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Thomas Jefferson High School

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1932, Adams and Adams; 1963 east wing and shop, Phelps and Simmons. 723 Donaldson Ave.

A fitting tribute to the eighteenth-century mission architecture of San Antonio, this school makes dramatic use of Spanish Baroque ornamentation and forms, most notably for the fine bell tower at the main entrance, which dominates the smaller-scaled houses that surround it. Exterior decorative elements are of a cast stone designed by Hannibal and Eugene Pianta and with ornamented concrete tiles by Redondo Tile that harmonize with the cream brick walls. The auditorium and library are the most highly ornamented of the interiors with oak wainscoting, molded plaster detailing, and colorful stenciling with concrete tile floors. In 1937, United Press selected the thirty-three-acre campus school as the most outstanding high school in the country and the school also was the subject of a feature article on its student life in Life magazine in March 1938. The school has been well maintained ever since. Even the aluminum windows installed in 1978 repeat the original fenestration patterns.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "Thomas Jefferson High School", [San Antonio, 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, 188-188.

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