This weekend’s McFarland Reunion sparked a slew of questions among the community. Where is it? What is it? Who was Addie McFarland? Many citizens know of the McFarland Center, but the McFarland history is unknown to far too many in Mineola. It’s time to change that.
Schools were organized according to the “community system” in the late nineteenth century. Professor Robert Mason Jones and members of the community were the organizers of the schools in Mineola in 1889. The school at 708 South Stone Street was simply the South Ward School. Toward the end of the 1940’s, the school name was changed to Mineola Colored High. Though it was called a high school, students could only progress to the tenth grade. Most of those wishing to continue went to Quitman. 1948 saw the first graduating class of the school.
During the mid-50’s, the school got a namesake. Addie McFarland, a beloved teacher that taught several generations in the community, was memorialized as the school’s moniker. McFarland High would only see a dozen or so years. 1966 was the last graduating class to leave her halls. The fall of 1966 marked the integration of schools in Mineola.
Former students Timothy and Maxine Hancock donated the old elementary school building and grounds, and the Meredith Foundation funded the renovation of the property. Today, the site is open to the community for a host of programs. There are library extension services, Zumba classes, and summer lunch programs offered there, as well as being available for rental for events. The McFarland Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Site manager Debra McCalla welcomes calls for information at (903) 569-8851.
Addie E. McFarland Community Center
708 South Stone St. (P. O. Box 987)
Mineola, TX 75773
Manager: Mrs. Debra McCalla
Hours of Operation:
Monday – Thursday 8:00am – 5:00pm