The area within Alief ISD boundaries today is a bustling urban
community, while only a few decades ago, it was a sparsely populated flatland.
In looking back from the Year 2000, we find that some things,
however, are still the same as they were many years ago for those of us who live and send
our children to school in Alief today. Very old records tell us that¾
even in its early days¾ Alief was a community that cared for
its children. Parents wanted excellence in education in a safe environment, and that is
still the mission of the district. Alief ISD is fortunate that parents, other community
residents, and business partners show their support by generously giving their time,
materials, funds, and much more to benefit Aliefs 42,000+ students at
In contrast with the present, Alief (once known as Dairy) was a
rural community of about 30 families in the early 1900s. The area was described as a flood-prone prairie, where farmers grew rice,
cotton, and corn and raised cattle. Going to Houston meant a 30-mile round trip by wagon
on an unsurfaced pathway. When the area was flooded, the only way to get to town was by a
small train that ran through Alief.
A three-story brick school was built in 1911,
replacing a small frame structure previously used as a schoolhouse. Aliefs Dairy School, District 46, officially became an independent
school district in 1917, and¾ like the village¾ it was renamed for the communitys first postmistress, Alief
Aliefs second general store opened in 1915; the stores were
popular gathering places for residents. By 1920 a few Alief citizens had automobiles.
Electric service, however, wasnt available until 1935, and residents had to wait
several more years for telephone lines to be installed.
The three-story school building was condemned in 1939, so
children had to attend classes in a nearby frame structure called the auditorium. It was
also used for church services, weddings, and other community events. In 1940 a school
annex was added.
Construction of the Alief campuses that exist today began with
financing from bond issues in the early 1960s. Alief Elementary School, later renamed for
teacher Cynthia Youens, was the first to be built in 1964.
Even as recently as 1970, the Alief community was more
pastureland than developed acreage. A few subdivisions of single-family dwellings dotted
the map. Several of todays major thoroughfares, including the route of the Sam
Houston Tollway, were gravel roads. The district only had three elementary schools and a
combination junior-senior high school, which became Alief Middle School.
As with many areas close to a metropolis, however, sooner or
later urbanization occurs. A huge tract of vacant land was sold, and the Brown & Root
complex was built on part of it. Apartment buildings mushroomed over another large
portion. Aliefs population almost quadrupled between 1970 and 1985, and business,
big and small, multiplied in the community. Annexation of sizable chunks by the city of
Houston began in 1977, and Metro bus routes were extended to the suburb.
The community and the district have steadily continued to grow. A
fourth high school is under construction. The twenty-second elementary
campus opened in August 1999, and the fifth intermediate, in August
2000. There are also two ninth-grade centers, six
middle schools, and an alternative learning center currently in the business of educating
the children of Alief.