HISTORY OF ANACOCO ELEMENTARY

The detailed history of Anacoco School has been written and revised several times in many interesting forms.  This one, however, represents a compilation of the basic data from the previous records with an updating by current statistics.

The territory of Vernon Parish was settled during the 1850’s when the virgin timber bordering the Sabine River was being cut.  About April 11, 1871, the Louisiana Legislature passed a bill which brought Vernon Parish into existence.

  Forty years before the parish was named, there were settlements in the Anacoco area.  Into a vast wilderness covered with forests, creeks, swamps and hammocks, rode a Jonathon Franklin, about 1830.  He and his family pulled to a stop on the crest of a hill; there began the Anacoco settlement.  He was also instrumental in building the first log schoolhouse, and his wife was the leader in the organization of the Holly Grove Church.

  Prior to 1900’s, the community was called Neame; however, the Kansas City Southern Railroad Company changed the name of the town to Orange.  Because of the confusion in mail service, Dr. W.T. Franklin, a prominent resident, gave the town the name of Anacoco, the origin being Anacoco Creek.

  Anacoco is located on Highway 171 as a pivotal point to Shreveport to the north, Lake Charles to the south, Alexandria to the east, and Jasper, Texas, to the west.  The population has always been predominately Caucasian, and the inhabitants are mostly home owners.  The town of Anacoco is laid out in lots and is incorporated.  Presently there are eight grocery stores; one cafe; three service stations; four bait-stands; four churches within the immediate area and eight churches which serve the children enrolled in the school; a Masonic Lodge building; a fire station; an American Legion hall; a post office; and a large, sprawling school plant.

  Because the first settlements were widely scattered, the school was considered the heart of each settlement.  Some of the earliest schools were taught in private homes; later, one-room log structures were built after the sawmills started operating. The school session usually terminated after two to six months; the means of transportation were the covered wagons. At that time there were approximately eighteen one-room schools within the Anacoco Community which were eventually consolidated into the following twelve schools: Cold Springs, Union, Mitchell, Orange, Holly Grove, China Grove, Camp Baker, Sandy Creek, Edgefield, Central, Good Hope, and Eddy.  By 1926, all of the small schools had been consolidated into one large and modern school at the Anacoco location.  Increased enrollments necessitated the building of additional facilities.  Although the Vernon Parish School Board passed a resolution which made the Orange School a high school, it was not state-approved until the 1921-22 Session.  In 1924, the people of the school district voted bonds for the erection of a new, brick structure.

  In 1936 there was a great demand for an agriculture department, as a result of the high community sentiment, a modern and well equipped wooden structure was completed the following year; in 1939 a farm shop was erected.  In 1947 bonds were voted for the purpose of erecting a gymnasium and a home economics cottage.  Also, in 1949, a new farm shop was built.  It was in 1949 that the Vernon Parish School Board and Louisiana State Department of Education changed the name of Orange High School to Anacoco High School.  Five years later, a well-equipped cafeteria was completed.  The taxpayers voted in March 1961, to build a one-story, bisectional building of masonry-steel construction which would separately house the elementary grades through the eighth and the ninth through twelfth grade.  The latter consisted of three regular educational classrooms, a science laboratory, home economics department, business education department, library and offices; this section was completely air conditioned in 1966.  Again in 1967 a bond issue was voted for renovation and air-conditioning purposes.  In 1970 the people of the school district voted for the building of needed classrooms and offices, since the enrollment had increased far beyond past expectations.

  To the list of the core subjects (English, mathematics, science, social studies, and home economics) which was offered in the first school, the Anacoco High School has added, through the years, physical education, vocational agriculture, business education, and music.  Speech therapy guidance, reading therapy, special education, and kindergarten have been recent innovations to enrich the educational program. The extracurricular activities in which the students engage include, inter-scholastic basketball; 4-H Club; F.F.A; F.H.A.; F.BL.A.; a science club; and participation in local, district, and state literary rallies, music rallies and festivals, and talent contests.

  The continuous building program through the years, as voted by the people of the Anacoco School District, serves as monumental evidence of their interest in and support of superior education for their young people.  Several new additions to the school were completed in 1976 with the opening of six classrooms, a new shop, boys and girls’ restrooms, and a meat processing plant The Anacoco High School and Elementary School were separated prior to the beginning of the 1986-1987  school term.  The high school moved to their new building, and the elementary school utilizes the original plant with additions.  This provided the school with additional classrooms, so that several overcrowded classes could be divided.

  The Anacoco Junior High School and Elementary School were separated in the 1991-1992 school term. The Junior High section was renovated and established as a fifth and sixth grade building.