Bay Area could lose Art Deco landmark

Demolition of the surviving section of the former Webster High School (1939, Rudolph G. Schneider), 400 South Walnut Street in Webster, is part of a bond proposal that Clear Creek Independent School District (CCISD) is putting before voters later this month. The structure, which now serves as the main entrance to Clear View High School, is one of the few remaining pre-World War II historic resources in the Clear Lake area and a surprisingly sophisticated example of Art Deco design in what was a very small town at the time the school was built. Current plans call for the entire Clear View High School campus to be demolished; the replacement facility would be constructed on vacant land adjacent to the present school.

 Former Webster High School (1939, Rudolph G. Schneider) /  photo by David Bush

Former Webster High School (1939, Rudolph G. Schneider) / photo by David Bush

 Relief plaques, Webster High School /  photos by David Bush

Relief plaques, Webster High School / photos by David Bush

It is not clear how much of the Depression-era building was incorporated into later additions, but the visible portion includes reliefs of an athlete and a scholar flanking an ornate entry with original metal doors, pylons and streamlined elements. Inside, the entry hall features a full-width shell limestone wall with the date "1939" in modernistic-style metal numerals on either side of a large seal that incorporates a relief map of Texas showing the state's rivers. Webster High School was included in Preservation Houston's book and website Houston Deco.

Preservation Houston has expressed its concerns to CCISD officials and Texas Historical Commission. A CCISD representative has told the Connection newspaperthat district officials are more open to seeking alternatives to demolition after community members asked them to spare the Art Deco portion of the Clear View campus.

Preservation Houston members who reside in CCISD are encouraged to attend one of the community meetings scheduled to inform the public about the bond election. The next meeting will be held at 6:15 p.m. Thursday, April 6, at Clear Creek High School in League City. Early voting begins April 24, and election day is May 6.

If you are not able to attend any of the meetings, please contact Dr. Greg Smith, superintendent, and Dr. Laura DuPont, school board president, Clear Creek Independent School District, 2425 East Main Street, League City, Texas 77573.