Oak Cliff College for Young Ladies, in Oak Cliff (now a suburb of Dallas), opened on September 7, 1892, under the direction of M. Thomas Edgerton, former vice president of Waco Female College. Its massive four-story building, a spectacular example of the Victorian Stick style of architecture, was originally the Park Hotel, constructed by Thomas Marsalis as part of his million-dollar promotion of Oak Cliff. A drop in the economy led Marsalis to lease the Park Hotel to Edgerton for the development of a girls' school. Edgerton redesigned the first floor of the building for classrooms and a chapel and left the upper floors unchanged for a dormitory supervised by his wife, Virginia Belle Edgerton. The Edgertons constructed a program to foster the "accomplishment of young ladies." Emphasis on the arts, social culture, reading, writing, music, and "grace and beauty of carriage" was the stated purpose of the college. During the dedication ceremonies Oak Cliff mayor F. N. Oliver spoke of the role the college would play in the development of the area. The college never achieved the success expected, however, and in 1907 it closed its doors. The building was sold at auction for $6,507 to Thomas Scott Miller, Leslie A. Stemmons, and Wirt Davis, who converted it into the Hotel Cliff. In 1915 the hotel was remodeled and renamed Forest Inn. It was demolished in 1945.
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William L. McDonald, Dallas Rediscovered: A Photographic Chronicle of Urban Expansion, 1870–1925 (Dallas: Dallas County Historical Society, 1978). Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County (Chicago: Lewis, 1892; rpt., Dallas: Walsworth, 1976). Oak Cliff College Quarterly, May 1985.
Defunct Elementary and Secondary Schools
Dallas/Fort Worth Region
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Tad C. Howington,
“Oak Cliff College For Young Ladies,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed July 01, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
May 1, 1995
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: