||A public school system in Palestine was established in 1881 under control of the municipal government. The first classes were held at the old Palestine Female Institute (built in 1858), then a high school was built in 1888 at the Institute site on Avenue A.
In 1915 voters passed a $100,000 bond issue for a new high school. The City Council chose this site in newly created, 22-acre Reagan Park for the campus. Fort Worth architects Sanguinet & Staats were chosen for the design, which features Tudor Gothic -- or Jacobethan -- detail in brick, limestone, and occasional tile panels.
The 2-story structure, on a raised basement, is framed with reinforced concrete, allowing ample window space for air and light. The original plan included eight lecture rooms, a library, a gymnasium, laboratories, and an auditorium. A principal and 10 teachers comprised the first faculty, and the first graduating class in 1917 contained 38 students.
This building became a junior high in 1939, and was named in 1955 for John Henninger Reagan (1818-1905), Texas statesman and Palestine resident. Elementary grades were assigned here from 1966 to 1976, when the school was closed. The building was then preserved and rehabilitated as a museum and cultural center.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1986