Gilbert Elementary School opened in the fall of 1996 with 786 students. The school serves kindergarten through fifth grade students with a comprehensive program including bilingual classes, PE, art, music, gifted and talented classes, and English as a Second Language classes.
Mr. Kenneth Wages was the first principal. He was followed by Kevin Dougherty, David Wehmeyer, Michael Crotty, and Patty Bustamante. In 2016 the principal is Jorge Acosta.
Franklin Monroe (known usually as F.M.) Gilbert was born June 22, 1887 in Sowers, Texas. Dr. Gilbert passed away September 26, 1982 and is buried in the Oak Grove Memorial Gardens in Irving.
F.M’s father, Dr. D.W. Gilbert, was the first doctor in the Irving area. The family had a large two-story home on a 1,500 acre farm which is the present site of Plymouth Park Shopping Center running north of there to present day Country Club Drive. They grew cotton, had a peach orchard, raised cattle, and established the Gilbert Brothers’ Dairy.
Franklin Monroe Gilbert went to school at the Sowers School and Grand Prairie High School. He graduated from North Texas State Teachers College (now the University of North Texas) in Denton in 1908. He taught school in Shady Grove, Grand Prairie, and McKinney. He was also a principal at Grand Prairie High School. In 1913 F.M. decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a physician. He continued his education at The University of Texas, The University of Michigan, and San Marcos College. Then he earned his Doctor of Medicine Degree in 1919 from the University of Texas Medical School in Galveston.
After medical school, F.M. completed his internship at the City Hospital in New York City. While there, he met Dorothy Brandon whom he married. They returned in 1920 to live in Irving when the population was about 300 people. They had two sons who also became doctors: Dr. Francis M. Gilbert and Dr. Clay A. Gilbert.
F.M. set up medical practice with his father, Dr. D.W. Gilbert in Irving. In those days doctors saw patients not only in the office but by making house calls. In 1949, F.M. established The Gilbert and Roberts Clinic, Irving's first medical clinic, at the intersection of Irving Blvd. and today’s O’Connor Rd. Dr. F.M. Gilbert worked as a physician for fifty-nine years, retiring in 1979 at the age of ninety-two.
In 1923 Dr. Gilbert became an Irving school board member and served as secretary for the board for 10 years. When Mayor John Haley died in 1932, the city commissioners appointed Gilbert as mayor. He served from 1932-1937 in that office. He later served as president of the Irving Bank and Trust from 1938-1954.
In 1939 Dr. Gilbert and his wife purchased the Joffre house located at 309 S. O’Connor Road. In 2014 this house, now known at the Joffre-Gilbert House, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places because of its “airplane bungalow” distinctive architectural style and because it was the home of a person significant to Irving’s history.
Research by Dr. Clay W. Gilbert. Various documents from Gilbert Family Collection, Collection 5, Irving Archives, Irving Public Library. This web page was created December 2016 by the Celebrating Irving Committee of the Irving Heritage Society in partnership with Irving Independent School District. Photos used with the permission of Irving Archives, Irving Public Library and Irving Heritage Society.