History about the Cedar Valley School in Austin, Texas revisited.
Early settler Mark Thomas gave land for a school in 1867 where modern day Thomas Springs Road is located. This school would be held in a log cabin. This school would become known as the Thomas Springs School. Thomas Springs School operated from 1867 to 1898 before being consolidated and renamed to Cedar Valley School. The Cedar Valley School can be described as one tiny room as the school originally operated in one room at the very beginning. Cedar Valley School was originally to be as a one-room schoolhouse as planned. Cedar Valley School was a K-7 that taught grades 1 through 7 at first.
1875 is when a box frame building would be constructed. Lumber was hauled in from a donor named R. S Young. John W. Young, George M. Heisner, and Adolph J. Trautwein were the first trustees. A spring on the property provided and furnished water for the school. The Cedar Valley School operated as a tiny one room schoolhouse where classes were held in one tiny room. (The school originally operated in one room at the very beginning as Cedar Valley School was originally a one-room schoolhouse.)
In 1887, W. H. Bishop was employed to teach both schools in a 4 month period at a salary of $33.33 per month. The average rate a school teacher earned per month at the time was $33.33 per month which was usual and not uncommon. 1887 is when another teacher was employed by Austin ISD.
1891 was when a portion of a box frame from the one room Mud School (Mud Schoolhouse) from Bee Cave School District/Teck Common School District was moved to the site of Cedar Valley School. (Mud School was a one room school building.)
However the Cedar Valley School would not be built or opened until late 19th century. The Cedar Valley School was built in 1898 to serve the Oak Hill community and Cedar Valley community as a schoolhouse operating from 1898 to 1953. Overall Cedar Valley School operated from 1867 to 1953.
It was in the year of 1898 that the first consolidation of schools in Travis County took place. Thomas Springs School was consolidated into Cedar Valley School in the year of 1898 was renamed Cedar Valley School. The Cedar Valley School was also known as the Cedar Valley Schoolhouse. 1898 was the same year the Thomas Springs School building was torn down and rebuilt into the Cedar Valley School building. From thereon out, Cedar Valley School operated from 1898 to 1953. The Cedar Valley School building currently still stands as is.
1st grade through 7th grade were taught at the Cedar Valley School. Middle school grades/junior high school grades 6th grade through 7th grade were taught at Cedar Valley School. Cedar Valley School operated as an elementary school and middle school. Each class was made up of 6 to 7 students. Ratio was 6:1 on occasion with being a 7:1. (6 being students and 1 being the teacher.)
Some students who lived in the Oak Hill community did not attend school until the 5th grade because students would have to help their families grow crops during harvesting season. After 7th grade, students were bussed into Austin ISD schools. Upon graduation from both Cedar Valley and Oak Hill Schools, students would be bussed off into Fulmore Junior High School (now known as Fulmore Middle School) which continues to be operated by Austin ISD.
In 1903, several former students that attended Cedar Valley School with no further schooling offered by these schools, passed the State teacher’s examinations test. Several former students had no further schooling past a 6th grade education or a 7th grade education. Which was not uncommon in those days. 1903 was the highlight year for this school.
Plans to close Cedar Valley School and consolidate the school into the Oak Hill School District were announced publicly in 1950. Austin ISD planned to consolidate Cedar Valley School and Oak Hill School into their school district.
Right before Cedar Valley School closed, another room was built. The second room was built in 1952. A third room was built later that year. Plans to close Cedar Valley School already in effect as planned by Austin ISD to consolidate into their school district. 1952-1953 was the last school year Cedar Valley School
The Oak Hill School and Cedar Valley School consolidated in 1953. Cedar Valley School was closed and consolidated into the Oak Hill School District in 1953. The reason why Cedar Valley School was closed down and consolidated was due to lack of funding directly from dwindling property taxes in direct attribution also by Oak Hill School District consolidating various schools in the Oak Hill community and Cedar Valley community. Students who attended Cedar Valley School were bussed to Oak Hill School on US 290.
In 1960, Cedar Valley joined Oak Hill and Manchaca to form a rural school district, but got annexed by Austin ISD in 1967. 1960 is where Oak Hill School District and Manchaca School District attempted to form a short-lived school district that lasted from 1960 up until 1967 in a 6 to 7 year timespan. 1967 is the year when Austin ISD annexed the school districts of Oak Hill and Manchaca.
Despite being operated and supervised indirectly by the Oak Hill School District itself, the Cedar Valley School was directly associated with the Oak Hill community itself. Nevertheless, the Cedar Valley School was always considered a part of the Oak Hill School District regardless of consolidation and closing.
From 1968 to 2001, the former Cedar Valley Schoolhouse ran as a community center under the title of Cedar Valley Community Hall. In 2001, the Cedar Valley Community Hall closed and became abandoned falling into disrepair. Over the years, the Cedar Valley Community Hall has fallen into a state of disrepair. Jim Connelly Masonry, Inc. bought the land in the mid 2000s.
Currently as of April 2017, the Cedar Valley School sits abandoned in a large field of overgrown grass from resulting vegetation. Brush covers the lot. All entrances to the school building are boarded up. The front entrance is still boarded up to this day. Several windows are reported to be broken. Jim Connelly Masonry, Inc. owns the land where Cedar Valley School is. It is unclear if current owner Jim Connelly Masonry, Inc. has any plans for future development.
Cedar Valley School holds an important place in the history of Oak Hill that has long been forgotten. Lack of historic preservation and political interest is what led to the demise of Cedar Valley School. The City of Austin should have designated Cedar Valley School as a/or with a “City of Austin Historical Landmark”. Cedar Valley School remains as one of the few surviving public school buildings associated with development of Oak Hill with the former 1924 Oak Hill School building. The Cedar Valley School is regarded as a prominent historic structure being one of few remainders of rural Oak Hill.
The location is 7901 Thomas Springs Drive, Austin, Texas, US 78736.
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