Using history to save old Denison High School

By: Daniel Gotera Email
By: Daniel Gotera Email

DENISON, Tex. -- The fight to save the old Denison High School continues, but the key to saving it might rest with other historical landmarks in the city.

It’s no secret that a lot of money will have to be raised to keep the old Denison High School standing. City officials say that money might have to come from private citizens.

But, a solution to that problem might not be out of reach.

Historic Denison consists of much more than just the old high school. It’s Eisenhower’s Birthplace, the Chisolm Trail, the Travelers Hotel, and the Old Katy Depot, home to the Katy Railroad which brought life to the city.

"If they were to incorporate all the other history that we have here in Denison, they would actually be getting people involved to pay for their history," says Denison city councilman Obie Greenleaf.

Greenleaf has lived in Denison most of his life and thinks the best chance for residents to save the old Denison High School and bring in money is to market the area as being historically significant.

"If you can show them on the ground things that happened that’s historical to them they might be willing to fund it.”

It’s an idea which officials at the Texas Historical Commission say might just work.

"That’s relatively unusual to have a school with this prominent of a location adjacent or part of a commercial district."

Officials with the commission say there are over 100 historical buildings in the Denison commercial district not including other sites around the city like the Chisholm Trail. Its marker is hidden by trees.

Greenleaf says that if these areas can be cleaned up and put together for educational purposes, it could just attract enough money.

The amount of money needed to save old Denison High School from being demolished has not yet been determined, but residents wanting to save it have until August 10th to come up with the money or another solution.

Are you for or against saving the old Denison High School?


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by a friend of denison Location: Grayson County on Aug 15, 2007 at 09:46 PM
    I don't understand why so many people are attacking Joe Pollaro. He believes in history and the preservation of it. What is wrong with that? Joe Pollaro is doing a great thing. I am proud to know him and proud of what he is doing for our community. The people that are posting negative comments are jealous individuals who unfortunately can't stand to see someone be successful and prosper. Joe Pollaro is a very gifted and talented man and his motives are true and honest. The people that are attacking Joe, I have a question for you...Don't you believe in preserving history? The building is beautiful. Everyone in Denison should be supporting these people's efforts. It IS progress for Denison. Keep up the good work, Joe and all of the other volunteers! You are doing a great thing! I admire your hard work and your perserverance! It will be worth it! Don't give up! I support you!
  • by Main St businessman Location: Denison on Aug 13, 2007 at 09:44 AM
    BELIEVE IT ON NOT The City Council is actually considering paying a contractor $500,000 (yes, that's half a million) to do nothing. I believe the contractor would be trilled to get half a million for nothing. It would be like winning the lottery without buying a ticket. Any councilman that votes to do this should be investigated for receiving kickbacks from the contractor. DHI owned this property for close to 20 twenty years. In that time, they spent hundreds of thousands for feasibility studies and did not spent anything to preserve the building. They are the reason nothing remains but a shell. They are guilty of raping and abusing the old high school, not the City. Furthermore, the DISD knew this would happen when they sold it to an orgaization that did not have the resources to maintain the building. I have watched this building rot for the last 20 years. It is too late now to save it. Everyone in Denison with a water meter would have to pay $1,000 to save it.
  • by GAWD on Aug 8, 2007 at 09:38 AM
    DISLIKE FOR MY BROTHER? NO BROTHER, CANT YOU SEE I FAVOR HIM? CANT YOU SEE I HAVE GIVEN HIM MORE THAN ALL OF THE REST OF DENISON? AFTER ALL, HE MOVED THE HOUSE BECAUSE OF ME (actually, I was just messing with him that day when I told him to move it, I too get bored). GO PEOPLE BE PROGRESSIVE AND GET MAKE THIS TOWN MOVE FROM A NEGATIVE GROWTH RATE TO A POSITIVE ONE. BUT YOU MUST FIRST TEAR DOWN THE BUILDING IN ORDER TO SEE A PROGRESSIVE FUTURE. SINCE THE DAYS OF THE ARC, I HAVE INSTALLED SURROUND SOUND, DSL, AND OF COURSE EVERY ROOM ON MY YACHT HAS IN IPHONE. I PERSONALLY HAVE NOTHING AGAINST ANOTHER PHARMACY IN DOWNTOWN DENISON, THE TOWN HAS MANY ELDERLY SOURROUNDING MAINSTREET. IT IS LESS EXPENSIVE AND WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE. JOE POLLARO, WE NEED TO HAVE A CHAT. MAKE SOME TIME FOR ME ON THE 9TH PLEASE. BLESS MY PEOPLE OF DENISON- GAWD
  • by Joey Location: Denison on Aug 8, 2007 at 05:28 AM
    Why is there so much dislike for Pollaro? I've noticed on both KXII comment pages and talk throughout town.
  • by GAWD Location: Everywhere on Aug 7, 2007 at 07:24 PM
    MY BROTHERS AND SISTER, THIS IS YOUR FATHER. Go tell those people that sit in their throwns that this building is nothing but merely an empty shell. Many, many years ago....I too had someone build something for me, and you guys still can't find it. Tear down the building and start digging....the Arc is underneath. You discover what Progress really means. Once it is down....you will all invited onto my Yacht at Lake Texoma where to see how my good people have progressed. We have air-conditioning for the elderly and plenty of food for the children. Come one, Come all. But not until the Building is torn down. See you then, Gawd
  • by J P Location: Denison on Aug 7, 2007 at 05:10 PM
    hello, this is joe pollaro. I have been watching this thread and i have one thing to say. this town has a bunch of unimaginative, uneducated hillbillys. the counselmen of this town are mindless idiots. if the building is restored, i will peronally landscape all of downtown denison and foot the bill. i will create a paradise of the downtown just like my own yard has from the old highschool all the way to the katy depot. we histored the historical barrett building. and we WILL restore DHS with or without you. j p
  • by George Location: Denison on Aug 7, 2007 at 11:13 AM
    You know, that actually wouldn't be a bad compromise to resolve this. I wouldn't mind if they kept the clock and put it somewhere (Heritage Park downtown or wherever), but for goodness sakes don't keep a useless old building that's been deteriorating for 20 years and is decaying in the middle of downtown, taking up valuable commercial space that we can market. Even renovating the building wouldn't be feasible, it has no usable function and it's much too expensive to both renovate and to maintain over the years. Putting the clock somewhere would only require someone to check it once a year for damages, thus doing away with the problem of maintenance, and take less space. If the other side has private donors, it will be a lot easier to raise funds to preserve a clock than to save a whole building and it wouldn't require any yearly funding expenditures. Tear down old DHS for us progressive-minded and sell the space to commercial development, and keep the clock for the history buffs.
  • by Joey P on Aug 7, 2007 at 09:21 AM
    Fellows the council has a plan. The August 10 deadline is not a deadline but a delay to come up with an excuse to allow the old building to stand. Wonder why the wrecking ball stopped at just the right time and was not started from the east side. This old building is a tribute to all the streets and sidewalks with grass growing through them, the 6' weeds all over town, J-M, and the SW corner of 84/75. This building MUST stay it's a true representitive of Denison.
  • by April Location: Waco on Aug 6, 2007 at 07:31 PM
    I attended the school in the '70s when it was McDaniel Jr High, and unfortunately moved away from Denison my senior year. It saddens me to see the current condition of that beautiful old building. I believe the efforts of the people trying to save it is too little too late. With a population of 23,000, how on earth can the money needed to save it be raised? The time to do something about the building was right after it was boarded up...not some 20 years later. I loved that school, and I cried when I saw the photos of the condition it's in now. Save the clock tower...build a small monument in rememberance. They can remove the building, but they can never remove the memories.
  • by George Location: Denison on Aug 6, 2007 at 06:59 PM
    Hey Jane, that's a good idea about the charity. You think the contractor will give us the $10,000 Joe Pollaro gave him to stop progress as our first donation? You know, it makes you wonder why they chose now to try to save that old eyesore instead of a few years ago when Denison Heritage Inc. tried to save it but couldn't because 1) there was no long-term working financial plan to maintain it over the years and 2) the people of Denison just weren't interested in saving it. This isn't about "saving the town" for them - this is another opportunity to get the spotlight because they crave attention so much. I hope they're not doing something behind the scenes, trying to strike a deal with a politician to buy more time to save that relic because they have no feasible plan for renovating it. I guess we'll see in a few days whether this town will move forward or continue to move backwards. Some people want us to be backwards to maintain their political power - progress threatens them.
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