Thanks to Billy W Scott Class of 1961 for this page

Copyright 2002-2007© Billy W. Scott All Rights Reserved





Can you correctly answer the following questions?

  • When was Fair Park High School built?

  • Why was the school named Fair Park?

  • Why were the sports teams called the Indians?

  • Why was the school yearbook named Sequoyah?

If you are like most folks you would probably agree that our high school priorities didn't include a lot of attention to these particular topics. Now that we have been around long enough to expand our list of priorities, perhaps the following historical information on these topics will be an interesting way to enrich your remembrances of your Fair Park days.

"The sunshine of the spring of 1928 fell upon a plain, very woody-looking field on the edge of the Greenwood Road. People passed by, gazed off into the distance, and thought nothing. But in the autumn of the same year when the passerby looked for the old red clay terrace, there was none! Shining in the twilight of the Indian Summer, with its tower raised toward the heavens, stood Fair Park High School in all its splendor . . ." Those words were written by Edith Bailey, President of the 1931 Senior Class, and provide a dramatic introduction to her summary of the early history of Fair Park High School. Take a look at the image below and see if you don't agree with Edith's description of the new Fair Park High School as it would have looked to someone traveling along Greenwood Road in the fall of 1928.

This image appears in the first yearbook published at Fair Park, the 1931 Sequoyah. The image is not a photo, but an artist drawing probably prepared at the time the school was being planned. While this image is not a photo, it is fairly certain this is how the building looked when it was completed in the fall of 1928.

Some of the more interesting highlights of early Fair Park history are shown below.

  • Construction began in the spring of 1928 and was completed in time for the opening of school that fall. The 10-acre campus, the structure, and the furnishings cost $481,000. Shreveport was definitely experiencing a booming economy during this period because the cost of Fair Park was not financed with long-term debt. Rather, these costs were paid on a "cash basis" using funds collected from a special 1½-mill tax. Adjusted for inflation Fair Park's total cost in 1928 would be equivalent to about $5.7 million in 2006.

  • The first school year, 1928-1929, saw little in the way of extra-curricula activities for the students. This was due to the huge amount of work required of school administrators and teachers to get the school fully operational.

  • Although the school’s design capacity was 500 students, the second school year, 1929-1930, saw an enrollment totaling 735 students being taught by a total of 29 teachers. By 1931 the school building had to be enlarged to handle the continuing growth in enrollment of students.

  • The second school year, 1929-1930, brought many changes. Football, basketball, baseball, and track teams were established. Various student groups were also organized.

  • During the second year the school newspaper, the Pow Wow, was started by the Junior class of 1929-1930. The first Pow Wow was dated December 6, 1929. It was priced at $.10 per copy.

  • The first Sequoyah was published by the Seniors of 1931, Fair Park's first graduating class.

  • Origins of Names

    • Fair Park High School

      • The school name was apparently chosen because of the school's proximity to a residential area known as the Fair Park subdivision. The subdivision's name was probably related to its location near the Louisiana State Fairgrounds. Caddo Parish School Board officials who announced construction of the new high school in late 1927 probably named the school. At the time of the announced construction the new school was already being called Fair Park High School.

    • Indians

      • The first issue of the Pow Wow school newspaper notes that the school’s football team had chosen the term "Indians" for the team name. This decision was attributed to the historical fact that Caddo Indians had lived in the area. No further details were provided in the Pow Wow concerning the team's name choice. However, inasmuch as the Parish was also named after the Caddo Indians, Fair Park's team name was a logical choice.

    • Pow Wow School Newspaper

      • The first issue of the school newspaper also explains why the word powwow was chosen. In an article titled "Powwow Makes Bow" the comment is made that, "the Indian name powwow was selected because of our relationship with the Indians, especially the Kadohodoehas, or Caddos." The article also notes that, "we are led to believe that part of this tribe lived near our school because Mr. Ward (the first Principal) found some arrowheads on the ball field behind the school building." The article also links the choice of powwow to the decision to call the football team the Indians. According to the article, the school Librarian, Miss Lula Soapes, suggested using the name powwow.

    • Sequoyah Yearbook

      • The name for the yearbook, Sequoyah, was proposed by the first Fair Park Principal, Mr. J. W. Ward. Mr. Ward's proposal was in recognition of the accomplishments of a historically prominent Cherokee Indian Chief named Sequoyah. Sequoyah is credited with development in the early 1800's of a Cherokee alphabet that greatly enhanced literacy among the Cherokee people. The Fair Park Class of 1931 considered the story of Sequoyah so interesting and inspiring they believed it was especially fitting to honor Sequoyah by using his name for the yearbook.

      • Highlights of Chief Sequoyah's Life - 1776-1843

        Sequoyah was born at the village of Tuskeegee, which was very near present day Vonore, TN. His father was Nathaniel Gist, a Virginia fur trader. His mother was Wut-teh, daughter of a Cherokee Chief.

        Sequoyah married a Cherokee woman, had a family, and was a silversmith by trade. During the War of 1812 Sequoyah and other Cherokees enlisted on the side of the United States and fought under General Andrew Jackson against the British and their allies the Creek Indians.

        Although Sequoyah was exposed to the concept of writing early in his life, he never learned the English alphabet. However, prior to the War of 1812 he had been interested in developing a system of writing for the Cherokee people. Sequoyah's interest in developing a system of writing grew during the war when he and other Cherokees were incapable of writing letters home, reading military orders, or preparing written records of events like many of the white soldiers were able to do.

        After the war, Sequoyah began in earnest to create a writing system for the Cherokees. He finally reduced the thousands of Cherokee expressions to 85 symbols representing sounds. He made a game of this new writing system and taught his little girl Ayoka how to make the symbols. In 1821, after 12 years working on the new writing system, he and his daughter introduced his syllabary to the Cherokee people. Within a few months thousands of Cherokees became literate.

        By 1825 much of the Bible and numerous hymns had been translated into Cherokee. By 1828 they were publishing the "Cherokee Phoenix," the first national bi-lingual newspaper, along with religious pamphlets, educational materials and legal documents.

        In recognition of his contributions, the Cherokee Nation awarded Sequoyah a silver medal struck in his honor and a lifetime literary pension. He continued to serve the Cherokee people as a statesman and diplomat until his death.


Following is a list of the Principals who have served Fair Park since it’s opening in the Fall of 1928. If you can avoid it, don't dwell on the fact that Fair Park was only on its third Principal when we arrived.

  1. J. W. Ward – 1928 to 1937

    Mr. Ward served from the first day Fair Park opened its doors until his death in 1937.

  2. Edward Lee Alberson – 1937 to 1957

    Mr. Alberson has the longest continuous time as Principal having served for 20 years until his retirement in 1957.

  3. E. H. Herron – 1957 to 1960

    Mr. Herron’s term as Principal was cut short by his death in the early spring of 1960.

  4. Earl A. McKenzie – 1960 to 1966

    Dr. McKenzie left Fair Park to take a position with the Superintendent of Caddo Parish Schools.

  5. B. H. Brantly - 1966 to 1971

    Mr. Brantly left Fair Park for a position on the staff of Northeast Louisiana University.

  6. Clem Henderson – 1971 to 1976

    Mr. Henderson was at the helm during the period Fair Park received a major "face-lift." During his term as Principal updates were made to the windows, air conditioning, boilers, library, administrative offices and the teachers’ lounge, and the building was sandblasted and waterproofed.

  7. Johnny Bilberry – 1976 to 1977

    Mr. Bilberry left Fair Park to accept a position as the Supervisor of Health and Physical Education in Caddo Parish.

  8. Roland L. Antoine, Sr. – 1977 to 1992

    Mr. Antoine has the second longest time as Principal having served for 15 years at the time of his retirement in 1992. It was during Mr. Antoine's term that the cupola on the building was replaced.

  9. John Dilworth – 1992 to 1994

    Mr. Dilworth was a former teacher and Assistant Principal who served as Principal for 2 years.

  10. Wanda Brooks – 1994 to 1999

    During Mrs. Brooks administration a new ROTC firing range was completed at the school. She accepted a job with the Caddo Parish School Board in 1999.

  11. Eddie Cooper – 1999 to 2005

    Mr. Cooper was involved in the process leading to Fair Park’s listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

  12. Bruce Daigle - 2005 to present

    Mr. Daigle also served as interim Principal during Mr. Cooper's absence for medical reasons during the 2004-2005 school year.


On January 11, 2001 Fair Park High School was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The following information was prepared and submitted as part of the process leading to that listing.

Fair Park High School is a sprawling three-story building incorporating archetypes and features from various aspects of the classical tradition. Its red brick walls are trimmed in limestone. The school is located in a park-like setting on Greenwood Road in western Shreveport across from the Louisiana State Fairgrounds. Despite an admittedly major change in the central tower and window replacement, Fair Park would still be easily recognizable to someone from the historic period.

The façade of the main block is articulated in a five-part manner, which was very standard for large American school buildings of the early twentieth century. There is a central entrance marked by a pediment resting on colossal pilasters, hyphen classroom wings and end pavilions. As was often the case, the pavilion facades are almost blank. A high basement forms the first story. The central entrance is marked by three arched openings. As built in 1928, a three-stage tower in the manner of English architect Sir Christopher Wren crowned the center. In America the tower reminds one of William and Mary and Colonial Williamsburg. It consisted of a high brick base with an oculus on each side and a balustrade (stage 1), surmounted by a slender wooden pavilion with round arch windows and pilasters resting on its own low brick base (stage 2), which was surmounted in turn by a domed cupola (stage 3). Today, stage 3 and all but the low brick base of stage 2 are missing. They were replaced with a small dome-like top. This was done in the 1980's when the original cupola began to leak. 

At the east end, set back from the main building, is a two-story auditorium wing with an off-center entrance marked by a pedimented pavilion. Extending westward at a right angle from the rear of the auditorium is a one story industrial arts wing.

Other noteworthy classical exterior features include the decorative swags and shield in the tympanum of the main block, the niches with urns set in the ground story of each end pavilion of the main block, and alternating triangular and segmental pediments over the openings of the piano nobile of the entrance pavilion. As with most schools of the period, windows are large and are set in groupings or bands. Most of the school’s original 12/12 windows have been replaced with metal windows featuring horizontal panes.

Original large steel windows with arched tops survive on the auditorium’s side and rear elevations, and the original multi-pane steel windows remain on the industrial arts wing.

Awash in oil money, Shreveport was experiencing explosive population growth in the 1920s, which is why Fair Park was built in the first place. In 1931, just three years after it opened, the school received a two story classroom addition on the west side of the main block. The addition echoes the classical styling of the original building but in a much more low-key manner. Like the auditorium on the east side, it is set back from the main block. It features standard classical elements – a symmetrical façade, round arched entrance doors, and a pair of round windows – but there is no sculpted ornament. In 1937 the wing received a partial third story at the rear. 

The school has a standard floor plan of long halls with classrooms to each side. The 1931 wing has the same interior detailing as the original school. With the exception of acoustical tile ceilings, the interior looks much as it did in the historic period. The halls feature a high (6-7 foot) green glazed tile wainscot and bands of lockers. The floors are of reddish brown tile laid in a decorative pattern. Classroom doors have a large operable transom above, and transom-like windows between classrooms and the hall provide additional ventilation. In the entrance lobby cast concrete posts covered largely in a light color tile set off a staircase at each side. The staircases feature an openwork design in steel, as do the staircases at the front and back of the 1931 wing. Staircases at each end of the main block are of concrete. The cavernous auditorium has a curved ceiling, a balcony section, and a proscenium ornamented with two floral bands.

Non-historic alterations:

In addition to the previously described tower alteration and window replacement, the brick has been sandblasted. A relatively small two-story wing has been added on the east side at the rear corner of the auditorium.

A freestanding 1956 gym connected to the 1931 wing via a covered walkway is being excluded from the nominated acreage.

Assessment of Integrity:

While the tower alteration and the window replacement have had a notable impact upon the appearance of the school, they have not done so to such an extent that it would not be readily recognizable to someone from the historic period, which is the litmus test for Register eligibility under Criterion A.


ARCHITECT/BUILDER: Edward F. Neild, architect


Local History

Fair Park High School is of local educational significance as part of a massive school building campaign in the teens and ‘20s necessitated by the city’s oil boom-driven population explosion. Its opening in 1928 improved the overall quality of education in Shreveport by relieving overcrowded conditions – a chronic problem in the city during the period.

The discovery in 1906 of one of the world’s largest oil fields, the Caddo Field, launched an era of booming prosperity and skyrocketing population growth in Shreveport totaling almost a fivefold increase from 1900 to 1930. Between 1908 and 1918 oil production increased eleven-fold, and in 1911 the world’s first over-water oil well was drilled in Caddo Lake. Shreveport was inundated with new citizens, and elsewhere in the parish new oil booms towns seemingly sprang up overnight. The boom continued into the 1920s; and even in the 1930s, oil helped Shreveport escape the worst of the Great Depression.

All this, of course, literally changed the face of the city, as old Victorian homes and commercial buildings were demolished to make way for new "temples of commerce" and institutional buildings. The pace of construction was so rapid in the teens and ‘20s, when the city’s population doubled in a ten-year period, that the local newspaper carried on the front page a standing feature called "See Shreveport Grow Day by Day," as it heralded new building permits. Skyscrapers, new subdivisions and major institutional buildings were being constructed at a dizzying pace and often with no expense spared.

Needless to say, as new people moved to Shreveport at a rapid pace and as the city annexed new areas, there was immense pressure on the city and parish infrastructure. Schools seemed to be overcrowded as soon as they were built. Between 1900 and 1920, for example, the white school population increased 317% and white school enrollment increased 265%. Meeting the needs of a school population increasing at such a rate was a serious challenge indeed. At one point (1916) the Caddo Parish School Board considered, but then rejected, the idea of dividing the school population in half and teaching one half in the morning and the other in the afternoon. A cheap expedient, until new schools could be built, was the erection of temporary frame buildings, known at the time as "the shacks."

When the oil boom began in 1906, Shreveport had one public school. Just a few years old (1899), the large three-story building was officially named Shreveport Central High School, but was generally called the Hope Street School because of its location. As was typical of the time, it housed all grades and was for whites only. As school enrollment climbed rapidly, a larger school was needed. In 1910 a new school was built to house the high school grades, while the 1899 school housed the elementary grades. In 1917 a large brick school was constructed for blacks of all grades.

In the teens and twenties, as school enrollment continued to outgrow facilities, a series of elementary schools and two high schools, C. E. Byrd (1925) and Fair Park (1928), were built for white students. Perhaps nothing tells the story of the demands on the school system better than the construction of the two high schools, both vast in size, some three years apart. Byrd, a huge building located on a twenty acre campus in the southeastern part of the city, opened in 1926 with 63 classrooms and a 2,000 seat auditorium. The next year it was announced that another large high school would be erected soon to serve the western side of the city. Two years after Byrd opened, Fair Park welcomed students to its large plant, including 32 classrooms and an auditorium. By its second year, the school had 735 students and 29 teachers. Enrollment continued to escalate, necessitating the construction of more classrooms in 1931, just three years after the school opened.

Schools like Byrd and Fair Park and others elsewhere in the parish clearly reflect the overriding theme in Caddo Parish public school history in the early twentieth century – a physical plant that was hard pressed to keep pace with the oil boom-driven population explosion. Almost as soon as a new school was built to provide some relief (for example, Fair Park), it too was overcrowded and had to be expanded. Because smaller classroom size is a benchmark for quality education, it is clear that the construction of a school like Fair Park was of considerable importance. It and Byrd in some respects represent the culmination of the early twentieth century massive school building program. And it is worthy of mention that virtually all the teens and twenties schools survive and are still in their original use.


"Western Residential Section to be Served by New High School," Shreveport Magazine, December 1927.

Sequoyah (Fair Park yearbook), 1931, 1933.

Fair Park Pow Wow (school newspaper), December 6, 1929.

Sanborn Insurance Company map, Shreveport, 1935.

McLaurin, Ann M. Glimpses of the City of Byrd, 1925-1995. N.p., 1995.

Currie, Dora. "Some Aspects of the Development of Public Schools in Caddo Parish during the Administration of Superintendent C. E. Byrd." M.A. thesis, LSU, 1942.

Internet website http://www.sequoyahmuseum.org/

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Copyright 2002-2007©Billy W. Scott

All Rights Reserved