Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Patti Welder Middle School (Victoria Junior High)

Patti Welder passed away in 1917 just short of her 18th birthday.  Her father, John J Welder, donated 25 acres to the school board in her memory with the stipulation that her name would always remain with the property. A school bond election was held and Patti Welder High School was completed during the 1918-1919 school year.  In 1925 the school board created Victoria College and the College would be housed on the property until they re-located to their own property in 1948. In addition, the district’s administrative offices were located here.

Victoria’s growing population necessitated the addition of more buildings to accommodate the needs of students.  By 1936 it was a sprawling maze of buildings.  In 1936 a new building was added to house Victoria Junior High School.  It housed the administration, a library and four classrooms.  By 1939 another addition was needed.  Two plaques located on either side of one of the front entrances confirm that both buildings were built under the auspices of the New Deal.

In 1949 a new high school was built and named Victoria High School. With the high school and college being relocated Victoria Junior High was the sole occupant of the property and the school was renamed Patti Welder Junior High to fulfill the stipulation that her name remain with the property. By 1961 the campus was in need of serious renovation and a bond election was approved. Several buildings, including the 1918 high school building, were razed and a new wing added to the existing 1936 building along with a new gymnasium, shop, and cafeteria.
Most of the school was destroyed by a lightening caused fire on February 10, 1985.  Pictures from the fire paint a grim picture. The school was rebuilt; however, more research is needed to determine what features other than the façade remain from the original buildings.


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