Goose Creek Colored School and George Washington Carver High School, 1928-1948

Goose Creek Colored School and George Washington Carver High School, 1928-1948


The Goose Creek Colored School, 1928-1941

The Goose Creek School for Coloreds opened in 1921 and served students from grades 1-8.  It served Black children from Goose Creek (modern-day Baytown), La Porte, Cedar Bayou, and McNair.  In 1927, the building was expanded and began offering classes through the 9th grade.
Harris County opened a library station at the school in February 1928 (written in early reports as Newton or Newtown Colored School). During the library's first year, students checked out 284 books.
Circulation rose steadily over the next few years, with 1,400 books checked out in 1932. In 1935, HCPL hosted a tour for the County Judge and Commissioners, with a luncheon at the main Goose Creek branch. Students from the school sang to the guests. 
Circulation began to drop again during the second half of the 1930s. By 1940, it had dropped to 876 checkouts. The school was renamed in June 1940 to George Washington Carver School (not to be confused with the George Washington Carver High School in Houston). 
The name change heralded a larger change in the school, as by the following summer, it became an accredited four-year high school. With service to grades 1-8 ending in May 1941, the library closed its station in the school. Children checked out 364 books in the months before the closure.   

George Washington Carver High School, 1946-1948

While records are not clear about service between 1941 and 1945, by 1946, Harris County had installed a new library at the school. That year, 569 books were checked out. The library operated until 1948, when the high school moved to a new site, and the building was converted back into an elementary school.   

Later years

The high school remained open for the next two decades, closing after the 1966-1967 school year as part of school desegration.  Starting with the 1967-1968 school year, the district moved students into the Robert E. Lee High School and Ross Sterling High School.
Visit the historical marker of the George Washington Carver High School in Baytown, Texas.  The marker is at the intersection of Lee Drive and Carver Street, on the right when traveling south on Lee Drive.  The coordinates are 29° 43.583′ N, 94° 58.715′ W
In early HCPL records, the library locations in the area were referred to as Newton, Newtown, and Goose Creek, somewhat inconsistently up through the early 1930s.  The reason is that the oil boom at the beginning of the 20th century led to rapid changes in maps and communities.  From the Texas Almanac
"After the Goose Creek oilfield was opened in 1915, a boomtown known as Old Town grew up on Goose Creek. That same year, a well explosion buried Old Town, and the residents moved further inland. The new site was originally called Newtown, but by 1916, the name Goose Creek had been adopted."
While Goose Creek would have been the established name when HCPL began in 1921, many initial library locations were housed in residents' homes, and records would have favored the names used by those library custodians.   Given how quickly these communities were built, library staff may have chosen one name to continue using in records for several years until the name change was indisputable.  
In 1947, the three cities of Goose Creek, Pelly (which also had an HCPL library station), and East Baytown merged, and Baytown was officially founded on January 24, 1948.   The Pelly branch was closed after the merger, but HCPL continued to provide library service at the Baytown branch until 1963 and at the Wooster branch until 1975.

1928 Annual Report, Harris County Public Library

1932 Annual Report, Harris County Public Library

1935 Annual Report, Harris County Public Library

1940 Annual Report, Harris County Public Library

1941 Annual Report, Harris County Public Library

Branches for Colored (1946-1950?), Harris County Public Library. Note: this report contains racist and insensitive language.

(1963, March 26). Deed transfer of Baytown Branch Library.

(1975, February 15). Wooster Branch Library Closure Notice.


Further Reading on the Goose Creek Colored School and George Washington Carver High School

George Washington Carver High School. Historical Marker Database ( (Accessed April 5, 2024)


Further Reading on Goose Creek

Goose Creek. Texas Alamanc. (Accessed April 5, 2024)


Further Reading on Segregation and Desegregation in Public Libraries in the Houston region

(1920, January). Texas Libraries, Volume 3, Issue 3. (Accessed February 9, 2024)

Malone, C. K. (2007). Unannounced and unexpected: The desegregation of Houston Public Library in the early 1950s. Library Trends, 55 (3), 665-674.