317 E Bay Boulevard
PALACIOS PREPARATORY SCHOOL
OPENED IN 1910, THE PALACIOS PREPARATORY
SCHOOL WAS LOCATED AT THIS SITE, BEHIND THE FAMILY HOME OF ITS FOUNDER,
MARTHA PEARL DICKSON MCGUIRE (1876-1962), AND HER FAMILY. MUSIC
INSTRUCTION WAS GIVEN IN UPSTAIRS ROOMS OF THE HOME. IT WAS THE FIRST
PALACIOS SCHOOL TO OFFER COURSES IN CULTURAL ARTS IN ADDITION TO
ACADEMICS. STUDENTS PERFORMED TWICE A YEAR IN PUBLIC PROGRAMS. AS MANY
AS SIXTY PUPILS WERE ENROLLED, AND PARENTS OFTEN TRADED LABOR ON SCHOOL
PROJECTS FOR CHILDREN'S TUITION. THE SCHOOL CLOSED IN 1918, WHEN THE
MCGUIRE FAMILY MOVED TO PALESTINE, TEXAS.
TEXAS SESQUICENTENNIAL 1836-1986
PALACIOS PREPARATORY SCHOOL
By Elizabeth Lee
The Palacios Preparatory School opened in September
1910, in a 1 1/2 story frame building located in back of the present
three-story house at 317 East Bay Boulevard, Palacios, Texas, Matagorda
County. The home was also used in conjunction with the school in that
the music classes were conducted in the larger rooms. Originally, there
were approximately ten students. Mrs. Martha Pearl McGuire saw the need
for individual attention to the children that the public schools were
unable to give.
This institution was founded by Mrs. Martha Pearl Dickson McGuire, born
February 3, 1876 in Pine Level, Alabama, and moved to Texas in 1895.
When twenty-five years of age, she married Joseph Eubank McGuire. Of the
children born to this couple, five survived to adulthood. Mrs. McGuire
died July 23, 1962 in Austin, Texas.
Mrs. McGuire graduated from the Brenau College in Gainesville, Georgia,
with a Bachelor of Arts degree in voice and piano. She also had a
teacher's certificate in French. Mrs. McGuire taught a Sunday School
class and was a member of the choir at the Christian Church in Palacios.
She taught private lessons in expression, the cornet and voice to a
number of deserving young people. She was assisted through the years by
other teachers, including Evie Dickson, Hazel Hall, Pearl Love, Regina
Calvert, and Jane Savage. Emily Margerum assisted with the teaching of
reading and spelling. Two public programs were presented each year--one
in December and one in May. Costumes were an important item for these
programs; frog suits, fairy and elf costumes, Santa Claus suits, etc.
There was an annual Easter Egg Hunt and spring picnic, also. It is
interesting to note that two of Mrs. McGuire's pupils were Abel Pierce
and Allen Pierce, nephews of "Shanghai" Pierce. There were approximately
forty students when the McGuire family moved from Palacios to Palestine,
Texas in 1928. At that time, Palacios had a population of 1200.
It has been said that "Mrs. McGuire taught more for benefit of her own
children and children of the community and for pleasure, than for
profit. She was an excellent teacher." There still remain thirteen
beautiful palm trees in front of the three-story home which were planted
by Mrs. McGuire and a son.
The school building was originally designed to be used as a carriage
house and barn. It was a 1 1/2 story frame structure with gables on all
four sides. The interior was quite "unfinished," and consisted of a long
room which was sometimes divided with a curtain to make two rooms. The
large yard accommodated much playground equipment and game areas. An
artesian well drilled on the neighbor's adjoining lot, furnished the
school with water instead of using city water. The music classes
continued to be held in the larger rooms of the home and also on the
This school was the first private school in Palacios to foster the
cultural arts which were not available in the public schools at that
Several of the students are still living  and are prominent
citizens of their communities:
Mrs. Foster Milner (Janie Savage), Bay City - for many years the First
Methodist Church organist
Mr. Abel Pierce, Palacios
Mrs. Sterling Smith (Louise Partain), Houston
Nellie May Pasal Foshee, Houston - Graduate of the
Houston Conservatory of Music (piano)
The Palacios Preparatory School was viable for only ten years. The
McGuire family moved to Palestine, Texas in the summer of 1918.
The original school structure was later remodeled during World War II by
Robert L. Price and made into an apartment to be rented to men from Camp
Hulen, which was located on the edge of the town of Palacios. In 1965,
the entire structure was demolished and removed from the property by its
owner, Irvin T. Petersen. The three-story home has been restored by its
present owners, Clayton and Elizabeth Lee.
Ownership of property:
April 6, 1908 - D. H. McGuire
to Joseph E. McGuire and wife, Pearl
May 20, 1918 - Lots 4 and 5
in Block D sold to John Bentler
October 29, 1919 - John
Bentler to R. L McClellan
July 5, 1928 - R. L.
McClellan to Garry Gossett
October 1, 1940 - Garry M.
Gossett to Robert L. Price
November 10, 1964 - Maxine
Price Ray to Irvin T. Petersen
April 10, 1970 - Irvin T.
Petersen to Clayton F. and Elizabeth Lee
The Texas Historical Marker dedication for the Palacios Preparatory
School was held October 31, 1987. The maker is located at 317 E.
Bayshore Dr., Palacios, TX.