Corpus Christi in Nueces County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
Site of Cheston L. Heath School
The Corpus Christi Independent School District hired Miss Rose Dunne to teach English and academics to the city's Mexican American students in a year-long experimental program in 1896. Miss Dunne and her pupils were so successful that in 1901 the school district purchased property on this site from pioneer citizen S. W. Rankin. Plans for the new two-story wooden building were drawn up by Alfred Giles of San Antonio. Miss Dunne married E.J. Shaw in 1900 and temporarily retired from teaching in 1902, the same year that Julia Pena became the first Mexican American student to graduate from the program. By 1913, 250 students were enrolled in the thriving school. In 1917 the parent-teacher organization of the Mexican American school and Mrs. Shaw requested that the school board name the building for former school board member Cheston L. Heath (d. 1918) in recognition of his generosity to Mexican American students. Rose Shaw became principal of the Heath School in 1926. A new building was erected in 1927 to house the growing number of students. During the 1930s enrollment was so high that there were 400 students in the fourth grade alone. Mrs.
School enrollment skyrocketed throughout the city during the post-World War II baby boom, causing expansion in the district. The Cheston L. Heath School continued to be used by most of the area's Mexican American students until it was closed in 1968 and the students were integrated into the other district schools. In the next few years the building housed adult education classes and television studios. The school district sold the land in 1973 and it became the site of the Nueces County Courthouse.
Erected 2000 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 12129.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Education • Hispanic Americans • Women.
Location. 27° 47.67′ N, 97° 24.013′ W. Marker is in Corpus Christi, Texas, in Nueces County. Marker is on Lipan Street west of South Carrizo Street, on the right when traveling west. Marker is located on the south side of the Nueces County Courthouse. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 901 Leopard Street, Corpus Christi TX 78401, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. LULAC (within shouting distance of this marker); Corpus Christi Cathedral (approx. ¼ mile Corpus Christi Cathedral Site (approx. ¼ mile away); Centennial House (approx. ¼ mile away); Captain Enrique Villarreal and Rincón del Oso Land Grant (approx. ¼ mile away); Henry Lawrence Kinney (approx. ¼ mile away); Site of Kinney's Trading Post (approx. ¼ mile away); Gold Star Court of Honor (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Corpus Christi.
Also see . . .
1. The Order of Sons of America (Orden Hijos de America). One of the first statewide Mexican-American civil-rights organizations in Texas, in Corpus Christi the Order of Sons of America (OSA) fought for a new Mexican school, the Cheston L. Heath School, which was dedicated on September 13, 1925. In May 1926 the OSA helped desegregate the Palace Bath House; in early 1927 they got the first Mexican American on a jury in Nueces County; in September 1927 they helped to take down a "No Mexicans Allowed" sign from North Beach. (Submitted on June 1, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Maritza's Corpus Christi History: Cheston L. Heath School. I am quite happy they, the state of Texas, have acknowledged the importance of the Cheston L. Heath school to Corpus Christi history, Texas history, and Mexican-American history. It's sort of weird thinking about how at one point in South Texas history, an area that is now predominately Hispanic, Mexican-American students were separated from other students. I'm happy Mexican-American students were then allowed to attend the same schools as other students but I am sort of sad that the school that offered so many first opportunities to non-white students has been put to rest. (Submitted on June 1, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 4, 2018. It was originally submitted on June 1, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 119 times since then and 46 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on June 1, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.