Education

Established between 1905 and 1906 Lake Como is a historically African-American community located on the west side of Fort Worth TX. 

1909 (circa) – A group of African American Baptist ministers (Rev. L. M. Johnson, the father of Professor L. M. Johnson, retired principal of I. M. Terrell High School, Rev. Lacy K. Williams, Mr. Boone, and a Rev. Scott) purchased land south of Humbert Street in the 5300 block to 5500 block extending south to Helmick to establish the Fort Worth Industrial and Mechanical (I&M) College to provide higher education opportunities for African Americans in Fort Worth and the surrounding area, which at that time would have been the only institution of higher learning for African Americans in Fort Worth. The Fort Worth I&M College also housed an all-level school for the children. Fort Worth Industrial and Mechanical (I&M) College eventually closed due to financial hardships.

Fort Worth Industrial and Mechnical College, circa 1919
Students and Faculty at Fort Worth Industrial and Mechanical College, circa 1919
View the Tarrant County Black Historical and Genealogical Society image gallery.

In the fall of 1914, the few families that lived in the Lake Como community felt an urgent need for a school. As a result, a teacher was employed. Mrs. Lucinda Baker taught for two years in a small wood
frame, one-room schoolhouse. The first school had an enrollment of eleven pupils. Mrs. Ruby G. Crawford Jones was one of first students. Due to a decrease in enrollment, the school closed after two years.
The school opened again in 1917, and Mrs. Tennessee Smith was the teacher. In 1918, Mrs. Pearl Walker Connor was called as head teacher.

After World War I, the community began to grow, and more people moved into the community. There was even more a need for a larger and better school building. Mr. R. N. Riddles was the County Superintendent at this time, and a school building with two rooms was built on the southeast corner of Faron and Bonnell Streets (5535 Bonnell Avenue). Mrs. Gertrude Wilkerson-Starnes was the head teacher, and Mrs. Geneva Carrington was her assistant. Later Mrs. Jessie Raleigh and Mrs. Ruth A. Greenwood joined the staff. Mrs. M. L. Patterson came to the school as a teacher in 1931.

Men in the community helped supply coal for heating and maintained the building and grounds. The building was heated with coal brought from the Stove Foundry by a patron of the school, Mr.
F. W. Isler. Water was hauled in barrels from the college well and later from a well located on the east side of the lake. Mr. John Atkins was employed as school custodian in 1933. The community continued to grow and more teachers were added.

In 1935, the school outgrew its building space. Land was purchased and the school was moved to Horne Street. The school campus bordered on Horne Street on the east, Libbey Street on the south, Holloran on the west, and Goodman on the north. J. Martin Jacquet was hired as school principal in 1936. Jacquet served as principal for ten years. Oscar M. Williams succeeded him in 1946.

  • 1950 A 20-room combined Como Elementary-Junior High School.
  • 1954 Elementary students transferred from Como Elementary-Junior High School to present day Como Elementary.
  • 1954 Como Junior-Senior High School. 10th grade students added.
  • 1955 Como Junior-Senior High School. 11th grade students added.
  • 1956 Como Junior-Senior High School. 12th grade students added.

The span of years between 1914 and 1958 show the undeniable progress of the school and the community of Lake Como.

By 1959, Como Junior-Senior High School boasted of the administrative staff of a principal, twenty-six teachers, the service of a visiting teacher, a school nurse, a secretary, custodial personnel of five persons, and an enrollment of five hundred eighty-five students. Not only had the physical structure grown, but the general atmosphere and cultural achievements had advanced, for it had been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.

At it’s inception, the Como School began with eleven pupils in a one-teacher schoolhouse and grew to occupy two campuses– Como Elementary and Como High School– with approximately 2,000 students.

Today, Como Elementary is called Leadership Academy At Como Elementary. Como High School closed in 1971 due to the aftermath of integration. The Como High School building has been renamed and re-purposed:

  • Como High School name changed to Como Middle School of Occupational Orientation.
  • Como Middle School of Occupational Orientation changed to Como Montessori Magnet.
  • Como Montessori Magnet is presently Como Montessori School.
  • 1986 Como Montessori Magnet opened with 3 kindergarten classes, 6 first, second and third grade classes and 2 fourth and fifth grade classes.
  • 1987 Como Montessori Magnet opened with three kindergarten classes, three first- grade classes, six second and third- grade classes, two fourth and fifth- grade classes, and one sixth grade class.
  • 1988 Como Montessori Magnet opened with one fourth and fifth grade classes added.
  • 1989 Como Montessori Magnet opened with one seventh and eighth-grade class added.
  • 2005 Como Montessori Magnet School name changed to Como Montessori School.

Today, Como Montessori is still one of the elite schools in the Fort Worth Independent School District.

Como Montessori
Como Montessori. 4001 Littlepage St, Fort Worth, TX 76107 Phone: (817) 815-7200