History of the school
|Petrolia High School|
In 1904 a new little town called Petrolia was started because of the discovery of oil. It was called a "Boom Town" because it was booming. There were houses being built, grocery stores, hotels, bars, lumber yard, feed stores, livery stables, churches, and all sorts of things that people needed. It was soon brought to their attention that a school was needed in Petrolia. At this time there were 61 schools in Clay County. Today there are four schools, Petrolia, Henrietta, Midway, & Bellevue.
There was a little one room school building that had not been used for several years about 4 miles from Petrolia. This building was moved to town and was placed on the campus where the Jr. High offices are today. The first teacher was Monty McBride. This became Petrolia Common School District #51, in 1905. There were 36 pupils. In 1906 it became Petrolia Independent School District and had 56 pupils. Mr. J H Vance was the Superintendent.
In 1908 construction was begun on a two-story building (pictured above) which cost $8,000 with a $10,000 addition in 1914. This new building had a basement in it where the Primary grades were taught. High School students were taught upstairs. In 1939, this building was demolished and the school presently located on Prairie Street was erected. The basement is still under the 1939 building.
In 1928 the people of Petrolia I S D saw the need for a new gym and auditorium. This came to pass, and in 1929 Petrolia I S D had two buildings. The 1929 building was used for volleyball and basketball and is now known as "the little gym" located between the Jr. High and Elementary. The girls started playing basketball in 1953. A new High School & Gym was built in 1955. This is where the 4 & 5 grades are now.
In 1913 the first graduating class from PHS was three girls. Up until then there had not been any graduating classes. A cafeteria was constructed in 1947, so students no longer had to bring their lunch. The first cooks were Ola Armour, Lora Gibson, Beulah Tinsley, & Ova Whitmire.
What about buses? Kids either walked to school, rode a horse, or someone brought them in a buggy. Petrolia got their first bus in 1940. Most of the kids lived at Lone Star Gas plant or nearby.
What about sports? Well, Petrolia has run track, played tennis, baseball, softball, volleyball, football, and golf. We have won at the County level, District level, Regional, and State in several sports. UIL started in 1910, and began in Clay County in 1913.
The Petrolia Independent School District now covers 53 sq. miles, has over 400 students, three campuses, and numerous buildings. We have come a long way in 100 years. The graduates of Petrolia have gone on to fulfill their dreams, and some even gave their lives for our freedom. Many of them have descendents that still reside in the Petrolia school district today. Let us all uphold the Pirate spirit, and strive together to make the next 100 years even better for all the students that pass through the halls of Petrolia Schools.
*Historical information provided by Wanda Helm, Petrolia Alumnus