Thursday, September 14, 2017

Manda Community Center : A fine example of historic preservation done right.

From 2016 to 2017, the Friends of Manda School have begun maintenance and upkeep of the former Manda School building as an attempt of historic perseveration. Several window panels have been replaced and window screens have been added to all windows of this school. All wooden floors have been flattened and resurfaced to be up to code for building standards and code standards. Central AC heating is now connected to this building.

Every single year the Friends of Manda School clean the school building and land property by mowing the grass and terminating insects from hidden corners. Flooring has been resurfaced by volunteers from Friends of Manda School.

Every single year the Friends of Manda School hold meetings here at the Manda Community Center. Mainly meetings are about future regards of Manda Community Center and funding for historic preservation toward this building which are held by the Board of Directors for Friends of Manda School. Community functions, social gatherings, programs, and various meetings are still held inside this building. Friends of Manda School plans to keep the Manda School open as the Manda Community Center in Manda, Texas which is near the town of Manor, Texas.


Citizens from the Manda community urged commissioners from the Travis County Public Schools (Travis County Common School District) to build a schoolhouse in the Manda community in 1914. Commissioners from the Travis County Public Schools agreed to allocate funding construction of a schoolhouse in Manda, Texas.

By 1915, the Manda community voted on a one issue to construct a new school building that was during the spring of that year. Construction for the Manda School building lasted from the summer to the fall of 1915. Although the construction for the Manda School building mostly operated during the summer, it continued in the fall season. School was held in the New Sweden Lutheran Church on New Sweden Church Road during construction.


The Manda School was opened in 1916 as a two-room schoolhouse which was a single story building structure for the Manda Common School District in the settlement of Manda, Texas. Manda School was spread out into a 2 room plan incorporated in the school building structure sitting on piers. 1st grade through 12th grade were taught in this two-room schoolhouse. Manda School is the only remaining two room school house in Travis County in Austin, Texas from the 1900s era and 1910s decade.

Manda School was named after Amanda Bengtson Gustafson who was sister of the settlement’s postmaster the same year. Manda is a short diminutive for Amanda. The name Manda was shortened from the name Amanda. Many students who had attended this school had Swedish ancestry in their family background and came from Swedish families.

The Manda School eventually became known as the Manda Schoolhouse in 1916. 1916 was the same year the community of Manda, Texas was granted its own school district by the State of Texas and Travis County Public Schools which was called Manda Common School District. Manda Common School District included students from neighboring communities such as Manor, New Sweden, Littig, and Elgin.

Historians have agreed that the Manda School was the original New Sweden School building. Prior to 1916, the Manda School building was used as the New Sweden School building in the New Sweden School District. There were 32 rural school houses with similarity to the one in Manda, but the Manda Schoolhouse is the only one that remains in all of Travis County/Austin. The name New Sweden/Manda Schoolhouse has given to the school by local historians.


New Sweden School, Gregg School, Carlson School, Kimbro School, Willow Ranch School, and several other schools along with school districts were consolidated to form into the Manda Common School District in 1947. More schools and school districts were consolidated to form into the Manda Common School District.

In 1951, the Manda School contributed $20,000 towards the Travis County polio campaign and program. Half of the monetary amount of $20,000 was sent to the national foundation (Polio Foundation) which performed the research for a cure to polio. A news article from the February 01, 1951 edition of the Austin American-Statesman newspaper argued that the monetary amount the amount contributed in the drive won’t even pay their salaries.


The Manda School District was dissolved in 1960 and was divided among Manor ISD, Pflugerville ISD, and Elgin ISD. Most students who attended the Manda School were bussed to Manor ISD though due to proximity towards Manor. When Manda School District was dissolved in 1960, this permanently closed down Manda School.

1960 is the same year Manda Community Club was formed. Despite the Manda Community Club being formed the Manda School building more or less sat abandoned. Manda Community Club tried their hardest to preserve the historic Manda Schoolhouse but ultimately the organization dissolved in 1968. From 1968 on, the Manda School more or less sat abandoned with no meaningful use. The school building still stood in 1969.


Manda School slowly but surely fell into a state of disrepair. That was until the Friends of Manda School (Friendship of Manda School) decided to make the former Manda School building into a community center which would become the Manda Community Center in 2006.

Manda School is now operated and preserved by the Friends of Manda School (Friendship of Manda School). Friends of Manda School is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of this school building. Every single year the Friends of Manda School clean the school building and land property by mowing the grass and terminating insects from hidden corners. The Manda community along with several volunteers have been restoring the Manda School building to its original condition as found decades earlier.

The Manda Community Center is a fine example of historic preservation done right. We need to urge commissioners of the Travis County Historic Commission to preserve historic buildings such as the Manda School. With help from both local citizens and volunteers, we can keep and preserve buildings such as this one. To this day, the Manda School operates as the Manda Community Center. The school building now serves as the reminder of the early settlement of Manda, Texas.


Manda School/Manda Community Center is located at 16717 Manda Carlson Road, Manor, Texas, US 78653.

Blue Banjo dubbed as one of the worst restaurants in Austin, Texas by Mixerr Reviews.

Blue Banjo has to be one of the worst restaurants in Austin, Texas. Overall, Blue Banjo is a 2/5** restaurant. The food is horrible, staff are unprofessional, and service is lagging at a rather slow pace. If you are looking for good food to eat to your desire, then Blue Banjo is not the place for you.

The staff and owners of the Blue Banjo restaurant business fail to keep up with their own schedule making it difficult to attract customers for commerce. Staff fail to keep up with their schedule making it difficult for customers to eat at the establishment during the daytime or even the nighttime. Timing in their schedule in terms of operating hours as a business is very unpredictable. It's hard to get enjoy a refreshing meal because of this. The timing for this business is off. These business practices are unprofessional.

Inconsequently the staff are rude and unprofessional. They take their own sweet time took cook or prepare a desired said meal for the customer(s). Their service is lagging at a rather slow pace as stated above.

On top of that, the food tastes horrible. The beef fajitas taste charred as if they have been burnt to a crisp. The fajitas don't taste like authentic fajitas. Ingredients for food there tasted pretty bland. Not too good. The lack of real palates made it a poor choice for a weekend lunch. Lack of decor really drives customers and business away.

The Blue Banjo restaurant is located at 3301 Steck Avenue Suite 105, Austin, Texas, US 78757.

St. Matthew’s Missionary Baptist Church history nearly long forgotten.

St. Matthew’s Missionary Baptist Church is one of the many forgotten institutions and churches of Pflugerville, Texas. Only historians and long time residents of Pflugerville know about this religious institution.

St. Matthew’s Missionary Baptist Church was organized in 1920 inside the small town of Pflugerville, Texas. A church building was constructed in 1920 at Caldwell Lane. Land was sparsely developed. The church congregation met at Pflugerville Negro School before the church was completed. Several Baptist congregations of Travis County have met here over the years.

St. Matthew’s Missionary Baptist Church had a cemetery through St. Mary Missionary Baptist Church. Some graves date back to the 1930s. Many graves appear to be unmarked. However 40 burials have been identified by the Austin Genealogical Society. St. Matthew’s Missionary Baptist Church closed in 1973 and the St. Matthew’s Missionary Baptist Church structure no longer remains

History of the Barton Springs Baptist Church in Austin, Texas nearly forgotten.

Barton Springs Baptist Church started birth out as a church in 1882 which was a wooden frame building constructed out of wood. African American citizens attended this church. Barton Springs Baptist Church served as both a church and school. The church was incorporated into the Austin City Limits in 1937. In 1945, the Barton Springs Baptist Church burned down in a fire. 1946 is the year when the church was replaced with a wooden building that sits on cinder blocks today.

Both City of Austin and Barton Springs Baptist Church began preserving the cemetery and church building in 1993. During the same year the city of Austin zoned the church as historic. Barton Springs Baptist Church became an Austin Historical Landmark in 1993.


The school that operated in this church was the St. Elmo Negro School in the St. Elmo School District.

Students who were enrolled in the St. Elmo School District attended St. Elmo School No. 2 located at 2109 Goodrich Avenue in the Barton Hills neighborhood. Grades 1st through 8th were taught at this school. Both 9th grade and 10th grade were later added during the late 19th century. But St. Elmo School No. 2 was a K-8 school overall.

St. Elmo Negro School along with the St. Elmo School District incorporated into Austin Independent School District in 1937. In 1938, the former St. Elmo Negro School became Barton Springs Baptist Church. St. Elmo Negro School is one of the last few reminders of the former St. Elmo city and community. Today St. Elmo Negro School is under the entity of Barton Springs Baptist Church.

The location of Barton Springs Baptist Church is 2109 Goodrich Avenue, Austin, Texas, US 78704.

Mopac toll road expected to be completed by 2019 revisited.

The Mopac toll road is expected be completed by the year 2019. By 2019, construction will have been completed and the toll road will be totally functional by then. Going directions northbound and southbound, Mopac toll road will merge in those regular lanes on Mopac Highway (Loop 1) north of the Colorado River. However due to budget cuts enacted by the Texas State Legislature, construction for the Mopac toll road has been delayed slightly. Thus moving Mopac toll road completion date to 2019.

Construction on Mopac Highway alongside Mopac toll road has been rather moving at a sluggish pace. Progress remains slow as usual. Rain weather from previous months in 2017 have delayed construction for the Mopac toll road as well other factors. Rain weather from May 2017 delayed construction the most. Construction for the Mopac toll road always begins at nighttime. The latest Mopac toll road is expected be completed by the year 2020 or at least by 2019 at most.

Pleasant Grove School history almost nearly forgotten.

Pleasant Grove School began its life as Cat Hollow School in the Cat Hollow community of Lake Travis in 1890. The Cat Hollow School lasted from 1890 to 1901. In 1901 is when the school was renamed to Pleasant Grove School. The Pleasant Grove school taught 1st grade through 7th grade. Students who wanted to continue beyond 7th grade would have to attend school in Bee Cave, Hamilton Pool, or Dripping Springs. Travis County Public Schools operated the school before Pleasant Grove was granted its own school district. By 1910 student enrollment stood at 30.

However the school building was deemed inadequate by Travis County Public Schools officials sometime during the early dawn of the 20th century. A new one needed to be built. Community leaders begged for a new schoolhouse to be built.


1916 is the year when people from the Mud community built another schoolhouse. The Cat Hollow School was for $10 dollars in 1916. Lumber was hauled from wagons that came from Lake Travis community. Lumber was hauled out from Austin. The school building was completed in 3 weeks. 1916 is the same year Pleasant Grove School was granted its own school district by the State of Texas. The name of the school district would be Pleasant Grove School District #10.

$300 dollars were donated to Pleasant Grove School in 1917. Ms. Bessie Bohman was the first teacher to teach at Pleasant Grove School for the 1917-1918 school year.  Enrollment later increased to 40 students. The average daily attendance was 35 students a day.


More students attended this school in 1921 in part to state aid funding. Pleasant Grove School received state aid from 1921 to 1936. The school was rebuilt and improved in order to meet state requirements in 1929. Several improvements were made before the Great Depression.

School enrollment declined slowly during the 1930s mostly in part due to the Great Depression. 15 students were enrolled during the 1935-1936 school year. That was a 140% drop in enrollment rate from the begging of the century. A $1,000 dollar bond was voted on by residents of the community in 1935. The school was repainted in 1936. Several repairs were made to the school building.
More improvement was made by painting the school with several coat and layers of paint.

In 1941, Pleasant Grove School was renamed to Mud School. That is when the small schoolhouse became the Mud Schoolhouse (Mud School). Mud School when it was named after the former small community of Mud, Texas. Later that year Pleasant Grove School was moved to the small community of Mud, Texas. The school was renamed to Pleasant Grove - Mud Schoolhouse in 1946. The school was rebuilt and improved in 1947.

In 1948, Pleasant Grove School and Pleasant Grove School District #10 were consolidated into the Teck Common School District and eventually later into Dripping Springs ISD in 1950.


Apparently the Pleasant Grove School building sits just inside the entrance of Pace Bend Park off of Highway 71 & FM 2344. However the school operated as a small restaurant called Moon River Bar & Grill (UMJO LLC) on 2002 Pace Bend Road North, Spicewood, Texas, US 78669 from 2002 to 2016. In January 2016, the former Pleasant Grove School building was moved relocated offsite to an unknown location. Future of the former Pleasant Grove School building remains unknown presently speaking.

History of Willow Ranch Negro School of Elgin, Texas forgotten.

Willow Ranch Negro School began life after the Willow Ranch School was established in 1890 where grades 1st through 6th were taught. The school was a one-room building that was long and narrow with many windows and the front of this building had a small front-gable. Willow Ranch Negro School also went under the name Wells School. Willow Ranch Negro School operated from 1890 to 1938.

Subjects such as Texas history, geography, writing, mathematics, and art were taught here. Students learned basic skills and elementary instruction. Much Texas history was taught inside of this school. Mainly writing, mathematics, and art were taught at Willow Ranch Negro School.

13 students were enrolled at Willow Ranch Negro School in the 1934–1935 school semester. 1 teacher taught 13 students in one room. The school remained open until 1938. In 1938, Willow Ranch Negro School and Willow Ranch School consolidated into Elgin ISD. Students were then transferred to Elgin ISD.

In 1980, St. Paul Christian Ministries bought the former Willow Ranch Negro School building from Elgin ISD. The former Willow Ranch Negro School become St. Paul Kimbro Baptist Church in 1980. 1985 is when more improvements to this church were made. The building received central AC heating. Several air condition units were placed at windows.

Today the school exists under the entity of St. Paul Kimbro Baptist Church operated by St. Paul Christian Ministries. The building is currently vacant. However the building seems to have AC units still intact at several windows.

Willow Ranch Negro School is located at 15618 Wells School Road, Elgin, Texas, US 78621.

History of the St. Elmo Negro School in Austin, Texas forgotten.

St. Elmo Negro School started life out as St. Elmo School No. 2 in the St. Elmo School District in 1882. (St. Elmo School No. 2 was St. Elmo Negro School.) The school building was located in a church that was a wooden frame building constructed out of wood. African American students who were enrolled in the St. Elmo School District attended St. Elmo School No. 2 located at 2109 Goodrich Avenue in the Barton Hills neighborhood. Grades 1st through 8th were taught at this school. Both 9th grade and 10th grade were later added during the late 19th century. St. Elmo School No. 2 was a K-8 school overall.

St. Elmo Negro School along with the St. Elmo School District incorporated into Austin Independent School District in 1937. In 1938, the former St. Elmo Negro School became Barton Springs Baptist Church. In 1945, the Barton Springs Baptist Church burned down in a fire. 1946 is the year when the church was replaced with a wooden building that sits on cinder blocks today.

Both City of Austin and Barton Springs Baptist Church began preserving the cemetery and church building in 1993. During the same year the city of Austin zoned the church as historic. Barton Springs Baptist Church became an Austin Historical Landmark in 1993.

St. Elmo Negro School is one of the last few reminders of the former St. Elmo city and community. Today St. Elmo Negro School is under the entity of Barton Springs Baptist Church.

The location of St. Elmo Negro School is 2109 Goodrich Avenue, Austin, Texas, US 78704.

Hudson Bend School history long forgotten.

The Hudson Bend School in Bee Cave, Texas and its history have been long forgotten. Many people do not know of the history of this school or are aware of existence. Hudson Bend School is one of the many early schools of the Lake Travis community, Travis County, Austin, and Bee Cave of course.

Wiley Hudson and his family settled in Hudson Bend near the Colorado River (now Lake Travis) in 1830. In 1860, men from the community built a one-room schoolhouse. Lumber was donated from nearby. A man named Mr. Watson was hired to be the teacher by the school. By 1890, Hudson Bend community boasted 2 schools called Hudson Bend School and Hirsh Creek School.

In 1901, both Hudson Bend School and Hirsh Creek School were consolidated into Teck School via Teck Common School District in 1901. Hudson Bend School stopped operating in 1911. The building was sold off to a private homeowner in the same year. Hirsh Creek School was demolished. Both schools no longer exist.

In 1985, a new middle school was opened by Lake Travis ISD. Lake Travis ISD officials decided to name the new middle school Hudson Bend Middle School after the former Hudson Bend School in an effort to remember their 19th century historic roots. After all, the name “Hudson Bend Middle School” originated from “Hudson Bend School”. The first school term Hudson Bend Middle School operated on was the 1985-1986 school year.

Today the legacy and name of Hudson Bend School live on at Hudson Bend Middle School at the location of 15600 Lariat Trail, Austin, Texas, US 78734. This middle school proudly boasts a high school graduation rate of 96.5% (96 ½ percent).

History of Moore’s Crossing School long forgotten.

Moore’s Crossing School is one the many forgotten schools of Austin, Del Valle, and Travis County. It is one of those schools that has faded away with time and away from peoples memories. Moore’s Crossing School now only exists in county deeds and state records in a office operated the bureaucracy of Texas Government.

It is stated from Travis County deed records, Vol. 48: 573-574 that the Moore's sold a half-acre as a parcel of land on Onion Creek at the low water crossing to Travis County for $1 to erect a school building. That school building would become Moore’s Crossing School which was a simple wood frame building was erected by Travis County Schools after the land transfer in 1881. Members of the Moore family had donated land for a school to encourage commercial business at the crossing.

There were no schools within walking distance of the Moore property at that time as stated from the Travis County Public School : The Defender Yearbook of 1936. From the years 1881 to 1909 Moore’s Crossing School was operated by Travis County Common School District.

Moore’s Crossing School was also used as a church during its time of operation. Of course this was after school hours. Moore’s Crossing School was used as a church from 1900 until 1904. 16 people were baptized at the church in 1900. The church broke no traditions of doing so. G.W. Stewart was pastor of Onion Creek Baptist Church in the year 1900 was a a pastor here as well. Brother R.C. McCullough was a visiting preacher. Pastor G.W. Stewart and Brother R.C. McCullough baptized many people. Moore's Crossing also supported a Methodist congregation that used the school as its meeting place.


Moore’s Crossing School served the Moore's Crossing community for nearly 30 years from 1881 to 1909. However, After 20 years of use, the at Moore's Crossing School did not meet county standards. In 1905, the Travis County Superintendent condemned the school at Moore's Crossing in the Travis County School Annual repertoire. The Moore School was looked upon with distaste as a relic of the area's past. Meetings were held at the school about future plans for use of this school.

“The Moore School is on the very edge of the district, on the very edge, indeed, of the bank of Onion Creek, which marks the boundary line. Meetings were held last year to agitate the building of a new  schoolhouse near the center of the district and a special tax carried for that purpose, which, however, was defeated by a few opponents, on account of defective election retums. So, school will continue to be kept in a hulk of a house by the side of the creek The children will continue to shiver in the cold when the board shutters are opened to let in the light or to ruin their eyes in the semi-darkness when the shutters are closed to keep out the cold.” (Travis County Superintendent, School Annual, 1905: 63).

The property returned to the Moore’s as per the original deed stipulation as stated in the Travis County Deed records, Volume 238: 405-406 from 1905. School taxes in 1905 ranged from 10 cents to 20 cents depending on the support of the community. The Travis County School Annual of 1905 claims the Moore’s Crossing School was “perhaps the worst physical plant for white students in the county”.


By 1909, the Moore’s Crossing School was all but abandoned. Later the Moore’s Crossing School was torn down in 1909 by Moore’s Crossing community residents in 1909. Only an outbuilding or 2 survived from the vicious demolition by local residents.

In 1910, Robert J. Moore replaced the school with a cotton gin on land he donated to W.T. Caswell. No traces of the school remained as after demolition everything was gone. Travis County Schools officials declared the school in inadequate by 1910. After Moore's Crossing School white students went to attend school at Pilot Knob (Pilot Knob Elementary School), Dry Creek School, or Elroy School off FM 812.


Today only a dilapidated outbuilding that was an outhouse for the Moore’s Crossing School survives, but exists in ruin on the Michalk property less than 1 block away from Michalk Grocery. Today the Michalk family owns the building.

Moore’s Crossing School was located at 12237 Moore’s Crossing Road, Del Valle, Texas, US 78617.