Tuesday, July 25, 2017

History of Garfield School in Del Valle, Texas revealed and revisited.

The first Garfield School in Del Valle, Texas was built out of logs thus becoming a log cabin school called Haynie School better known as Haynie Chapel School which was also used as a church. Haynie Chapel School only had 1 door and 1 window. This school was also used as a church as many rural schools across Travis County and the state of Texas were purposed as at one point in time.

The name for Haynie Chapel School was changed to Garfield School later in honor of US President James A. Garfield. The Garfield School was named for US President James A. Garfield.

The log cabin Garfield School employed one teacher to teach 30 students. Instead of having a blackboard or paper, students wrote on slates. Later on the school district employed 2 teacher to teach at the Garfield School. Average daily attendance for Garfield School was 45 students at best. Two teachers split classes into a 120 day period. This teaching period was split in half.

In 1892, the Garfield School was erected as a one-room school building. A stage for speeches and performances was built. Improvements were made tot he school in 1902. More improvements followed in the year of 1903. The one-room school building was used until 1915. 1915 is when the old school building was demolished. In 1916 a newer school building was built. Garfield School then became a three-room school. Ratio for this school was 41 students per teacher.

Garfield School counted 82 students in the 1934-1935 semester. Garfield School counted 80 students in the 1935-1936 semester. Student enrollment during the Great Depression more or less stayed the same despite economic turmoil. Rural Travis County was hit hard by the Great Depression as was the rest of the country.

From the 1890s until the 1930s, Garfield School accepted high school students up to grade 11. High school students were taught here until the mid 1930s were they were bussed into Austin to attend Austin High School or Allan High School. By the middle of the Great Depression era, grades 1 through 7 were taught at Garfield School. Those students who wanted to continue their education past the 7th grade went to Austin High School, Allan Junior, High School, or Allan High School in Austin Independent School District or went to Colorado School in the Colorado Common School District now known as Del Valle Independent School District. Some went to attend school in places so far such as Creedmoor or Bastrop. Some students were either bussed to Bastrop Independent School District or Creedmoor Common School District depending how crowded their schools were and based on availability of space.

The Garfield schools and original Garfield School itself were consolidated into the Colorado Common School District (now Del Valle Independent School District) in 1954 following the school consolidation movement in Texas State. During that same year, Garfield School shut down. The school operated as a community center from 1954 to 2007. The school prorerty itself went through a series of owners over the years. In 2007, the property was sold for $237,500 dollars. Tom Cronin, Betty Cronin, and Clinton R Alberthal were the last sole proprietors known to have owned the land Garfield School was on.

On June 7, 2010, the Garfield School was transformed into the Garfield Library. Today the Garfield School serves as Garfield Library and Hit The Spot Cafe. The school has been split in half into 2 businesses with the left half being Hit The Spot Cafe and the right half being Garfield Library. Garfield Library operates under East Travis Gateway Library District. Garfield School sits at its historic location at 5121 Albert Brown Drive, Del Valle, Texas, US 78617.

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