Eastman College and Conservatory of Music
Sulphur Springs, TX
Encyclopedia of Texas has a history of the town and school. The Dallas Morning News covered some school activities. The 1893 American College and Public School Directory has a profile of the school. The faculty roster (below) is from that directory. The ad (right) is from Dallas Morning News.
The Sulphur Springs District Conference High School was incorporated in 1883 as Central College under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. That year, with Reverend J. W. Adkisson as president, classes opened for 100 matriculates and three faculty members. By 1890 enrollment had reached 244, taught by nine faculty. In 1889 Central College boasted that students came from seven states and 18 counties within Texas. But as the faculty list shows, these numbers include preparatory, primary and kindergarten students as well as those doing college-level work.
Central College operated until 1896, when it was purchased by Professor Henry P. Eastman, who then gave it his name. Eastman had earlier been a co-founder of Henry College. Incorporated in 1896, Eastman College promised a "thorough education of such young men and young ladies as may attend in literature, music, art and business." It was allowed to grant the "usual" degrees of "A.B, B.S., M.E.L., B.M.. M. Ped., and AM."
Eastman students had three literary societies: Belles Lettres, Platonian, and Kappa Tau. They also had a chapter of the Y.M.C.A. Newspapers note that students provided entertainments for themselves and the community. School
The 1892-93 faculty roster shows three teaching classical subjects, one teaching commercial subjects, two teaching music, one teaching elocution, one teaching art, two teaching high school, and one teaching primary grades.
medals for debate, oratory, music and elocution were awarded following competitions open to the public. In 1887 students performed the drama Brac, the Poor House Girl. They also performed a public fan drill and a tambourine drill. Twice newspapers reported a calisthenics review, which apparently drew large audiences. The school celebrated May Day with literary society programs, and a procession leading to the crowning of the May queen.
In 1898 Eastman College was a founding member of the North Texas Inter-Collegiate Oratorical Association. An 1899 newspaper account shows a debate loss to Burleson College, a conference school rival.
On March 4, 1900, a fire destroyed the main building and the boys’ dormitory. Eastman noted that all his funds were invested in the school, It closed at the end of the school year.
Bricks and Mortar
Sulphur Springs in northeast Texas had a late 19th century population of 5,000, “thoroughly enlisted in the cause of education.” The campus was a lot of six acres. The Galveston Weekly News stated, “College building is a handsome two-story frame, 64 by 96, situated in the midst of a magnificent grove. It has a capacity of seating 300.” But by 1890 Central College had purchased “a beautiful new property.” A new two-story building measuring 28 by 44 feet with a mansard roof was added. This allowed the school to add fifty more students. The 1898 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map (right) shows a three-building campus--all two-story frame structures. The boys' dormitory, which also burned in the 1900 fire, is to the left of the main building.
Today the block facing Church, California, and Middle streets is home to the Lamar Elementary School campus.
The only sport other than calisthenics mentioned in the reports was football. In 1898 Eastman played two games. After a 6-6 draw with Henry College, the team lost to Austin College 25-0.