Fred Booth Elementary

Over the years, Fred Booth School, built in 1907, has served the community of San Benito in many ways. As a school, hospital, voting place, storm shelter, and a social gathering place.

Hospital In the fall of 1918, the Spanish influenza was felt in San Benito. On October 13, 1918 the San Benito City Council passed an ordinance ordering "That all public places, and places of public gathering of every nature and description be closed and heavily forbidden from opening after nine o' clock am on the 13th day of October. Public places and places of gathering for the purposes of this ordinance and order shall and include all schools, churches, theaters, and places of public amusement and moving picture shows."

Fred Booth Elementary School was named for Fred Booth, a local business man. He owned Mont Meta Park.

Photo courtesy of San Benito Historical Society


Above-North Fred Booth,Below-South Fred Booth

Photos courtesy of San Bentio Historical Society

The same night the local chapter of the Red Cross Executive board met to make plans for handling possible out-brakes of disease. Make shift hospitals were also set up. Dr. Morris and Dr. Cash were the doctors in attendance. Workers enclosed the new open-road railroad platform to use as a temporary hospital. The other hospital was at Fred Booth Elementary school. Lupe Aguirre worked as a doctor's aid in the emergency hospital at Fred Booth School. He remembers,

"There were so many deaths that bodies were carted in wagons and buried in mass graves in the old city cemetery. The bodies were wrapped in blankets or sheets and buried; there was no time to build them a casket. Hundreds died, and many helped at the hospitals."

Dr. Dixson, a dentist, proved to be a competant physician.

On November 1, 1918 the quarantine was lifted and services of Thanksgiving were held at all of the churches. Schools, and other public buildings were opened and life continued.

During Hurricanes Fred Booth school had been used as a shelter before, and during the 1933 storm, women of the community gathered on weekends to make pillows and mattresses.

During the Depression can and dry goods were issued for the needy under the shade of the arcades of Fred Booth school (north side).

Mrs. Ruth Dodson, beloved music teacher at Fred Booth Elem. School. She began teaching at Fred Booth in 1935 and taught 3 generations for 26 years. A couple of her students were Freddy Fender and Elfego Esparza.


Some of the principals that have served at Fred Booth are: Frank Pierce, Miss Youder, Dale Peek, Crissie Bucklin, Robert Allen, Zora Cope, Miller Jordan, Raymond Howard, Gloria Rocha, Beatriz Rodriguez, Roy Cano and Cecilia Rangel.


The following are the names of former Fred Booth students that continued their education and continue to serve their community in various capacities.


Berta Cabaza

Dr. Anita Garcia

Dionicio Mancillas

Arminda Mancillas

Dr. Margu Mancillas


Lupita Mancillas


Albierto Garcia


Yolanda Garza



Jose Cabaza



Samuel Montalvo



Roberto Martinez


Heath Profession

Raul Mancillas

Dr. Johnny Mancillas



Salome Martinez Jr.

Benny Montalvo

Fausto Montalvo



Oscar De La Fuente

Cesar Gonzales

Thomas Aguirre