Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?



Tarleton's Manual Arts Class

The April 29, 1926 J-TAC showed a photo of the first house built by the Tarleton carpentry class. It was located north of the campus and constructed from start to finish by the boys under the direction of Professor E.A. Funkhouser. It had five rooms, a large sleeping porch, bath closets, built-in book cases, kitchen cabinets, and the best system of water and lights. Members of the class were Roy Hudspeth, R.V. Montgomery, C.J. Thompson, Doyle Graves, Riley Yarbrough, Vernon Head, Cecil Albritton, Rankin Stockton, and Earl Garret.

That first house might have also been the first house constructed by students in the state of Texas and probably in the United States according to the April 29, 1926 J-TAC! A number of similar projects were started in other states about that time. Shortly after the first house was completed a northern magazine published a story about the house, along with a photo, bringing favorable attention to the program.

After the first house was completed in 1920/21, the carpentry class constructed a house each year, including the college hospital shown above as well as Mr. Howell's home, the auto mechanics building and several others on campus. The 1923 Grassburr stated that "this little house was built by the boys of our College to protect us in illness." The first nurse was Mabeth Hanna.

Professor E.A. Funkhouser, shown above, and his class also constructed the rock wall in front of the Howell building and Heritage Park, as well as a rock wall at his residence on Jones Street. While working at his home on McIlhaney on July 22, 1926, Professor Funkhouser was accidently electrocuted when he took hold of a defective light cord. His coming to Tarleton in 1918 marked the beginning of Tarleton's Industrial Arts division, initially having just a woodworking shop. By 1926 mechanical drawing, blacksmithing, auto mechanics, and vocational carpentry classes had been added. He authored Farm Projects in Mechanics, which was requested by the departments of education of all forty-eight states as well as recommended by the National Industrial Magazine which led to international recognition.

Professor E.A. Funkhouser's daughter Madeline Sullenburger was a long time staff member of the Tarleton library!

Grassburr, 1920, p.68, 1922, p.18, 1923, p.20.
Guthrie, Christopher E., John Tarleton and his Legacy, p. 53, 60, 63, 386.
J-TAC, February 24, 1920, August 4, 1926.
King, C. Richard, Golden Days of Purple & White, p.150.

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