Dallas ISD is a hotbed of history, from the people who’ve passed through district classrooms, to the students who’ve graduated, to the very buildings standing in the district’s 324 mile radius. Within that radius is Sunset High School, named for the neighborhood in which it was built, the Sunset Hills Addition of Oak Cliff. The school was built in 1925 when Calvin Coolidge was President of the United States, Ford produced its first truck, F.Scott Fitzgerald released “The Great Gatsby,” and the average family household income in the U.S. was, give or take, $5,200, according to a recent edition of the Sunset Alumni Newsletter.
In its first year, 39 teachers opened Sunset, which was Oak Cliff’s second high school, to 1,400 students.
This Saturday, the Sunset community will not only honor the school’s 90th anniversary, it will also celebrate its historic designation from the City of Dallas, its designation as a Texas Registered Landmark, and formally dedicate Sunset’s Byron Rhome Field House, which is named for one of the school’s early football coaches.
Sunset is the last of Dallas ISD’s six original high schools to receive historical designation. The campus was designed by DeWitt and Lemmon, a Dallas-area architectural firm, which was also responsible for designing Woodrow Wilson High School and several buildings at Southern Methodist University.
The three-story, steel-framed building was erected with masonry walls designed in the Georgian Revival style, which was popular in the early twentieth century in the United States.
Sunset houses two historic murals on the third floor of the building. The murals were commissioned in 1934 as part of former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s federal government work relief effort called the Works Progress Administration. WPA’s Federal Art Project hired local artists to paint murals in public buildings and schools.
Artist Granville Bruce was contracted under WPA to contribute two oil-on-canvas works titled “Landing of Pioneers,” and “An Early Texas School,” to Sunset. The paintings are on display in the school’s library.
At 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26, alumni will celebrate Sunset’s 90th anniversary at the 2121 W. Jefferson Blvd campus with refreshments and a commemorative program followed by student- and alumni-led tours of the school for those interested.
Those seeking to attend the event are encouraged to send an RSVP to SunsetBisons@gmail.com.
For more information regarding the event, visit www.sunsetalumni.com.