The West Dallas primary school that Depression-era gun moll Bonnie Parker attended is up for landmark status, which would spare it from the bulldozer.
The Dallas Landmark Commission voted Monday to initiate the process for landmark designation for the Eagle Ford School, a massive concrete building painted in different shades of salmon and orange. It was built in the gothic revival architectural style about 1924 on Chalk Hill Road just south of I-30.
Bonnie had moved with her family from Rowena in West Texas to Cement City, an industrial town just west of downtown Dallas, and enrolled in the school, along with many Mexican Americans in the “workers village.”
But it’s not the legendary gun moll that’s driving the preservation effort for East Ford School, although her association shouldn’t hurt.
Dallas Landmark Commission chairman Michael Amonett is pushing for the site’s historic designation mainly because there are so few official landmarks commemorating contributions made by the Hispanics who helped build Dallas, he told The Dallas Morning News.
"Concrete City and the people who lived there built the city," Amonett told the News. "That story should be told."
The owner of the building, who lives in East Texas, wants to sell it, according to the Oak Cliff Advocate. It’s the site of a cellular tower, and the company that owns the tower wants to buy the property and raze the building, the Advocate says.
As for Bonnie’s time at the school, she reportedly was a good student and excelled in writing and spelling, according to former Star-Telegram graphic artist Clif Bosler, who compiled a photo odyssey of Bonnie and her gangster beau, Clyde Barrow, several years ago. She also wrote poetry. One of her report cards was apparently found in the basement by one of the building’s owners, but was later lost, Bosler reports.
Monday’s commission action buys the city and property owner two years to figure out a way to keep from losing the building.