Thursday, September 14, 2017

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.

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