Humble Walking Tour courtesy of the Humble Museum

Charles Bender High School (Block 26)


Today

Today (above)


Back then...

The Humble School was the first brick schoolhouse built in Humble. It was opened by District No. 28 for the 1909-1910 school year.

The district held Humble's first schoolhouse bond election in May 1909. The election called for a $10,000 bond, which the citizens passed 339 to 2. The district purchased one block on HIggins Street, near the downtown Humble area (Block 26 in Bender's First Addition) from the estate of Charles Bender for $450.1 The construction of the building cost $8,800 and equipment in the building cost another $1,000.

The two-story building, which included six classrooms, was built on Higgins Street.

The Humble School, 1909

The Humble School, 1909

In 1915, the Humble School was expanded to accommodate more students. Another $10,000 schoolhouse bond was passed ot pay for it's renovation.

Humble School renovations

Top: The Humble School's original configuration, 1909.
Bottom: Configuration after the 1915 renovation

When a new Humble High School was opened next door during the second half of the 1917-1918 school year, the Humble School was renamed as the Humble Grammar School, and only served students in grades 1-7.

Humble Grammar School, 1918

Humble Grammar School, 1918

Charles Bender High School opened in February of 1930. The school is located at 611 Higgins Street, in Humble. It is the oldest Humble school building till standing. Students had previously attended Humble High School on Higgins Street (next door to Charles Bender High School).

Higgins Street Schools, 1930

Higgins Street Schools, 1930

A $140,000 schoolhouse bond was passed by the citizens of Humble to pay for the building.

The school was basically a smaller version of Robert E. Lee High School in Baytown. The district employed the architect for Robert E. Lee High School, Harry D. Payne, to design the new building for Humble. Mr. Payne included many special details into the construction of Charles Bender High School. He inscribed the Humble High School motto, "Impossible Is Un-American," over the top of one of the back doors.

Impossible is Un-American

Impossible is Un-American

Charles Bender High School was one of the most advanced schools in Harris County when it opened in 1930, because it included a cafeteria and a kitchen (at a time when many students simply walked home to eat lunch).

The school was commonly referred to as Humble High School (since it was the only high school in the district). Even the yearbooks for Charles Bender High School are printed as Humble High School.

Charles Bender High School, 1949

Charles Bender High School, 1949

The school went through a renovation in 1955, which included adding on a Band Hall, Cafeteria and Gymnasium./p>

Additions to Charles Bender High School, 1955

Additions to Charles Bender High School, 1955

Additions to Charles Bender High School, 1955

Additions to Charles Bender High School, 1955

Higgins Street Buildings, 1955

Higgins Street Buildings, 1955

In 1965, the students and staff of Charles Bender High School moved to a new building: Humble High School on Wilson Road. The building was then used as Charles Bender Intermediate School.

In 1972, after the intermediate students moved to the new Humble Middle School, the Charles Bender High School building became the District Administration building. Years later, it became the Curriculum and Staff Development Center (CSDC). It was abandoned in 2003 after the opening of the Instructional Support Center (ISC).

The district eventually sold the building to the City of Humble. In 2013, the City began a renovation of the building to turn it into a Performing Arts Center. Architect and Humble Alumni Scott Brady was brought in to design the renovation plans. On April 10, 2015, a concert was held for the official opening of the building. The City restored the outside of the building to its original 1929 appearance, restored the auditorium, and added dressing roomsand a green room. The old classrooms were removed, and meeting rooms, offices and a lobby were added for the performing arts performances. The CIty of Humble did a tremendous job in restoring and making new use out of this historic building.

Auditorium in Charles Bender Performing Arts Center, 2018

Auditorium in Charles Bender Performing Arts Center, 2018


Return to Block 26