• Old Sam Houston School/Matz Building

     515 E. Jackson, Harlingen,TX


     Harlingen’s “Main School” was built in 1911-12 of bricks made in Lon C. Hill’s kilns.  Prior to this, students attended classes in churches and other buildings.  Tube-like wooden fire escapes stretching down to the playground served as slides for neighborhood kids on weekends.  Students in Harlingen attended one of four elementary schools, South Ward(currently Bowie), North Ward(Austin), Central Ward(previously Matz Building, Sam Houston), and Alamo Ward(on F Street, demolished in 1962).  In 1936 the students voted to officially rename the school, Sam Houston School.    In 1951, the Matz Building was deemed unfit for a school and the students were relocated to Travis.  Technically, Sam Houston School did not exist in the Harlingen School District for a period of about 10-11 years. 

    The Matz building has been an office building since 1952 and the original plaque can be viewed there.
     The current site of Sam Houston  Elementary is 301 E. Taft in the Finwood Heights subdivision.  The Sam Houston attendance area in the  1970’s encompassed the Falcon Village, Treasure Hills, Arroyo Estates and the Riverview Subdivisions.  By 1979 the school district was going to close down Sam Houston School, add the building to Coakley, and plans were  being made to open an elementary school, Treasure Hills Elementary.  The parents of Sam Houston School were outraged that their school would be closed.  They petitioned the Harlingen School Board that they did not want their school children bussed to the new school and then later, when it was filled, have their children bussed to Ben Milam.  The parents won their petition.  Treasure Hills Elementary, Coakley Middle School, and Sam Houston Elementary have since operated as separate campuses.
    School80'scrollplaque                          plaque1960

                                                                 Sam Houston 1960                                                                          "Official Plaque"  etched in the cement outside of Room 301

     Sam Houston’s original eight classrooms were flooded in 1967 during Hurricane Beulah.  The building was renovated, however no additions were made.  Other renovations occurred in 1985, which produced a Multipurpose building, and an educational facility that could house over six hundred students. By 1992, renovations were made to the administration and kitchen areas.  The new millennium brought another facelift to the campus;  a few more classrooms were added, a music room was built and a stage was constructed in the cafeteria.

                   newadditionsofclassrms       Newspaper picture of renovations, concrete foundation.                                 1960plaque
              Plaque displaying date, current board members and architect for  original classrooms in 1960
     Plaque displaying board member, and architects for renovations  in 1985 which produced the multipurpose building and an educational facility that could house over 600 students.
    Please contact Mrs. Virginia Armstrong at 427-3110 or email at virginia.armstrong@hcisd.org  for questions.