Wonder Woman Wednesday: Alice Carlson

In Fort Worth, Alice Carlson is a name most associated with Alice Carlson Elementary School, located on West Cantey Street, on the northern edge of the TCU campus. The school, a State Archaeological Landmark and a Texas Historic Landmark, opened as a four-classroom school in 1926. It was later expanded in 1934-1935 with much of the work completed by the Works Progress Administration.

The legacy of the school building itself is nearly as significant as its namesake. Alice Carlson was an educator, musician, politician, and active advocate of women’s suffrage. Born Alice Elliston in 1871, she graduated from Fort Worth High School in 1885, at a time when the faculty numbered two teachers and the enrollment was fewer than 20. She was taught by legendary Fort Worth ISD educator, Lily B. Clayton.

Alice became involved in education and taught at several Fort Worth schools from 1891 to 1898. She retired from the classroom upon her marriage to Dr. Olaf F. Carlson but remained active in Fort Worth’s education, musical, and political spheres.

In 1921, Alice Carlson became the first woman elected to the Fort Worth school board. Carlson served three terms on the school board before resigning in 1926 due to failing health. Alice Elliston Carlson died on Jan. 20, 1927, at the age of 55. The following day, Fort Worth schools were dismissed early so that students and educators could attend her funeral.