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Port Arthur Alternative Center (Phillis Wheatley Elementary School)

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Phillis Wheatley Elementary School
1953, Caudill Rowlett Scott and Associates (CRS) and J. Earle Neff. 800 53rd St.

Wallie E. Scott Jr., a CRS partner, was from Port Arthur; this gave the firm the foothold it needed to secure commissions to design all the city's new public schools in the 1950s in succession to Mark Lemmon. Phillis Wheatley, located in the predominantly African American El Vista community west of the Texas Company refinery, was the most publicized of these schools. A long, low, flat roof canopy, supported on widely spaced steel-pipe columns, sheltered the classrooms and created additional covered outdoor space. CRS used freestanding wing walls (built with their trademark dark red paving brick) as baffles to deflect the prevailing southeast breeze into north-facing classrooms. All classrooms featured two walls of glass, into which operable bifold windows were integrated.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "Port Arthur Alternative Center (Phillis Wheatley Elementary School)", [Port Arthur, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: Central, South, and Gulf Coast, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 382-382.

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