Downs Hall, 1881-1954. Younger students'
Main Annex Skinner Hall 1881-1954. Girls'
and Teachers' Dormitory.
McDonnell Hall 1881-1954. Older Boys'
Faith Hall, 1937. Administration Building
destroyed by flood in 1954.
Miss Nannie E. Holding 1883-1913
The school which was to become Holding
with Mrs. Jacob Norwood teaching several
in her home in Laredo.
By 1881, women of the Methodist Episcopal
has been persuaded to set
aside funds for a kindergarten and primary
school. Ten acres on the bank of the Rio
Grande were donated by Rev.
Elias Robertson, and by 1882 the first
building was ready for
Laredo Seminary opened with Miss Annie
Miss Rebecca Toland in charge.
In October, 1883, Miss Nannie E. Holding,
Kentucky, arrived to become superintendent
of the new
Her sister Delia, taught also during the
first few years. In 1886
Miss Holding made Laredo Seminary
admitting 10 boys, housed in "the barracks"
a system of military discipline.
Under the constant care of Miss Holding the
of the river bottom land became landscaped
garden, with flowers, shrubs, and trees
planted in pleasing
symmetry; buildings were added, one by one,
monument to a persistent faith in the school
and its purpose.
Kindergarten, primary and second grades, a
department, sewing and cooking classes,
to the growing contribution of Laredo
Seminary to the
lives of the children who came.
They were both rich and poor, English and
from Texas, Mexico, and some foreign
children were orphans and the school became
home they knew until graduation.
In 1913 Miss Nannie Holding reluctantly came
to the time
of her retirement at he age of 68. Dr. J.M.
native of West Virginia, succeeded to the
superintendency, and under his initiative,
the name of the
school was changed to Holding Institute.
During Dr. Skinner's administration, the
badly-damaged by repeated floods, were kept
and one new building was added; the high
department was accredited by the Texas State
Department of Education and the entire
passed from the Foreign Missionary Society
jurisdiction of the Division of National
In 1930, Miss Carmen Blessing became
and she succeeded in the face of the
holding the school together, and maintaining
standards already fixed. By this time,
Institute has graduated dozens of boys and
some of whom were sons and daughters of
former students. In spite of lack of funds,
faithful teachers remained loyal to the
In 1937, Mr. Anton Deschner, one of the
superintendent, and Holding
Institute of Laredo
continued to prosper, serving boys and girls
Mr. Anton Deschner 1937-1948
Mary E. Glendinning Iva
Lou Matkin Ura
Dean of Girls
Commercial Bookkeeper English-Bible
Paul Jerry Files
Social Science 1937
Dramatics 1939 directed by Mr. Files
Miss Pilar Saenz 1937
Spanish Club sponsored by Miss Saenz 1939
The majority of students came from Mexico,
but in smaller
numbers they represented Japan, China,
Bolivia, Costa Rica, Panama, Cuba and the
From the United States, Texas furnished the
number, but many others were represented. By
the enrollment had reached a peak of around
in all departments.
During its history, the city of Laredo had
been hit by many
floods, but in June, 1954, the most
disastrous flood in the
history of the city occurred. At Holding
same familiar precautions were taken;
evacuated; the old grand piano located in a
safe place in town;
books, records, equipment were carried to
the top floors
of the already flood-scarred buildings. The
reached 63 feet, and one by one nine of the
away. The three remaining buildings were
useless; the old
bell, symbol of the school for so many
students, and the iron archway marking the
the grounds, plus a few muddy, faded papers,
that was left of the physical existence of
After the flood of 1948, the Executives of
the Woman's Division
of Christian Service had had the foresight
to purchase 63
acres of rich, level farm land on higher
ground in North
Laredo, and the flood of 1954 made the
rebuilding of the
school both necessary and feasible. Mr.
for a new appointment, and was named
of Boylan-Haver-Mather Academy, Camden, So.
Mr. and Mrs. Victor Cruz-Aedo
Victor Cruz-Aedo, teacher and principal
during eight years,
was named superintendent, and on him fell
task of recreating a new Holding Institute.
With the help of
Laredo Junior College, the Methodist Church,
of friends in Laredo, he began the classes
1954, with Miss Loida Cuellar as teachers. A
total of 56
students were enrolled during that year.
The kindergarten and first six grades were
as a foreign language was the first class,
a Junior and Senior curriculum took shape.
received in 1956-57 for the erection of an
and four classrooms; a boys' dormitory, a
hall and kitchen, were added in 1958-59;
the physical education shower and locker
rooms, a library
and laboratory, plus residences for faculty,
were secured, and
then in 1964, a new girls' dorm, with
capacity for 66 students,
The dormitory, plus additional office space
were dedicated in October 1965, gifts from
the women of the
Methodist Church. Mr. Cruz-Aedo, who left
of Holding in 1964, had seen the small group
of 56 students
become an enrollment of over 150; the
accreditation of the
school reaffirmed; the properties notably
Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Daily
The Reverend Maurice C. Daily was elected
in April, 1965, and seeks to continue the
tradition of service
The main street of the campus was paved that
the "Deschner Memorial Tower," housing the
bell, erected; in 1967 a much-needed
apartment building, workshop, storage and
were completed and the boys' dorm was
The enrollment during this ninetieth year of
Institute's history finds 64 boarding girls,
45 boarding boys,
83 day students under the direction of a
Faculty and Staff
dedicated to the same high purpose and
have motivated all those related to the
school from its
inception; to provide each student an
realize his highest potentialities as a
person, with no
restrictions as to race, creed or color.
May 1983, due to insufficient funds, the
school was closed. In 1987
the Holding Institute reopened as a
community center supervised
by a division of the national Methodist
Church in a different location.