Saturday, August 12, 2017

History of the small McNeil School in Austin, Texas, forgotten.

The McNeil School is one of Austin’s many forgotten institutions from almost 2 centuries ago. Most never really heard or seen the former McNeil School. McNeil School was one of the many schools historians never wrote a book about or news stations have either covered. More so or less, McNeil School has faded away with ongoing time.


The McNeil School first opened and operated in 1887. 1887-1888 was the first school year McNeil School operated on from. The McNeil School was built as a single story one-room log cabin building in 1887. From thereon out, the McNeil School operated from 1887 to 1951. McNeil School operated on a full year schedule in 1887 under the name “McNeil Schoolhouse”. The McNeil Schoolhouse was located southeast of the intersection of the A&NW  Railroad  and north of McNeil-Jollyville Road.

The McNeil School taught grades 1st through 6th in 1887 from thereon out. Students who desired to continue their education had to transfer to Round Rock Independent School District or to Merrilltown School in the Merrilltown School District. McNeil School had its own school district called McNeil School District before being consolidated into Round Rock Independent School District (Round Rock ISD) in 1950.

1888 is when more improvements were added to the log cabin. McNeil School did not have indoor plumbing, electricity, central heating, lead painting, or even phone service until the mid 20th century. McNeil School received indoor plumbing and electricity in the 1940s. 1888 saw growth in enrollment for the McNeil School.

Children who attended this school were primarily of Mexican descent. Although the majority of the student population was of Mexican descent, white students attended McNeil School. Children of workers/employees from Austin White Limestone Company attended McNeil School. In fact at one time, 100% of the students were children of Austin White Limestone Company employees. Company housing was provided and termed “the flats” by local McNeil residents.
of $1,200 and

In 1906, McNeil School was rebuilt into a new one-room schoolhouse built of native stone. The native stone schoolhouse replaced the earlier school building. The 1906 McNeil School building was built out of limestone.


As for the McNeil Mexican School, McNeil Mexican School was built in 1932. In 1932 the school opened. Children who attended this school were primarily of Mexican descent. All of the student population was of Mexican descent. White students had attended this school as well. The school never went past the 7th grade. Grades 1st through 6th were taught at McNeil Mexican School. Students who desired to continue their education had to transfer to Round Rock Independent School District.

In 1939, a new school (McNeil Mexican School) was built again due to structural errors the first Mexican School had. A 1939 news article from the Austin American-Statesman newspaper describes the construction of a new school for Mexican Americans in McNeil. The new one-room schoolhouse was built of native stone for a cost of $1,200 and replaced the earlier school building.


In 1940, both McNeil School and McNeil Mexican School received indoor plumbing and electricity. Although there was no central heating system installed in the school. Property taxes were raised significantly to in order to receive funds to install indoor plumbing and electricity.

1950 is when McNeil School, McNeil Mexican School, and McNeil School District were consolidated into Round Rock Independent School District (Round Rock ISD). McNeil School was consolidated into Round Rock ISD due to declining enrollment, loss in property taxes, and lack of funding. (The economic base of the community was centered on the Austin White Lime Company.) Students were buss into Round Rock ISD schools to continue their education. 1951 is the year when the McNeil School closed.


In 1995, the school property was converted into Robinson Ranch which is near the McNeil Store and US Post Office. The former McNeil School building has been converted into a cattle barn. A baseball field remains intact. The Robinson Family owns the ranch along with Austin White Limestone Company which has been in the family for generations.

Today Robinson Ranch owns the property while Austin White Limestone Company owns the mineral rights. The property is off limits to the public. The former McNeil School building is hidden behind trees and has been converted into a cattle barn. Several cattle can be seen roaming the property in summertime.

The McNeil School is located northeast of Howard Lane and McNeil Road, Austin, Texas, US 78728.


*McNeil School operated under Round Rock ISD for a short while.
*McNeil School was also known as the McNeil Schoolhouse.

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