Current Status:

The Abilene Independent School District has deeded the property to the City of Abilene.  The property was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on Ausust 28, 2012.

Address:  1699 South First Street
Lot Size:   7.8 acres
Building Configuration:
Four separate buildings; Main Building, Eagles Nest Gym, Shop Class Building and the Girls Gym.  The Main Building and Eagles Nest have historic appeal, while the Shop Class and Girls Gym are not architecturally or historically significant.  The Main Building includes a large auditorium, kitchen and cafeteria area as well as laboratories and library space.  They Main Building also has a small basement area that houses mechanical equipment. 

Main Building is Gothic Revival Architecture. Decoration includes gargoyles, gothic and art deco motifs.

Building sizes:   
All Buildings 111,664 square feet (all buildings total, excluding basement)
A - Main Building -- 80,284 square feet
B - Shop Class Building (1950s) -- 3,976 square feet
C - Eagles Nest Gym (1929) -- 12,397 square feet
D - Girls Gym (1970s) -- 15,007 square feet(tilt up building

Abilene High - Lincoln Campus Facts & Figures

Historical Timeline:
Construction completed 1923
Building Opens as Abilene High School 1924
Becomes Lincoln Junior High 1955
Renamed Lincoln Middle School 1985
Decision to Close Lincoln 2004, Closes at the end of the 2007 school year
Voters Reject Career/Tech High School 2008
School Board decides to Sell Lincoln December, 2010
Bidding Closes on Sale of Lincoln February 1, 2012

Dates of Construction:
Main Building 1923  
Addition Added 1927                      
Auditorium Added 1928
Eagles Nest Gym Added 1929          
Machine Shop Added 1941            
Girls Gym Added circa 1970
Tennis Courts Added 1977  

Lincoln History

Lincoln - Historic AHS Facts and Figures for Timeline
Source: AISD history prepared for Dr. David Polnick, c. 2007 and newspaper archives.

  1. 1889 - first school located on this property at South First (Bankhead Highway and Peach Streets)

  2. 1923 - 

    1. Construction began on the new high school located at South First and Peach.

    2. Cost of the construction was $186,543.

    3. Old high school had a fire and was repaired, then served as Central Ward Elementary.

    4. The first high school was just to the northeast of the 1923 building.

    5. The High School Athletic Association built a stadium for the schools on the high school grounds. 

    6. First graduation for African-American School - held at Macedonia Baptist Church.

  3. 1927 - 

    1. An addition was made to Abilene High for $42,216.

    2. June 16: the Abilene School Board voted unanimously to enforce the rule of a teacher automatically resigning her position in the school when she married.

  4. 1928 -

    1. The auditorium was added to Abilene High for $103,620.

  5. 1929 -

    1. The “Eagle’s Nest” gym was added to Abilene High for $68,155.

  6. 1941 -

    1. Addition of Machine Shop at AHS - $6,000.

  7. 1955 -

    1. New Abilene High building on Mockingbird constructed for $2,008,265

    2. Existing Abilene High becomes Lincoln Junior High.

  8. 1957 -

    1. Bond election passes for new football stadium on E.S. 11th

    2. Bonds provide for construction, repair and equipment in all schools ($1,250,000)

    3. Renovation of Lincoln Junior High - cost of $149,528

  9. 1977 -

    1. Six tennis courts added at Lincoln Junior High for $120,000

  10. 1980 - 

    1. Dressing room alterations at Lincoln Junior High

    2. Funds allocated to modernize existing campuses, including $484,000 for Lincoln.

  11. 1992 -

    1. Unused bond funds for Middle School improvements: $322,782 for Lincoln, funding boys’ gym ventilation, restrooms, new windows and basketball goals.

    2. District boundary lines were redrawn

  12. 1999 -

    1. Kitchen upgrades at Lincoln, $84,351

    2. Electrical upgrades at Lincoln, $133,063

  13. 2004 -

    1. Bond issue passes for $79.5 million that provides upgrades but not for Lincoln, which is to be closed.

    2. but Proposition 3 for $58 million to build one high school for grades 10-12 failed by 30/70 percentage.

  14. 2008 -

    1. A bond election totaling $83 million is put to the voters.

      1. Proposition 2 is $21.5 million for turning Lincoln campus into a career-tech high school, funding renovation and 50% new construction.

      2. Proposition 2 fails by around 660 votes, the closest of all the propositions.

    2. 2009 -

      1. School Board decides it has no future educational use for Lincoln

      2. A new bond election is put before the voters to build a career-tech high school and not use the Lincoln campus. It fails by 30/70 ratio.

    3. December 2010 -

      1. School board adopts 2010 Plan for the Disposition of Surplus Property

        1. Lincoln and Valley View campuses available immediately

        2. Four other campuses available Fall 2011 through Fall 2012

Lincoln - Abilene High - Redevelopment Options

The Preservation League developed a slide presentation showing 12 to 14 options for redevelopment of the Lincoln site. Our purpose was to demonstrate that there are solid successful uses for old schools around the country. They are not easy to achieve, but working together as a community, we believe they can be, and most definitely that it is worth the effort.

Abilene High - Status of historic designations

The Lincoln campus is one of the newest entries into the National Register of Historic Places. There are three types of designations, Here is a short description of these designations:

1. National Register of Historic Places: This is administered by the Department of the Interior. The State Historic Preservation Officer must approve the application of the local group.

  • Does not provide much in the way of protection against demolition

  • But does make it possible for developers to use tax credits in their financing plans.

  • If determined eligible for the National Register by the state, owners are prevented from using federal money for demoltion of a property. 

2. Texas State Recorded Landmark:  This accompanies the state historic markers. The Texas Historical Commission will need to be notified of changes in the status of the property.

3. Abilene Historic Landmark: This is also known as historic overlay, and is discussed in more detail below.
Update: In 2011, the Landmarks Commission, City Staff and the Abilene Independent School District agreed on a Planed Development District overlay for the Lincoln property. This will provide protection from demolition for the main buildings and historic gymnasium. Future redevelopment will need to confirm to some simple design requirements that preserve the character of the building.

Historic Overlay… What it is:

  • Makes it more difficult to demolish a building, but demolition is still possible.

  • Provides an educational process for owners, with staff support and advice

  • Provides a way for a property to be contributing to the look and feel of its surrounding neighborhood

  • Requires a Certificate of Appropriateness before major changes are made to the exterior and provides a procedure for obtaining the Certificate of Appropriateness

  • For individuals and for-profit companies, provides ad valorem tax savings from the city portion of their tax bill

  • Eligibility for a plaque, “Abilene Historic Landmark”

  • Improves the case for state (Texas Recorded State Landmark) and national (National Register for Historic Places) designations

  • Is usually desired and requested by the owner

  • Need for a Certificate of Appropriateness (C.A.) is triggered by a building permit application, or a demolition permit application.

Historic Overlay… What it is not:

  • Is not analogous to “frozen in time”

  • Does not affect what the owner can do with the interior

  • No certificate is required for regular maintenance, including painting, unless there is a significant change in the color

  • Does not prohibit changes like window replacement

  • Selective demolition, removal of accessory buildings for redevelopment, can be allowed with a C.A.

  • Modern additions can be allowed with a C.A.

The Abilene Land Development Code, Section, provides the following criteria:

  • Historical, archaeological or cultural significance or value to the development, heritage or cultural, characteristics of the city, state or county

  • Association with events or persons of significance

  • The building style distinctive of a type, period or method of construction or architecture

  • Yielding or may yield historical information

  • Unique location contributing to a familiar visual feature of a neighborhood

  • Represents the work of a master, designer, architect, builder or craftsman