.

  • Rollins Elementary, built in 1953 for African American students, closed in 1970.  It was located on Humble Road near Rollins St.

  • Southside Elementary was built in 1936. It closed in 1978.

  • South Ward Elementary school, located on Mobberly Ave. near Plilar St, opened in 1934, with additions built in 1947 and 1954.

  • Valley View Elementary, located on Alpine Road, was opened in 1953.

  • Ware Elementary, located off of High Street (then also called Ware Highway), was built in 1953.