Rufus F. Hardin High School
Marker Text: George Smith, born a slave in Virginia, and later a Buffalo Soldier and school trustee in Tom Green County, arrived in Brownwood in 1885 and established the town’s first school for African-American children. His home and yard on Dale Street became the first classroom and he served as principal and teacher. Rufus F. Hardin became principal in 1896 and also served as a teacher.
Classes were held for a time in Lee Chapel Church at Cordell and Hendrick Streets. A two-story building at Cordell and Beaver Streets was later used as a school, as was Emanuel Chapel Methodist Church on Bailey Street. After a schoolhouse burned in 1917, a new structure was built and Brownwood Colored School opened with three classes and an auditorium to serve ten grades. The first graduating class (1918) had five members. The school was renamed to honor Hardin in 1934. Grades nine through twelve were integrated in 1966. This facility housed a Head Start Program from 1966-70 and has not been used for classes since.
Hardin High School is a one-story stone building exhibiting detailing characteristic of the Romanesque Revival Style of architecture. Detailing includes rough-face, squared stonework and deeply recessed windows. The symmetrical front façade features two small rectangular four-pane windows on each side of the stone masonry wall. The focal point of the building is an entry portal that projects approximately two feet from the building’s center. Squat piers support a round-topped arch that decorates the entry portal. Stone piers that extend two feet past the roofline flank this section. (2008)
Marker No. 14657
Aluminum 27 x 42 Subject Marker
National Register of Historic Places
Texas Historic Landmark
Location: 1009 Hall Street, Brownwood