Birdville History


    Throughout the years, the district has heard jokes about its peculiar name. Past school boards and administrators have even considered changing the district's identification to something more geographically representative, but community historians expressed staunch disapproval.

    So, why Birdville? Contrary to popular opinion (typically by newcomers to the area), Birdville has nothing to do with bird-watching. Rather, Birdville ISD continues a tradition it began on the Texas frontier long before the Civil War.

    The community got its start in the 1850s. Settlers took the name Birdville for their town as they pushed westward from the original settlement of Bird's Fort, built by Jonathon Bird in 1841 and fortified by a small group of Texas Rangers. Birdville became the first seat of Tarrant County in 1851.

    Unfortunately for Birdville, in 1856, enthusiastic backers of nearby Fort Worth managed to get the county seat moved after a controversial election that brought shootings and a lingering bitterness to the county. The Birdville community survived, however, and boasted several businesses, houses and churches through the years.

    As with most pioneer institutions, it is nearly impossible to pinpoint the exact time at which the Birdville schools began. Classes are estimated to have started in 1855, when Birdville was well-established and large enough to have thriving business houses and a newspaper. On the site known as Birdville Hill, located north and east of the present intersection of Carson and Belknap streets, a school opened in 1858. Operated by Professor William E. Hudson, the school was named Birdville Academy .

    By 1864, Birdville's student body had grown enough that two teachers were needed. In that year, Mary Mugg taught the primary children while Professor Hudson taught the upper grades. During these and earlier years, students from Dallas , Denton , and Parker counties came to Birdville to attend classes. They boarded with Birdville families during the school terms.

    By the 1869-1870 term, the school had grown to such an extent that three teachers were needed. By the fall of 1881, 48 students were attending classes. An important school reform law was passed by the Texas legislature in 1884. Following its provisions, on April 17, 1884, the Tarrant County Commissioners instructed the school communities in the county to define their attendance areas exactly and to send a map to the county commissioners. Birdville's boundaries were set by its trustees.

    The 20th century has seen steady progress in the Birdville schools. Each decade has witnessed educational milestones and growth. The year 1916 signalled the beginning of major growth. In that year, trustees rode horseback over the community seeking names on a petition to get a bond issue for expansion. In the spring of 1919, a bond issue was approved so the district could erect a new brick building. The new building was first occupied during the 1920-1921 term. It contained four classrooms and an auditorium. Birdville's enrollment stood at 156 and the state apportionment was $14.50 per student.

    During the 1924-1925 term, a mother's club was formed. In 1925, the Birdville's first formal PTA operated a booth at the Fat Stock Show, raised $125, and used the money to buy library books for the school.

    In 1926, under the direction of Superintendent W. T. Francisco, the Birdville ISD was incorporated. An expansion program was approved the same year. A second red brick building was ready for occupancy by the beginning of the 1926-1927 term.

    Birdville's campus gradually grew larger and employed 13 teachers. In 1932, an 11th grade was added. In 1939, Birdville completed a large brick building on the southwest corner of its property. After it burned in 1947, it was replaced at once. The new building served as the nucleus of Haltom High School .

    A century after its founding, Birdville's enrollment reached 6,867 students. More than 300 staff members were on the payroll and the annual budget totaled nearly one- and one-half million dollars.

    Until 1961, the high school located on the first Birdville school site was named " Birdville High School ." In that year, with the opening of a second high school in the district, Richland High School , the original campus was named Haltom High School . In May 1986, another bond election authorized the purchase of a new site and the construction of a new facility to house Haltom High School . The original building was converted into an educational center for special student programs and services.

    The Texas Historical Commission authorized an official Texas Historical Marker on the original site of the pioneer Birdville schools. The marker was dedicated on Aug. 12, 1989, at 3120 Carson Street in Haltom City .

    Today, Birdville ISD is the fourth largest school district in Northeast Tarrant County, with 32 campuses, and serves a growing population of 120,000 residents and more than 22,400 students. The district spans 40 miles and is located at the "hub" of the Fort Worth-Dallas metroplex. The entire community of Richland Hills and parts of Colleyville, Fort Worth , Haltom City , Hurst , North Richland Hills and Watauga are within its boundaries.