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Harris Park School

Harris Park School7200 Lowell Boulevard (Click for map)

Westminster Elementary, 1909The Harris Park School House, also known as the DeSpain School, was built between 1892 and 1899 and named after the town in which most of the students lived. The original building contained three classrooms and was built in the French-Chateau style architecture. A town of truck gardens and farms, the school was one of the few buildings built of brick. The elaborate style and permanence of the construction materials showed the vision and the belief the town fathers had in their un-incorporated community. The land for the school had been sold to the school district by the son of the first settler in the area. Pleasant DeSpain Sr. homesteaded in the area in 1870 and it was hi son, Benjamin DeSpain, who bought the land from the government and then sold it to the district for a sale price of $150.00 in February of 1892.

Present Day Harris Park School BuildingWhen built, the school house was the pride of the town and the center of social activity. Children of town pioneers attended the school, such as the DeSpain children and the children of Edward Bowles (whose home is listed in the National Register). In 1911, Harris Park and also the surrounding area incorporated as Westminster. The school house became known as the Westminster Grade School. The little school house signifies the early historic beginnings of education in the city and it continues today to serve children in the area.

For more information on the Harris Park School, download the National Register of Historic Places registration form .


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