Saturday, January 13, 2018

Oprah Winfrey denies any plans running for US president.

It’s official! Oprah Winfrey has come out stating she has denied any plans for running in a presidential bid. “There will be no running for office of any kind for me," Oprah Winfrey told Larry King of CNBC a few days ago. She had given a speech which somehow prompted rumors that she may consider running for US president in 2020.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

History of Gurley School in Waco, Texas not forgotten.

Gurley School (Gurley Elementary School) is one of the many forgotten schools of Waco, Texas. Gurley School was located at 3903 South 3rd Street, Waco, Texas, US 76706. The school taught grades Kindergarten through 7. Gurley School operated from 1913 to 2013.


Gurley School was originally a county school built in 1913. The school was built with a gymnasium and 8 classrooms. In the beginning, Gurley School was a 1-7 school which taught grades 1 through 7. After 7th grade is students when students attended junior high school and middle school at North Waco Junior High School and Brazos Middle School.

Students in grades 6 and 7 has classes that were held in different classrooms from all the other elementary grades. Grades 6 and 7 were/are the middle school grades by todays educational standards.


According to a news article from The Waco News-Tribune dating back to May 8, 1947, residents protested an extension ordinance because it would slice off about half the school district’s revenue, thus wreck one of the best of the county schools.

The City granted the petitioners’ request by adopting a motion to kill the ordinance, but City Secretary Otis Dellay was advised to keep the copy of the ordinance because it will be needed again in several years. City officials said the city limits will have to be extended southeast. However the extension ordinance had been delayed. Gurley School was a part of Waco Public Schools (now Waco ISD) by 1947. (The Waco News-Tribune, Page 11, May 8, 1947)


The gymnasium was converted into an auditorium in 1955. Major remodeling to cafeteria was done during the same year. The cafeteria and auditorium were converted into a dual purpose room with the auditorium now being in the cafeteria. The school then taught grades Kindergarten through 7 as Kindergarten was added to the school sometime in the 1950s.

From July 19, 1956 to July 21, 1956 in when Gurley School had received $148,000 dollars worth of alterations to the school building. The front entrance now had a modern design. The front entrance now had a masonry pillar to mark the front entrance as a decorative feature instead old three steel poles as a more modern design.

It was reported in The Waco News-Tribune on the date of June 21, 1956 that Gurley School received major remodeling, extensive repairs, and several renovations. Emergency repairs on Gurley Elementary School were made in the summer of 1956. Restrooms were repaired. Major remodeling and a proposed addition was done in 1957.

Emergency repairs were scheduled in 1953, but were postponed until 1956 and 1957 because of the inability to determine the future enrollment. Major remodeling and a proposed addition was done in 1957. The plans were presented to the administrative staff. Plans were made for beautifying the school grounds.

A committee member from the Gurley School PTA wrote to the school board on May 29 about what they considered "disgraceful" conditions at Gurley School. Mrs. Warren Tynes, president of the PTA, said “The restrooms are not sealed and the commodes are so old they get out of order easily.The commodes are not partitioned off.”
(Gurley Gets Emergency Repair Work Emergency The Waco News-Tribune, Page 1, June 21, 1956)
(Board Adopts Gurley School Building Plan The Gurley School, The Waco News-Tribune, Page 1, July 19, 1956)


South Waco Elementary School was built to replace Gurley School and the then South Waco School located at the intersection of Oakwood Avenue & 7th Street in 1993. 1995 was the year the new South Waco Elementary School opened at the location of 2104 Gurley Lane for Waco ISD.

Gurley School closed to regular education students in 1997 to become a school for special education students. Gurley School was an alternative school special education students from 1997 to 2013. The school was known as a “special needs school” to Waco residents.

Waco ISD made administrative decisions to close down Gurley School due to low enrollment and high maintenance costs in 2012 during the 2012-2013 school year. Enrollment had dropped every year at this school. So the decision to close the school saving money from high maintenance costs was made. 2013 was the year Gurley School closed. The remaining students were sent to South Waco Elementary School

In 2013 the school was all but abandoned. Gurley School sat abandoned for a short period of time from 2013 to 2016. As a security measure, a chain link fence protected the school from vandalism and graffiti. By 2016, Gurley School was demolished. All that remains is the parking lot that is now used for Gurley Park. 

The location for this school was 3903 South 3rd Street, Waco, Texas, US 76706.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

TV show billionaire Oprah Winfrey considers running for US president.

As of January 2018, former TV show host billionaire Oprah Winfrey has considered running for president against Donald Trump for the next presidential election in 2020. On the night Oprah Winfrey accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award for a lifetime achievement, she had given a speech which somehow prompted rumors that she may consider running for US president in 2020.

According to a poll from NY Post, Winfrey has the support of 76 percent (76%) of Democrats and a very low percentage of Republicans at a whopping 22 percent (22%). NY Post claims there is a “sizable crowd of undecideds”. 48% of voters would favor Winfrey which could lead her approval ratings to go up. The Democratic Party seems to favor Winfrey and may secretly back her up on political campaign contributions.

However Winfrey has come out stating she has denied any plans for running in a presidential bid. "There will be no running for office of any kind for me," Oprah Winfrey told Larry King of CNBC a few days ago.

And She shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon in the near future. Today Oprah Winfrey has an estimated net worth of $3 billion.

History of the Gregg School in Manor, Texas long forgotten revisited.

Gregg School in Manor, Texas is of the many long forgotten educational institutions and schools of Austin/Travis County that have faded away with time and from people's memories. Gregg School was one of the many Travis County rural schools. To many Travis County natives, the Gregg School was also known as the Old Rock Church (Rock Church) and Gilleland Creek Academy.


In 1870, William Stiles donated one acre of land for the Gregg School to be built on at the present location of 5300 Gregg Lane, Manor, Texas, US 78653. The school building was located northwest of Manor. The school building was constructed of rock and was called Gilleland Creek Academy. Walls of the old rock building were never plastered or renovated. William Stiles was both the architect and builder of the Gregg School. The Gregg School opened in 1872.

Mr. Dew was the first teacher to have taught at the Gregg School beginning in 1872. In 1872 Mr. Dew had gotten married. A 4 room cottage was built by the school board in front of the school for Mr. Dew and his wife in the same year. Mr. Dew boarded with Mrs. Kayte Boyce. Mr. Dew taught at Gregg School from 1872 to 1882.

The Gregg School was not operated as a district school in any of the local school districts in the area, but the students were charged tuition when the school first started operating. William Stiles, William Boyce, Mrs. Kayte Boyce, Lee Giles, Aaron Boyce, and Camell Hill were one of the early trustees for Gregg School. Students from Manor, Decker, Dessau, and Pflugerville attended this school. Even students from Williamson County, from as far as Coupland, attended the Gregg School.

The second teacher was Ms. Hattie Hardy who taught there from 1882 to 1896. Ms Hattie Hardy married a man named Mr. Cain. In 1896, Ms. Hattie Hardy moved to a home her hometown of Manor.

In 1884, the school property transferred ownership to Travis County Public Schools and Travis County. After Mr. William Gregg opened a store and post office in 1888, Gilleland Creek Academy became known as the Gregg School.


By the early 1900’s, Sunday Church Services were being held in the school house. Gregg School became known as the Rock Church in 1900. A small cemetery called the Gregg School Cemetery was located close nearby. The Gregg School had 1 teacher and 32 students in 1907 with a 1:32 ratio. The 1908-1909 school year had 1 teacher and 33 students. The 1909-1910 school year had 1 teacher and 37 students with a 1:37 ratio.

In 1910 the rock building was torn down and a newly built wooden frame building was erected on the site of the former rock building. Only the chimney erected out of rock and brick remained from the rock building. The 1910 wooden frame building was built by Westley Gustafson. In 1920, Gregg School established their own school district called Gregg School District #22.

By the 1930s, Gregg School was a K-7 school that taught 1st grade through 7th grade. School stopped after 7th grade. For the 1935-1936 school year, Gregg School had 62 students. There was 1 teacher for 62 students with a 1:62 ratio. One teacher taught all 7 grades for 118 days to 120 days. Of course the teacher got paid for 6 months of teaching during said school semester.


Citizens of Manor voted to consolidate the school districts of Gregg, Decker, Blue Bluff, Lockwood, New Sweden, Carlson, and Lund into Manor ISD in 1947. Series of school district consolidations into bigger school districts were common in Texas from the 1940s to the 1960s. The Gregg School and Gregg School District was no exception to this case.

1948 is when the Gregg School was consolidated into Manor Independent School District (Manor ISD) and Pflugerville ISD. Gregg School was divided between Manor ISD and Pflugerville ISD. Other students who attended Gregg School were bussed to Pflugerville to attend Pflugerville ISD schools while the remaining students attended school in Manor. Gregg School District #22 consolidated into Manor ISD.

By 1950, the Gregg School had closed for good. The school sat abandoned for a certain amount of unspecified years before being demolished. The land and cemetery reverted ownership to Travis County.

In 1965, the Gregg School was demolished. From looking at a 1965 aerial map provided by NASA and Historic Aerials (historicaerials.com), one can determine that all that remained of the Gregg School was a pile of rocks ashes from the demolished school building resembling a pile of dirt often found at construction sites.

1965 is when land for the former Gregg School property and the Gregg School Cemetery were deeded and sold to a man named Christian Buck who lived on the land until his death. In 1965, Christian Buck conerveted the land into a ranch after paperwork was finalized. Christian Buck bought the land from Manor ISD, Pflugerville ISD, and Travis County.

The 4 room cottage built by the school board in 1872 still remained at the front for a while until being demolished a year later in 1966. That is when Travis County approved funds to demolish the Gregg School building. Other buildings were simply sold off overtime.


The Christian Buck Estate deeded Jack W Gullahorn and Patricia H Gullahorn the former Gregg School land property and Gregg School Cemetery on the date of 11/24/1982. Nothing was left of any structures at Gregg Cemetery or Gregg School when it was purchased by the Gullahorns in 1982. The church had been long gone by the decade of the 1980s.

A house was built on the former Gregg School land property in 1983 for Jack W Gullahorn and Patricia H Gullahorn. The 1983 house was built as a 3 story house. A trailer was hauled onto the property during the same year which was located west of the house.


In 2005 and 2006, Schoenstatt Movement of Austin deeded and granted Alexander House the Gregg School land property and the Gregg School Cemetery to Alexander House of Austin from a quit claim deed. In 2010, Alexander House of Austin deeded and granted Gregg School land property and the Gregg School Cemetery back to Jack W Gullahorn and Patricia H Gullahorn from a quit claim deed. No changes to the cemetery were made.

Gregg Cemetery was finally granted status as a Historic Texas Cemetery in 2015 largely through the efforts of Richard Lamson of Dallas. The wife of Richard Lamson had relatives buried in the cemetery along with a host of other family members. Some of the Gullahorns are said to be buried there as well.

In September 2017, Jack W Gullahorn and Patricia H Gullahorn still owned the former Gregg School land property and the Gregg School Cemetery. Jack W Gullahorn has since converted the land into a ranch. No known changes have been made to the cemetery were made.


All that remains of the Gregg School is the Gregg School Cemetery located private land on the right side of Gregg Lane. The cemetery is completely overgrown with tall grass and almost all tombstones found are toppled over. The cemetery is in poor condition. Patricia H Gullahorn and Jack W Gullahorn are the caretakers for the Gregg School Cemetery. Through the years they worked to protect the cemetery and find descendants of those buried there who might be willing to help maintain it.


The Gregg School was located at 5300 Gregg Lane, Manor, Texas, US 78653.

*Gregg School Cemetery is also known as the Old Rock Church Cemetery.
*Gregg School was also known as Gillieland Creek Academy.
*William Stiles died on December 24, 1883 at the age of 73 and his wife, Piety Ellis Stiles, died a few years later on May 23, 1885. They are both buried in the Gregg School Cemetery. Their graves are marked by headstones enclosed within an iron fence.

St. Johns School history of Austin, Texas examined and explained by Michael Mixerr.

This news article written by Michael Mixerr will revisit the news article entitled “Michael Mixerr examines the history of a former Austin ISD elementary school site.” which had examined the history about the former St. John's Elementary School site.

The location of 906 East St. Johns Avenue, Austin, Texas, US 78752 was once the address for the former St. Johns Elementary School from 1958 to 1995.St. John's Elementary School aka St. Johns School, once operated and owned by Austin ISD, was a "negro school" with a large African American student population located in the historic St. John's neighborhood of Austin, Texas from 1938 to 1995. St. John's Elementary School (St. John's School) was named after the historic long gone St. John's Orphanage and St. Johns Institute.


In 1938, St. John's School was built for a capacity of 106 students located at 700 Delmar Avenue which was the first site for St. John's School for Austin Public Schools (now Austin ISD) and Fiskville School District (School District #11). St. Johns School was built on the property of St. Johns Orphanage for students who attended St. Johns Institute, St. Johns Orphanage, Austin Public Schools, and Fiskville School District.St. Johns Elementary School was once known as St. Johns School.

St. Johns School operated in an L-plan shaped building that was one story tall. The entire building was constructed out of wood. Foundation was laid out on a beam and tier styled building plan. The foundation was made out of lumber. Classes were taught in a one room setting. St. John's School first operated as St. John's Negro School from 1938 to 1948 where grades 1 through 7 were taught.


In 1940, Fiskville White School (Fiskville School) and Fiskville Negro School burned down in a fire. The fire damaged the buildings badly beyond repair. Both schools needed to be rebuilt. Fiskville White School (Fiskville School) was rebuilt at its original location at 305 Deen Avenue and replaced the 1924 building that had been burned. Fiskville on Dungan Street near Georgian Drive burned down too.

Fiskville Negro School relocated to 700 Delmar Avenue and was rebuilt next to St. Johns School in 1941. One building had taught grades 1 through 4 and the other building taught grades 5 through 7. Both school structures were rebuilt into brick buildings. The foundation was laid in cement style.

In 1942, St. John's School was rebuilt for a capacity of 110 students located at 700 Delmar Avenue which was the first site for St. John's School. St. Johns School operated in an L-plan shaped building that was one story tall. The entire building was constructed out of brick. Foundation was laid out on a beam and tier styled building plan. The foundation was made out of cement and brick. From 1942 until 1958, St. John's School would be located at 700 Delmar Avenue prior to relocating at the 906 East St. Johns Avenue location in 1958.

St. John's School taught grades 1 through 7 in 1942 all the way near to the very end of the 1940s decade. Each grade from 1st grade to 7th grade had 10 students. 2 to 4 teachers taught 110 students. Student population stayed at 100 most of the time. Grades 1 through 8 were taught at St. John's School. Grade 9 was added later. High school students attended L.C. Anderson High School after 9th grade.

The name for St. John's School changed from St. John's Negro School in 1948. 1948 is when St. John's School went from being a one-room school to a two-room school. Grade 9 was added, but only for a short period of time. Grades 7 and 9 were held in a separate room.


In 1951, Fiskville School District consolidated into Austin ISD. Fiskville Negro School would be operated by Austin ISD until 1951. Students attending Fiskville Negro School would now be attending St. Johns School. In 1951, the parking lot was repaved with gravel. Parking for teachers and administrators would soon be provided.

In 1952, the parking lot was repaved with gravel and limestone. St. Johns School was reorganized and downsized thus became a 1-7 school teaching grades 1 through 7. Grades 8 and 9 would no longer be taught at St. John's School. Students in those grades went to attend L.C. Anderson High School or Manor Colored High School. Most students past grade 9 attended L.C. Anderson High School however.

Buildings from Fiskville School (Fiskville White School) and Fiskville Negro School were relocated here in 1952 to accommodate the growing student population as a result of school district consolidation in 1951. 3 additional buildings were added on as add-ons to the St. Johns School in 1952 and again in 1954.


By 1956, the school was over capacity and the site needed to be expanded. This led Austin ISD to allocate funding for plans to relocate St. John's School to another location from the 700 Delmar Avenue location. The student population was over 200 by then which was 90% over capacity. The 1957-1958 school would be the last time classes would be held at Fiskville Negro School and St. Johns Negro School. Fiskville Negro School and St. Johns School closed the following year. The old St. John's School buildings at the 700 Delmar Avenue location was demolished that year.

In 1958, Austin Public Schools (now Austin ISD) opened St. John's School in 1958 at the 906 East St. John's Avenue location. The new St. John's School was built for a capacity of 224 students in a one story building constructed out of brick. St. John's Elementary School was built to replace the 2 existing all black schools (Fiskville Negro School and St. Johns Negro) in the area in the year of 1958. At that point, St. John's School would be the only all-black school outside of East Austin next to Sprinkle School, Manor Colored High School, Manor Negro School, Montopolis School, Clayton Vocational Institute, and Littig High School.

Prior to 1958, the 906 East St. John's Avenue location site was a plot of flat vacant land. This plot of vacant land belonged to St. Johns Orphanage and St. Johns Institute prior to Austin ISD buying the land out from them.

In 1964, T. A. Brown Elementary School (Brown School) would be built and opened to replace Fiskville School and St. Johns School. T. A. Brown Elementary School had students from Fiskville School and St. Johns School attend school there after attendance zones were set and finalized.


In 1969, US Fifth Circuit Court found Austin ISD in noncompliance of not racially integrating their schools. 94% of the student population was African American. St. John's Elementary School and L.C. Anderson High School had a minority population higher than any other Austin ISD school. Its minority population was higher than any AISD school at that time. The neighborhood was rough and the St. Johns School had low performing test scores. This led St. John's School to be closed down a year later. The 1969-1970 school year had 163 students that were all black.

On the date of August 27, 1970, the following Austin ISD schools were shut down by a Federal District Court judge for the US Fifth Circuit Court.: L.C. Anderson High School, Kealing Junior High School, Rice Elementary School, Rosewood Elementary School, Winn Elementary School, and St. John's Elementary School were ordered shut down by a Federal District Court judge.

Finally the court ordered the closing of all-black St. Johns Elementary School and transfer of the St. Johns students to surrounding schools. Those students were dispersed to the other schools on an arbitrary geographical boundary-line basis as a result of that noncompliance. When St. John's Elementary School was closed, students were sent to Brown Elementary School, Pearce Junior High School (now Pearce Middle School), Winn Elementary School (Winn School), and Andrews Elementary School.

By 1972 St. John's School was abandoned. The school sat abandoned for more than 5 years. For a certain number of odd years, St. John's Elementary School became abandoned. The school served mainly as offices for a short period of time.


St. Johns Elementary School reopened in 1980. St. John's Elementary School was downsized from a K-5 school to a K-3 school in 1980. From 1980 to 1988 is when St. John's Elementary School operated as a K-3 school where kindergarten through 3rd grade was taught.

In 1988, St. John's Elementary became an alternative school for pregnant teenagers. St. John's School was an alternative school from 1988 to 1995. The name for the school was changed back to St. John's School. Interestingly the school never had a library throughout its history. Mostly young women from ages 16 to 18 attended this alternative school. Age range for this alternative school was from 16 to 19.

On the date of November 8, 1990, a book drive was held by the school to create something the school has never had. A library. For the first time the school would have a library. [Ref.: School for pregnant teens launches library fund, Austin American Statesman, November 8, 1990]

Home Depot bought out land where St. Johns Elementary School was occupying from Austin ISD to build a Home Depot building in 1994. The decision for Home Depot to build a store here was made since the location was close to I 35 as the location was perfect in commerce for their business and clients. The land was purchased for a price of $480,170.

On an agreement in terms of their lease agreement, Home Depot allowed Austin ISD to let St. Johns Elementary School continue to operate until the 1994-1995 school year was complete. This allowed the Austin ISD school district time to gather all their belongings and possessions.Community meetings for parents and PTA about the future of St. John's School were held during the 1994-1995 school year.

In 1995, St. John's Elementary School was demolished to make way for construction of a new Home Depot. Summer of 1995 is when this Home Depot location was open for business. Traces of the St. John's School were no longer visible or extant.


The land that once housed a Home Depot and a car dealership was purchased for $6.9 million dollars with a 2006 public safety bond to eventually become a new police substation and municipal court. City of Austin was going to use this Home Depot location as space for government offices, Austin PD headquarters, and a new animal shelter. Austin PD (APD) headquarters were supposed to relocate there but preferred to stay located downtown. Due to an October 2008 dispute on where to build a new animal shelter, the city never moved forward with those plans. Nothing ever happened.

This Home Depot was closed in 2008. The reason why this Home Depot closed was also due to building code issues and also due to a lack of business. Parts of the building were not handicap accessible which is odd because this Home Depot was built in 1995. This Home Depot location has been abandoned since 2008 ever since getting bought out by the City of Austin.


Currently as of December 2017 and January 2018, the City of Austin and Austin Resource Recovery are using the building for storage. Compost bins occupy the inside of this former Home Depot building. For now the site sits abandoned collecting dust and vandalism which is truly an eyesore to the St. Johns neighborhood. Over the years, this former Home Depot building has been plastered over with graffiti mostly by the front entrance. Some areas of the building are covered with mold.

Future plans are being plotted by City of Austin for this building location to relocate municipal government offices into this building. However the building needs a new roof and not considered inhabitable by code enforcement officials. So the building might need to be demolished. So far… Nothing has been implemented yet.


St. John's Elementary School was located at 906 East St. Johns Avenue, Austin, Texas, US 78752. The address for this Home Depot location was 7211 North Interstate 35 Frontage Road, Austin, Texas, US 78752.

*St. Johns Elementary School also went under the names of St. John's School, St. Johns Negro School, St. Johns Negro School, St. Johns School, and St. John's Elementary School.
*St. Johns Elementary School had the highest minority population of all AISD schools at one point.
*This location was going to be a rehabilitation clinic at one point. However that plan never occurred or happened. Instead the building was transformed into a storage unit for the City of Austin.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Former Home Depot building in Austin, Texas may see new life.

A site that is home to a now abandoned Home Depot building in Austin, Texas that is being used as storage for City of Austin and Austin Resource Recovery may see new life. The abandoned Home Depot building located at I 35 & East St. Johns Avenue may be revitalized for urban renewal. The City of Austin plans to relocate municipal government offices into this building or turn the building into an animal shelter. However the building needs a new roof and not considered inhabitable by code enforcement officials. So the building might need to be demolished. The building is covered with mold in some areas.

Currently as of December 2017 and January 2018, the City of Austin and Austin Resource Recovery are using the building for storage. Compost bins occupy the inside of this former Home Depot building. For now the site sits abandoned collecting dust and vandalism. Truly an eyesore to the St. Johns neighborhood.

Michael Mixerr examines the history of a former Austin ISD elementary school site.

This news article written by Michael Mixerr will be examining the history of a former Austin ISD elementary school site of what was once St. John's Elementary School.

The location of 906 East St. Johns Avenue, Austin, Texas, US 78752 was once the address for the former St. Johns Elementary School from 1958 to 1995. St. Johns Elementary School was once known as St. Johns School. St. John's Elementary School (St. Johns School) was once operated and owned by Austin ISD.


St. John's Elementary School aka St. Johns School was a "negro school" with a large African American student population in the historic St. John's neighborhood of Austin, Texas from 1942 to 1995. St. John's School first operated as St. John's Negro School from 1942 to 1948. Grades 1 through 8 were taught at St. John's School. Grade 9 was added later. High school students attended L.C. Anderson High School after 9th grade. St. John's Elementary School (St. John's School) was named after the historic long gone St. John's Orphanage.


In 1942, St. John's School was built for a capacity of 110 students located at 700 Delmar Avenue which was the first site for St. John's School. St. Johns School operated in an L-plan shaped building that was one story tall. The entire building was constructed out of brick. Foundation was laid out on a beam and tier styled building plan. The foundation was made out of cement and brick. From 1942 until 1958, St. John's School would be located at 700 Delmar Avenue prior to relocating at the 906 East St. Johns Avenue location in 1958.

St. John's School taught grades 1 through 7 in 1942 all the way near to the very end of the 1940s decade. Each grade from 1st grade to 7th grade had 10 students. 2 to 4 teachers taught 110 students. Student population stayed at 100 most of the time.

The name for St. John's School changed from St. John's Negro School in 1948. 1948 is when St. John's School went from being a one-room school to a two-room school. Grade 9 was added, but only for a short period of time. Grades 7 and 9 were held in a separate room.


In 1952, the parking lot was repaved with gravel and limestone. St. Johns School was reorganized and downsized, thus became a 1-7 school teaching grades 1 through 7. Grades 8 and 9 would no longer be taught at St. John's School. Students in those grades went to attend L.C. Anderson High School.

3 additional building were added on as add-ons to the St. Johns School in 1954. By 1956, the school was over capacity and the site needed to be expanded. This led Austin ISD to allocate funding for plans to relocate St. John's School to another location from the 700 Delmar Avenue location. The student population was over 200.

In 1958, Austin Public Schools (now Austin ISD) opened St. John's School in 1958 at the 906 East St. John's Avenue location. The new St. John's School was built for a capacity of 224 students in a one story building. The old St. John's School building was demolished at the 700 Delmar Avenue location was demolished that year. Prior to 1958, the 906 East St. John's Avenue location site was a plot of flat vacant land.

St. John's School was built to replace the existing all black school in the area in the year of 1958. At that point, St. John's School would be the only all-black school outside of East Austin next to Sprinkle School, Manor Colored High School, Manor Negro School, Clayton Vocational Institute, and Littig High School.


In 1969, US Fifth Circuit Court found Austin ISD in noncompliance of not racially integrating their schools. 94% of the student population was African American. St. John's Elementary School and L.C. Anderson High School had a minority population higher than any other Austin ISD school. Its minority population was higher than any AISD school at that time. The neighborhood was rough and the St. Johns School had low performing test scores. This led St. John's School to be closed down a year later. The 1969-1970 school year had 163 students that were all black.

On the date of August 27, 1970, the following Austin ISD schools were shut down by a Federal District Court judge for the US Fifth Circuit Court.: L.C. Anderson High School, Kealing Junior High School, Rice Elementary School, Rosewood Elementary School, and St. John's Elementary School were ordered shut down by a Federal District Court judge.

Finally the court ordered the closing of all-black St. Johns Elementary School and transfer of the St. Johns students to surrounding schools. Those students were dispersed to the other schools on an arbitrary geographical boundary-line basis as a result of that noncompliance.

When St. John's Elementary School was closed, students were sent to Brown Elementary School, Pearce Junior High School (now Pearce Middle School), Winn Elementary School (Winn School), and Andrews Elementary School. For a certain number of odd years, St. John's Elementary School became abandoned. The school sat abandoned for more than 5 years. By 1972 St. John's School was abandoned.


St. Johns Elementary School reopened in 1980. St. John's Elementary School was downsized from a K-5 school to a K-3 school in 1980. From 1980 to 1988 is when St. John's Elementary School operated as a K-3 school where kindergarten through 3rd grade was taught.

In 1988, St. John's Elementary became an alternative school for pregnant teenagers. St. John's School was an alternative school from 1988 to 1995. The name for the school was changed back to St. John's School. Interestingly the school never had a library throughout its history. Mostly young women from ages 16 to 18 attended this alternative school. Age range for this alternative school was from 16 to 19.

On the date of November 8, 1990, a book drive was held by the school to create something the school has never had - a library. For the first time the school would have a library. [Ref.: School for pregnant teens launches library fund, Austin American Statesman, November 8, 1990]

Home Depot bought out land where St. Johns Elementary School was occupying from Austin ISD to build a Home Depot building in 1994. The decision for Home Depot to build a store here was made since the location was close to I 35 as the location was perfect in commerce for their business and clients. The land was purchased for a price of $480,170.

On an agreement in terms of their lease agreement, Home Depot allowed Austin ISD to let St. Johns Elementary School continue to operate until the 1994-1995 school year was complete. This allowed the Austin ISD school district time to gather all their belongings and possessions.Community meetings for parents and PTA about the future of St. John's School were held during the 1994-1995 school year.

In 1995, St. John's Elementary School was demolished to make way for construction of a new Home Depot. Summer of 1995 is when this Home Depot location was open for business. Traces of the St. John's School were no longer visible or extant.


The land that once housed a Home Depot and a car dealership was purchased for $6.9 million dollars with a 2006 public safety bond to eventually become a new police substation and municipal court. City of Austin was going to use this Home Depot location as space for government offices, Austin PD headquarters, and a new animal shelter. Austin PD (APD) headquarters were supposed to relocate there but preferred to stay located downtown. Due to an October 2008 dispute on where to build a new animal shelter, the city never moved forward with those plans. Nothing ever happened.

This Home Depot was closed in 2008. The reason why this Home Depot closed was also due to building code issues and also due to a lack of business. Parts of the building were not handicap accessible which is odd because this Home Depot was built in 1995. This Home Depot location has been abandoned since 2008 ever since getting bought out by the City of Austin.


Currently as of December 2017 and January 2018, the City of Austin and Austin Resource Recovery are using the building for storage. Compost bins occupy the inside of this former Home Depot building. For now the site sits abandoned collecting dust and vandalism which is truly an eyesore to the St. Johns neighborhood. Over the years, this former Home Depot building has been plastered over with graffiti mostly by the front entrance. Some areas of the building are covered with mold.

Future plans are being plotted by City of Austin for this building location to relocate municipal government offices into this building. However the building needs a new roof and not considered inhabitable by code enforcement officials. So the building might need to be demolished. So far… Nothing has been implemented yet.


St. John's Elementary School was located at 906 East St. Johns Avenue, Austin, Texas, US 78752. The address for this Home Depot location was 7211 North Interstate 35 Frontage Road, Austin, Texas, US 78752.

*St. Johns Elementary School also went under the names of St. John's School, St. Johns Negro School, St. Johns Negro School, St. Johns School, and St. John's Elementary School.
*St. Johns Elementary School had the highest minority population of all AISD schools at one point.
*This location was going to be a rehabilitation clinic at one point. However that plan never occurred or happened. Instead the building was transformed into a storage unit for the City of Austin.

Update about the 100 year old building in Elgin, Texas destroyed by Hurricane Harvey.

As of January 2018, process is being made to restore the 100 year old building in Elgin, Texas. The walls have been re-installed and re-plastered during the close of 2017. A chain link fence has been installed up front facing the perimeter of Central Avenue securing surrounding property. Pier structures for the roof have been installed to support the new roof. All the building needs is a new roof.

Cleanup and restoration has begun. The removal and stabilization alone is estimated to be a total cost of $6,000. Possibly $8,000 including fees. POLLEN ARCHITECTURE is planning to turn this 100 year old building into a new vision. However more work needs to be done to get completed. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

The building that was destroyed what was once a Thai food restaurant. From 2010 to 2017 is when  Katie's Catering Thai Cuisine operated at the corner of Avenue B & Central Avenue in Elgin, Texas.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to revitalize the building that was once a Thai food restaurant. You can help by sending donations here to this link.:https://www.gofundme.com/Transform-Harveys-destruction-into-Sawyer-Art-Garden.

This building is zoned in C-2 Commercial District with Zone 2 Overlay which allows more than 50% residential on the ground floor. This building is also located in the Elgin Local Historic District and Elgin National Register Historic Commercial District. The parcel number is R12232.
The building is located at 217 Central Avenue, Elgin, Texas, US 78621.


To recap from last month:
“Hurricane Harvey destroyed the roof a 100 year old building located at 217 Central Avenue in Elgin, Texas and has destroyed the interior structure of the building. As of now, the roof is completely missing. The roof has collapsed from destruction of wind currents during Hurricane Harvey. The building is a former shell of what it once was before Hurricane Harvey weather hit the small town of Elgin, Texas. “

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Hurricane Harvey destroys 100 year old building in Elgin, Texas.

Hurricane Harvey destroyed the roof a 100 year old building located at 217 Central Avenue in Elgin, Texas and has destroyed the interior structure of the building. As of now, the roof is completely missing. The roof has collapsed from destruction of wind currents during Hurricane Harvey. The building is a former shell of what it once was before Hurricane Harvey weather hit the small town of Elgin, Texas.

The building that was destroyed what was once a Thai food restaurant. From 2010 to 2017 is when  Katie's Catering Thai Cuisine operated at the corner of Avenue B & Central Avenue in Elgin, Texas.

POLLEN ARCHITECTURE is planning to turn this 100 year old building into a new vision. As of two months ago, the first day of restoration and cleanup began. The removal and stabilization alone is estimated to be a total cost of $6,000. Possibly $8,000 including fees. However more work needs to be done to get completed. Margo Sawyer wanted to thank everyone who has already so generously donated! Any help would be greatly appreciated!

This building is zoned in C-2 Commercial District with Zone 2 Overlay which allows more than 50% residential on the ground floor. This building is also located in the Elgin Local Historic District and Elgin National Register Historic Commercial District. The parcel number is R12232.
The building is located at 217 Central Avenue, Elgin, Texas, US 78621.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to revitalize the building that was once a Thai food restaurant. You can help by sending donations here to this link.:https://www.gofundme.com/Transform-Harveys-destruction-into-Sawyer-Art-Garden

Updated history of Pleasant Valley School in Austin, Texas.

Pleasant Valley School was a school in Austin, Texas that operated from 1864 to 1968. The school building was located where modern day intersection FM 2222 & Loop 360 is now located. Pleasant Valley School first served as an elementary school serving grades 1 through 5. Later Pleasant Valley School became a 1-11 school serving grades 1 through 11.

Pleasant Valley School served as school for students living in the neighborhoods of Northwest Hills, Allandale, West Austin, Courtyard, Spicewood, Pleasant Valley, Spicewood Mesa, and Twin Mesa neighborhoods. Even students from the Eanes School District attended Pleasant Valley School despite living in Westlake at one point in the latter half of the 19th century.


Thomas Hughell Walden donated land to Travis County Appraisal District for a school in 1864 located on land which owned called Old Walden Place where the modern day intersection FM 2222 & Loop 360 is now located. Pleasant Valley School opened up as a schoolhouse where school was held inside a log cabin built in 1864. Classes would be held for this school inside of the log cabin from 1864 to 1867.

Hughell Walden, Ewan Williams, and Fendrick Smith were the first school trustees. Miss Jennie Parrish, Mrs. Munn, and Mr. Stringer were the teachers. Ewan Williams gave 1½ acres of land to the school. Pleasant Valley School was also known as Bull Creek School on several topographical maps from the 1880’s to the 1910’s as the school was located near Bull Creek.

The old school building was outmoded and outdated by 1866. So a new log cabin was built in 1867. School was held in this log cabin from 1867 until 1919. The first school year for this school building was the 1867-1868 school year. Funding was tight as money was scarce during the Reconstruction era after the American Civil War. Grades 1 through 5 only were taught at this school. Students wanting to continue towards 6th grades and onwards went to Oak Grove School on Spicewood Springs Road.

The 1867 Pleasant Valley School log cabin building burned down to the ground in 1885. This led to a dispute in land titles over who owned the land where Pleasant Valley School was located. The school itself was located on a flat. Although Pleasant Valley School was on land owned by Thomas Hughell Walden, the school building moved several times. Eventually the school itself was rebuilt in 1885.

Classes continued in the school year of 1885-1886. Grades 6 through 11 were added in 1886. One side of Pleasant Valley School served grades 1 through 5 and the other side served grades 6 through 11. The side that served grades 1 through 5 switched to serve grades 1 through 6.


In 1918, the Travis County Schools superintendent deemed the school building to be outdated and overcrowded. This led to a demand for aa new school building to be built. However that area of town suffered from extreme poverty at that time and receiving a new school building would be a difficult task.

The land was considered to be very poor by county and city officials as the Northwest Hills neighborhood and Allandale was sparsely settled due to the mountainous hills alongside the rocky limestone formations. Lands were used for farming and ranch. Most of the citizens living in the Northwest Hills neighborhood and in Allandale were very poor back then. The flat yet somewhat mountainous hills alongside the rocky limestone formations alongside Northwest Hills was a perfect ideal location for a school to be built on.


1919 was the year Pleasant Valley School District was formed. Although Pleasant Valley had its own school district by 1919, Travis County Public Schools (Travis County Common School District) operated and oversaw the school. The Travis County Schools superintendent was responsible for helping allocate funding to several rural schools and school district in Travis County.

 The Pleasant Valley School District had a 50¢ cent school tax which produced only $91.83 per year, which in turn was only $4.84 per student of free-school age. The Travis County Schools superintendent was responsible for helping allocate funding to Pleasant Valley School.

During the summer of 1919, people from the Allandale and Northwest Hills neighborhoods voted bonds within an amount of $2,000 dollars build a new modern two-room schoolhouse. The vote was unanimous due to their desires for a better school. It was a cry for help. A cry for better educational facilities. Thomas Hughell Walden was the man instrumental in getting Austin Public Schools (Austin ISD) to establish the new Pleasant Valley School building. He and several other petitioned city officials and county officials to build a new schoolhouse in the Pleasant Valley/Northwest Hills community.

When the bonds reached the Attorney General's office for inspection, they could not be approved.  The bonds to build a new school were rejected. Only $500 dollars in bonds could be legally issued for construction of Pleasant Valley School. The tax base of the district was simply too small. The new schoolhouse was not built. Instead an old was provided with a new roof and a new floor along with 2 extra windows.

Pleasant Valley School later opened up as a schoolhouse for Austin ISD (then known as Austin Public Schools) and Travis County Public Schools (Travis County Common School District) in 1919 as a one story two-room wooden-framed schoolhouse that would be later on converted into a three-room wooden-framed schoolhouse in what was considered then as rural Travis County. Years of operation for this school were from 1919 to 1968.


Unfortunately the one story school would face another tragedy. The school burned down again in the year of 1931. The school burned down to the ground. Everything was destroyed by the fire. Books, desks, educational material, sports equipment, and several other items were never recovered. It was a total loss for Pleasant Valley School District. Students were sent to Oak Gove School in the Oak Grove School District (School District No. 5) temporarily until a new school building could be built.

Fortunately however, the school was able to be rebuilt in 1932 after being burned down to a flat surface. 1932 was also the same time where the school became accredited receiving accreditation from the State of Texas. Later Pleasant Valley School became a 1-11 school. The State of Texas accredited Pleasant Valley School with high acclaim for their educational standards.

On the 1932 Topographic and Road Map of Travis Count, the school appears as Pleasant Valley School. Pleasant Valley School was no longer referred to as Bull Creek School any maps from the 1930s onwards.


The school would not live on forever. It too would be moved as the city of Austin grew around it.
Pleasant Valley School District was closed in 1968 when the school property reverted by sale to Mrs. C.C. Champion as provided in the original deed, Pleasant Valley School District was closed and consolidated into Summitt School District and later Austin ISD. Austin ISD sending the remaining students to continue their education in nearby schools in the Austin school district.

The other reasons why the Pleasant Valley School and Pleasant Valley School District closed was due to declining enrollment and imminent domain. Shortly after sale to Mrs. C.C. Champion as provided in the original deed, Pleasant Valley School sat abandoned for 2 years until 1970.


In 1970, Pleasant Valley School was relocated and made into a private residence on the Champion family land. This was done in order to prevent demolition. The Champion family donated land to TXDot for Loop 360 and have donated huge portions of their land to real estate development during the latter half of the 20th century.

Imminent domain would make right of way for a new Loop 360 and the Pleasant Valley School building was in its route (right of way). That Loop 360 route that would eventually become a highway to serve West Austin neighborhoods such as Courtyard, Allandale, Spicewood, Pleasant Valley, and Northwest Hills. City of Austin used imminent domain to construct Loop 360 where Pleasant Valley School was at.


As of December 2017, the Pleasant Valley School building is now a private residence on land owned by the Champion family. The school building has been repainted a white color which was the original color for this school building.

However the land is being rezoned by the Champion family for a hotel and is slated for demolition. The Champion family isn't keen on getting historical status or a Texas Historic Landmark marker for the school building as they want to proceed with building the hotel. No, the Champion family has not gotten the City of Austin to initiate historic zoning to keep the building in tact. So far nothing has been done yet. Only time will tell certainly.


Pleasant Valley School was located at the intersection of Loop 360 & FM 2222, Austin, Texas, US.