Showing posts with label business. Show all posts
Showing posts with label business. Show all posts

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.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Mopac toll road halfway completed.

The northern portion of the Mopac toll road, located north of Colorado River, is already completed as of November 2017. Construction crews have already begun cleaning up. However construction equipment and vehicles are still present from public view on Mopac. Construction on Mopac toll road going southbound has been rather moving slow at a sluggish pace. Construction for the Mopac toll road always begins at nighttime.

The Mopac toll road is expected be completed by the year 2019. By 2019, construction will have been completed and the toll road will be totally functional by then going both directions northbound and southbound. Mopac toll road will merge in those regular lanes on Mopac Highway (Loop 1) north of the Colorado River.

St. Matthew’s Missionary Baptist Church history nearly long forgotten revisited.

St. Matthew’s Missionary Baptist Church is one of the many forgotten religious institutions and churches of Pflugerville, Texas as well as the Austin/Travis County area. Only historians and long time residents of Pflugerville know about this religious institution.

St. Matthew’s Missionary Baptist Church was organized in 1920 inside the small town of Pflugerville, Texas. Land was sparsely developed as Plfugerville was considered by most to be “out in the country”. According to the TSHA Handbook Online, the Pflugerville community built St. Matthew's Missionary Church by 1920 at Caldwell Lane. This church building was constructed out of native stone and red brick. Although St. Matthew’s Missionary Baptist Church was mostly constructed out of native stone.

The church congregation met at Pflugerville Negro School (Pflugerville Colored School) before the church was completed. Several Baptist congregations of Travis County have met here over the years. In 1922, the church received improvements and renovations.

St. Matthew’s Missionary Baptist Church had a cemetery through St. Mary Missionary Baptist Church. Some graves date back to the 1930s. Many graves appear to be unmarked. However 40 burials have been identified by the Austin Genealogical Society. St. Matthew’s Missionary Baptist Church closed in 1973 and the St. Matthew’s Missionary Baptist Church structure no longer remains as the structure has been long demolished. Lack of membership led to the church closing.

St. Matthew’s Missionary Baptist Church was located at Caldwell Lane, Pflugerville, Texas, US 78660.

History of Manda School/Manda Community Center explained in hindsight.

The Manda School is one of the most well known schoolhouses of Austin/Travis County. Manda School has truly stood the test of time by still being in existence for the past 137 years located northeast of Manor, Texas. What was once a school became a community center shortly after. Both the Manda School and Manda Community Center have a unique interesting history that sets it apart from all the other schoolhouses in the area.

There were 32 rural school houses with similarity to the one in Manda at one point in time, but the Manda Schoolhouse is the only one that remains in all of Travis County/Austin. (Minus the Eanes School and Montopolis School.) Manda School is the only remaining two room school house in Travis County in Austin, Texas from the 20th century and 1910s decade.

Every single year the Friends of Manda School hold meetings here at the Manda Community Center. Mainly meetings are about future regards of Manda Community Center and funding for historic preservation toward this building which are held by the Board of Directors for Friends of Manda School. Community functions, social gatherings, programs, and various meetings are still held inside this building. Friends of Manda School plans to keep the Manda School open as the Manda Community Center in Manda, Texas which is near the town of Manor, Texas.

Every single year the Friends of Manda School clean the school building and land property by mowing the grass and terminating insects from hidden corners. Flooring has been resurfaced by volunteers from Friends of Manda School.

The Manda Community Center is a fine example of historic preservation done right. We need to urge commissioners of the Travis County Historic Commission to preserve historic buildings such as the Manda School. With help from both local citizens and volunteers, we can keep and preserve buildings such as this one. To this day, the Manda School operates as the Manda Community Center. The school building now serves as the reminder of the early settlement of Manda, Texas.



Manda School began its cycle as a school and community center in 1880 in the settlement of Manda, Texas. It is very unclear in what exact type of building structure Manda School taught classes in its pupil stages. The school building structure is probably presumed to have been located in a 2-room log cabin. At first the Manda School did not operate as a district school. Manda School operated as a 1-10 school teaching grades 1st through 10th.

In 1888 is when 1st grade through 10th grade was taught at Manda School. Daily enrollment was 10 to 15 students a day. In 1890, 1st grade through 10th grade was taught at Manda School with a daily attendance rate of 20 to 25 students per day. 1890 truly saw an increase in student enrollment. And just by 15 students!

By 1898, the Manda School had operated under New Sweden School District No. 24 and also as Manda School District No. 24. In 1898 is when New Sweden School District hired a teacher named Miss Zena Slaughter to teach grades 1st through 8th at Manda School.

From 1898 to 1901 is when a teacher named Miss Zena Slaughter taught elementary grades 1st and 8th. A teacher named Miss Edna Slaughter taught high school grades 9th through 11th.

The 1898-1899 school semester is when 11th grade was added with Manda School teaching 1st grade through 11th grade. Miss Zena Slaughter taught elementary grades 1st and 8th along with high school grades 9th through 11th whenever the other teacher was unavailable. Later in 1899 is when Miss Edna Slaughter taught elementary grades 1st and 8th. Miss Edna Slaughter is one the schools earlier teachers to have taught at this school. H. C. Albert and J. Carlson were trustees of Manda School during the school year of 1899-1900.


April 24, 1900 is when Miss Zena Slaughter became the teacher in charge of Manda School. She was appointed as a head teacher by school trustee H. C. Albert in 1900. H. C. Albert appointed P. Carlson from Carlson School as another trustee for Manda School on the date of April 27, 1900. J. Carlson and P. Carlson eventually oversaw trustee duties.

In 1901, school trustee H. C. Albert appointed Miss Edna Slaughter as the head teacher for Manda School if anything were to happen to Miss Zena Slaughter. Both Miss Edna Slaughter and Miss Zena Slaughter served as head teachers for the Manda School.

Paul Albert and Otto Larsson were one of the notable pupils who attended Manda School. Paul Albert was a relative of H. C. Albert, a New Sweden School and Manda School trustee.


Citizens from the Manda community urged commissioners from the Travis County Public Schools (Travis County Common School District) to build a new schoolhouse in the Manda community in 1914. Superintendents and commissioners were receptive to their demanding a new school be built.  Commissioners from the Travis County Public Schools agreed to allocate funding construction of a schoolhouse in Manda, Texas. 


The Manda School was built as the New Sweden School in 1915 to serve students in New Sweden School District #22. Exact first school year that the Manda School operated on was the 1914-1915 school semester at the zenith peak of 1915. Though the school did fully start operating until 1916, students from Manor and the nearby surrounding communities attended. Manda School operated possibly in a 2-room log cabin until sometime during the 1915-1916 school year. Exact dates are unclear.

By 1915, the Manda community voted on a one issue to construct a new school building that was during the spring of that year. Construction for the Manda School building lasted from the summer to the fall of 1915. Although the construction for the Manda School building mostly operated during the summer, it continued in the fall season. School was held in the New Sweden Lutheran Church on New Sweden Church Road during construction. Construction was completed later in that year.

1915 was the first full year altogether that Manda School operated on as under the name “New Sweden School” for which it operated as under at first. The New Sweden School sign located on the top roof of the school building faced front towards Manda - Carlson Road.

The Manda School was named after Amanda Bengtson Gustafson who was sister of the settlement’s postmaster the same year. Manda is a short diminutive for Amanda. The name Manda was shortened from the name Amanda. Many students who had attended this school had Swedish ancestry in their family background and came from Swedish families. Most of the students were children of Swedish sharecroppers on the ranch or Swedes who owned farms in the area.    

The name New Sweden/Manda Schoolhouse has given to the school by local historians. Sometimes historians have labeled the Manda School as “New Sweden/Manda Schoolhouse”, “New Sweden Schoolhouse”, “New Sweden Schoolhouse No. 2”, “New Sweden School No. 2”, and “New Sweden/Manda School”. The name of the school has changed over the course of several years however.

From a February 26, 1933 radio program ran by Texas Extended School and Community Health Education Program for New Sweden School states the following.:  “The first pupil school in this community was held in the old New Sweden Lutheran Church (the church that was is where the cemetery is now at FM 973 and New Sweden Church Road)…… the present two room school was erected in the summer and fall of 1915…. this building was made possible by a bond issue voted by the community in the spring of that year.”


1916 is when the Manda School was opened as a two-room schoolhouse which was a single story building structure for the Manda Common School District in the settlement of Manda, Texas. Manda School was spread out into a 2 room plan incorporated in the school building structure.

Prior to 1916 the Manda School building was used as the New Sweden School building in the New Sweden School District. The New Sweden School sign located on the top roof facing Manda - Carlson Road had been changed to Manda School. The Manda School eventually became known as the Manda Schoolhouse to locals in 1916.

1916 is the year when Manda School and New Sweden School swapped buildings. The then-present New Sweden School building became the Manda School with the New Sweden School being relocated by moving into a church building located on 12178 New Sweden Church Road in Manor, Texas near the New Sweden community and settlement. Manda School was located inside the former New Sweden School building built in 1915. Historians have agreed that the Manda School was the original New Sweden School building. Many historians claim this statement as a fact.

1916 was the same year the community of Manda, Texas was granted its own school district by the State of Texas and Travis County Public Schools which was called Manda Common School District with Manda School separating from New Sweden School District. Manda Common School District included students from neighboring communities such as Manor, New Sweden, Littig, Kimbro, Carlson, and Elgin.

1917 is when the Manda School had an attendance rate of 30 students per day. 2 teachers taught 30 students with 15 students on the lefthand side of the school building and 15 students on the righthand side of the school building. One side taught elementary grades and the other side taught middle school grades and high school grades.


By 1920, the attendance rate had dropped to 20 students per day. However in the middle of the 1920-1921 school year is when the attendance rate had started beginning to pick up with a rate of 25 students per day in daily attendance.

12th grade was added in 1923. Manda School operated as a 1-12 school by then with Manda School teaching 1st grade through 12th grade in that two-room schoolhouse. This was unusual as most schools in the state of Texas either stopped at 10th grade or either 11th grade. Even high schools never went past 10th grade level or the 11th grade level.


The Manda School District had a negro school called Manda Colored Public School which also went under the names Manda Colored School, Manda Negro School, and Kimbro Negro School. According to Manda School Board Records 1947-1963, the Manda Negro School went under several names. The Manda Negro School was located next to Manda School. The Manda Negro School was jointly operated by the Kimbro School District even after 1947 when the Kimbro School District consolidated into the Manda Common School District. 

Once Kimbro School District consolidated into the Manda Common School District, both Kimbro White School and Kimbro Negro School were operated by the Manda School District including the Kimbro School on FM 1100 as well. The Manda Negro School was the former Kimbro Negro School. Kimbro Negro School became the Manda Negro School in 1948 as the Kimbro Negro School was consolidated into Manda Common School District in 1947. Not much is known about the Manga Colored Public School or its history, but county records indicated this school certainly existed.

From the 1947-1948 school year up until 1963 is when the Kimbro Negro School was operated by Manda School District. Walter Banks was elected as principal for the Manda Negro School in 1959. The Manda School Board made a motion to move Manda Negro School into one building with telephone service included in the year of 1960. 1960 is when the former Kimbro Negro School relocated next to Manda School (Manda White School). Manda Negro School consolidated into Elgin ISD in 1963. Sometime after 1963 is when the Manda Negro School was demolished.


In 1942, the Austin American-Statesman newspaper credited and condemned Henry Munson, Albert Munson, Victor Bengston, Martin Anderson, Albin Holmburg, and Edwin Berggren as active pallbearers from New Sweden Lutheran Church. They were active in church services and the New Sweden School Board as well as Manda School Board.

The Austin American-Statesman newspaper had credited and condemned Henry Munson, Albert Munson, Victor Bengston, Martin Anderson, Albin Holmburg, and Edwin Berggren as honorary pall bearers from New Sweden Lutheran Church the same year. They served on the Board of Deacons of the Church.

New Sweden School was consolidated into the Manda Common School District in 1947. New Sweden School students attended school in Manor or Manda School. When New Sweden School was consolidated with the Manda School in the Manda Common School District, New Sweden School was a K-7 school. Kindergarden was added to Manda School and New Sweden School in 1945 prior to consolidation. As a result of school district consolidation, the tax rate was raised from 47¢ to 50¢.

In 1947, Manda Common School District became School District No. 25 for a short time. New Sweden School District No. 22 was dissolved into Manda School District No. 25 by then. Harry Lind of Lund School became vice principal of Manda School.

More schools and school districts were consolidated into the Manda Common School District over time and in the same year as well. Gregg School, Carlson School, Kimbro School, Willow Ranch School, and several other schools along with school districts were consolidated into the Manda Common School District

A vocational building was built next to the school in 1949. The vocational building is where students learned skills and crafts for the workplace. Woodcraft was taught inside this vocational building. Farming and sewing were taught here.


From an Austin American-Statesman newspaper article written in June 3, 1950 under the headlines of “Board To Close School At Merrilltown”, Travis County Public Schools Superintendent Irvin. W. Popham said, “The 13 students in the Merrilltown School will be distributed between the Pflugerville ISD Schools and New Sweden Schools. He said the school was closed because the enrollment had dropped too low.”

As a result overall, 13 students were distributed to Pflugerville ISD Schools, Round Rock ISD schools, and New Sweden Schools. Most students from Merrilltown School were distributed to New Sweden School and Manda School as a result of Merriltown School District consolidation with Round Rock ISD and Pflugerville ISD in 1950. By the 1950-1951 school year, Merrilltown School closed due to a lack of enrollment.

Merrilltown School was an elementary school that served grades 1 through 7. Merrilltown School was known as Merrilltown Elementary School. The Merrilltown School was no longer the 1-12 school it was once known as.

In 1951, the Manda School contributed $20,000 towards the Travis County polio campaign and program. Half of the monetary amount of $20,000 was sent to the national foundation (Polio Foundation) which performed the research for a cure to polio. A news article from the February 01, 1951 edition of the Austin American-Statesman newspaper argued that the monetary amount the amount contributed in the drive won’t even pay their salaries.

Transfers to Elgin High School began in May 1958 at a cost between $20 to $25 dollars at a rate of $248.85 per student. High school students transferred to Elgin ISD to attend Elgin High School. Walter Banks was elected as principal for Manda Negro School. Sid Carwright was appointed as school board trustee in 1959.


The Manda Common School District was dissolved in 1960 during the school district consolidation movement of the 1960s in Texas in an effort to save taxpayers cost. Most students who attended the Manda School were bussed to Elgin ISD though due to proximity towards Elgin. Some students were bussed to Manor ISD.

Manda School had 1,394 students during the 1962-1963 school year. Cost per pupil was $303.46 a year at the balance of $54.61 per pupil raised from local sources. Transfer cost per each student was $54.61 raised from local sources.

During the December 3, 1962 Elgin ISD board meeting, it was established “tuition charged for transfer students in the Elgin Public Schools will be the actual cost as calculated from the budget of last preceding school year.” The State was to furnish $346,896 dollars for each student at a rate of $248.85 per student. $423,627 was divided among the 1,394 students during the 1962-1963 school year. Transfers would begin next year. Transfers to Elgin High School started at 9th grade or 10th grade.

Although the Manda Common School District was dissolved permanently in 1960, the Manda School continued operate until 1963. 1963 is when Manda School was finally closed and stopped operating. Students were sent to schools in Elgin or Manor based where they resided. Elgin ISD permanently closed down Manda School in 1963.

1963 is the same year Manda Community Club was formed. Despite the Manda Community Club being formed, the Manda School building more or less sat abandoned. Manda Community Club tried their hardest to preserve the historic Manda Schoolhouse but ultimately the organization dissolved in 1968. From 1968 onwards, the Manda School more or less sat abandoned with no meaningful use.


The school building still stood in 1969. In 1969 the Manda School was more or less abandoned with no purpose for almost 40 years falling into a state of disrepair. That was until the Friends of Manda School (Friendship of Manda School) decided to make the former Manda School building into a community center which would become the Manda Community Center in 2006. David E Erickson Jr became the trustee for Manda Community Center as of 2009.


From 2016 to 2017, the Friends of Manda School have began maintenance and upkeep of the former Manda School building as an attempt of historic perseveration. Several window panels have been replaced and window screens have been added to all windows of this school. All wooden floors have been flattened and resurfaced to be up to code for building standards and code standards. Central AC heating is now connected to this building.

Today the Friends of Manda School and David E Erickson Jr. own and maintain the Manda Community Center. David E Erickson Jr is the trustee for Manda Community Center as of no. David E Erickson Jr is responsible for the finances and maintenance of the Manda School.

Manda School is now operated, owned, and preserved by the Friends of Manda School (Friendship of Manda School). Friends of Manda School is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of this school building. Every single year the Friends of Manda School clean the school building and land property by mowing the grass and terminating insects from hidden corners. The Manda community along with several volunteers have been restoring the Manda School building to its original condition as found decades earlier.

Every single year the Friends of Manda School hold meetings here at the Manda Community Center. Mainly meetings are about future regards of Manda Community Center and funding for historic preservation toward this building which are held by the Board of Directors for Friends of Manda School. Community functions, social gatherings, programs, and various meetings are still held inside this building. Friends of Manda School plans to keep the Manda School open as the Manda Community Center in Manda, Texas which is near the town of Manor, Texas.

Manda School/Manda Community Center is located at 16717 Manda Carlson Road, Manor, Texas, US 78653. The other address for the Manda Community Center is 16306 Manda Carlson Road, Manor, Texas, US 78653.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Future for old Don’s Grass property in Austin, Texas remains unknown.

The future for Don’s Grass property remains unknown currently as of November 2017. Many citizens, activists, council members, and preservationists from both Austin and Oak Hill wonder about the future of the old site.

However Don Farmer plans to demolish the old Oak Hill School so he can build a new modernized storefront for his business Don's Grass & Landscape Inc. But nothing has materialized yet. All buildings have remained in tact. He has not made comment to the public regarding the future outcome for his business or those 2 buildings. Don Farmer and his landscape business Don’s Grass occupied the former site from 2005 to 2012.

The building Don’s Grass occupied was none other than the old Oak Hill School located at 6240 West US 290, Austin, Texas, US 78735. The Oak Hill School was the old Oak Hill Elementary School that taught grades 1 through 7 operated by Austin ISD from 1923 to 1985.

The former Oak Hill School and its school buildings remain in tact leaving many Austin and Oak Hill citizens to wonder about the future of the Don’s Grass site. Future for the former Don’s Grass property or its buildings is unknown.


The old Oak Hill School has gone through a series of landowners and has operated as a front for several businesses. Once the former Oak Hill School operated as a grocery store that sold pumpkins during autumn, a mail department, once as a hardware store, and once as an automobile repair station.

Austin 1825 Fortview Inc owned the property prior to Don Farmer who purchased the property through a warranty deed on the date of 6/4/2005. Don Farmer sold the property back to Austin 1825 Fortview Inc on the date of 1/16/2012.

Bulldozers occupy the property site of the old Oak Hill School which was Don’s Grass. The buildings have permit papers attached indicating improvements are being made. There are building permits for interior non-structural demolition around the vacant school buildings. It is unlikely that the former Oak Hill School will be demolished as the City of Austin has zoned the Oak Hill School property as a historic property back in 2001.


It’s last tenants was Don Farmer and Austin 1825 Fortview Inc. Don Farmer has not occupied the property since 2012. Don’s Grass has not been in business since 2012.

The future January 12, 2012 Austin City Council meeting regarding Don Farmer violations were reported in the December 30, 2011 edition of Austin Chronicle and again in another issue of the Austin Chronicle. A foreclosure notice was filed to the Travis County Courthouse on January 14, 2012.

Back in January 12, 2012, the City of Austin shut down Don’s Grass by giving Don Farmer a citation for alleged violations of failure to install a water meter and failing to accurately record & submit monthly reports of groundwater withdrawals from a permitted Middle Trinity water well.

On January 12, 2012, City of Austin council members held a public hearing related in reference towards alleged violations that Don Farmer failed to install a water meter and for failing to accurately record & submit monthly reports of groundwater withdrawals from a permitted Middle Trinity water well. District Rules required the permittee to appear before the District’s Board of Directors and show cause why it should not be subject to an enforcement action by the Board.


Bulldozers occupy the site of the old Don’s Grass. Piles of dirt can be seen from road-view off of US 290 visible to the public eye. As of now, BGSIX Holdings LLC and City of Austin own the property. Both BGSIX Holdings LLC and City of Austin are keeping an eye on the property for any potential buyers willing to purchase the property.

For now the former Don’s Grass sits vacant and unoccupied at 6420 West US 290, Austin, Texas, US 78735.

Oak Hill School history touched by Mixerr Reviews.

Oak Hill School history and Oak Hill in Austin, Texas have been reported in the local news time and time again. Well here is an in-depth look at the history of Oak Hill School and the Oak Hill School District none with similarities to other new reports about Oak Hill School.

The Oak Hill School served as an elementary school where grades 1 through 7 from 1856 to 1985 for the students that lived or resided in the Oak Hill neighborhood. Oak Hill School was operated by Austin Independent School District. The old Oak Hill School building was the former building for Oak Hill Elementary School prior to 1985.


In 1856 Oak Hill School was started a log cabin school  called Live Oak Springs. The school was named after the community. This name was used for 9 years from 1856 to 1865 when the Civil War ended. Mr. George Hirsner was the first teacher of this school.

In 1865, the Shiloh School was built a log cabin to replace the Live Oak Springs School. Although the Shiloh School was built to replace the Live Oak Springs School, the Shiloh School remained right next to Live Oak Springs School as an annex building if overcrowding occurred.

Major landowner named B. F. Oatman had settled in Oak Hill around 1869. The area and the school and community were renamed Oatmanville. Which is where Oatmanville School came from.

A wooden frame building built by Williamson Creek replaced the Shiloh School in 1879. This one-room schoolhouse was enlarged to two rooms simply by hanging a curtain across the center.

On the date of August 16, 1897, the first trustees for the Oatmanville School were elected and charged with building a new school. Trustee Peter Thompson gave two acres of land and Columbus Patton, supervised the construction of a one room building which served as both the new Oatmanville School as well as a church on Sundays.


In 1920, a vote was held for construction of a new school building to replace the Shiloh School, Live Oak Springs, and Oatmanville School buildings. Citizens of Oak Hill were adamant for a new school to be built. Land for the present school was donated by James A. Patton and limestone donated by Norwall Mowinkle. James Andrew Patton and Norwall Mowinkle helped build the Oak Hill School building.

The Oak Hill School District was created in 1922. James Andrew Patton held a position as school trustee. Norwall Mowinkle was made secretary and assistant trustee.

The “new” Oak Hill School was built in 1923 as an elementary school for grades 1 through 7. The Oak Hill School was a 1-7 school. Each class consisted of 6 to 7 students. Three teachers were employed at Oak Hill School. The school was located in the middle of farmland.

Oak Hill School got its second school building as enrollment expanded in 1933. The large room on the west side of the building was added in 1933 and used for the cafeteria. A stage and library were installed in the same year.

Enrollment was 200 students in the 1932-1933 school year. By the 1932-1933 school year, Oak Hill School was a 1-8 school (K-8 school) that taught grades 1 through 8. Students continued high school at Austin High School. Five teachers were employed at Oak Hill School.

According to the Statistical Study of Travis County Schools, Oak Hill School listed 59 students and 3 teachers in the 1934-1935 school year. By 1935, 60 students attended this school.

At one point in the 1940s, Oak Hill School reverted back to a 1-7 school after being a 1-8 school. After finishing 7th grade, students were bussed to Fulmore Junior High School (now Fulmore Middle School) in the Austin Public Schools District (now Austin ISD) to finish their junior high school/middle school education. High school continued high school at Austin High School.


Cedar Valley School was closed and its school district was consolidated with the neighboring Oak Hill School into the Oak Hill School District in 1953. Oak Hill School then expanded the same year as a result of school consolidation.

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 1957, Oak Hill School became a 1-6 school teaching grades 1 through 6 permanently which Oak Hill Elementary School does today. School never went past 6th grade by then.


In 1960, Oak Hill School District and Manchaca School District formed a rural school district called “Manchaca - Oak Hill Rural High School District“ bka “Manchaca - Oak Hill School District“. An attempt 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 Oak Hill School District and Manchaca School District along with the Manchaca - Oak Hill School District itself. Oak Hill School was now operated by Austin ISD.


There were nine teachers in the school by 1971. A tenth teacher was employed in 1972. Only one school bus picked up and dropped off students. The one school bus was the only method of transportation for Oak Hill School.

In 1974, land was donated to Austin ISD by the James A. Patton family to build a newer modern elementary school where Oak Hill School would relocate on 6101 Patton Ranch Road. During construction of the newer modern Oak Hill Elementary School, grades Kindergarden through 5th along with 6th were housed at the old Oak Hill School. 5th and 6th grade students were housed in the building northeast of the school less than a stones throw a way.

From 1974 to 1985, the former Oak Hill School building continued to operate. Only this time, grades 5 and 6 occupied the two buildings. This practice would last until 1985 when the property was sold.

1975 is the year when the newer modern Oak Hill School opened. The first school year Oak Hill Elementary School operated on was 1975-1976. Oak Hill Elementary School was then a K-6 school.


In 1985 is when Austin 1825 Fortview Inc bought the property and school building from Austin ISD for $200,000. From 1985 to 1997 is when the old Oak Hill School building operated as a grocery store.

From the 1980s to the 1990’s, the old Oak Hill School had gone through a series of landowners and has operated as a front for several businesses. Once the former Oak Hill School operated as a grocery store that sold pumpkins during autumn, Pizza Garden, Stone Garden, Cherry Tree Farm LTD, Austin Ballet, a mail department, once as a hardware store, and once as an automobile repair station.

Oak Hill School became Oak Hill Elementary School in 1986. Additional buildings were added on the same year. From 1986 onwards, Oak Hill Elementary School only taught grades K through 5 and no longer 6th grade. 6th grade attended middle school at Small Middle School down the road or elsewhere. Oak Hill Elementary School became a K-5 school which it still is to this day.


Don Farmer and his landscape business Don’s Grass occupied the former Oak Hill School building from 2005 to 2012. Don Farmer purchased the property from Austin 1825 Fortview Inc through a warranty deed on the date of 6/4/2005. Austin 1825 Fortview Inc owned the property prior to Don Farmer.

It’s last tenants was Don Farmer and Austin 1825 Fortview Inc. Don Farmer has not occupied the property since 2012. Don’s Grass has not been in business since 2012.


As reported in the December 30, 2011 edition of Austin Chronicle and again in another issue of the Austin Chronicle, the future January 12, 2012 Austin City Council meeting regarding Don Farmer’s violations were referenced and reported on.

On January 12, 2012, City of Austin council members held a public hearing related in reference towards alleged violations that Don Farmer failed to install a water meter and for failing to accurately record & submit monthly reports of groundwater withdrawals from a permitted Middle Trinity water well. District Rules required the permittee to appear before the District’s Board of Directors and show cause why it should not be subject to an enforcement action by the Board. (A foreclosure notice was filed to the Travis County Courthouse on January 14, 2012.)

Back in January 15, 2012, the City of Austin shut down Don’s Grass for good by giving Don Farmer a citation for alleged violations of failure to install a water meter and failing to accurately record & submit monthly reports of groundwater withdrawals from a permitted Middle Trinity water well.

After Don’s Grass was shut down by the city for alleged violations for failing to accurately record & submit monthly reports of groundwater withdrawals, Don Farmer sold the former Oak Hill School property back to Austin 1825 Fortview Inc (from he purchased the property from 7 years prior) on the date of 1/16/2012 from a substitute trustee deed. Austin 1825 Fortview Inc sold the property to BGSIX Holdings LLC on a warranty deed basis.

According to the City of Austin, on April 2, 2014, the old Oak Hill Elementary School became a City of Austin Historical Landmark by ordinance 20010719-029. This meant the former school building could not be demolished.

Austin 1825 Fortview Inc sold the property to BGSIX Holdings LLC on a warranty deed basis on the date of 9/18/2015. BGSIX Holdings LLC has owned the property and school buildings since late 2015.


As of November 2017, bulldozers occupy the site of the old Oak Hill School. Piles of dirt can be seen from road-view off of US 290 visible to the public eye. As of now, BGSIX Holdings LLC and City of Austin own the property. Both Don Farmer, BGSIX Holdings LLC and City of Austin are keeping an eye on the property for any potential buyers willing to purchase the property.

For now the former Oak Hill School sits vacant and unoccupied at 6420 West US 290, Austin, Texas, US 78735. Oak Hill Elementary School now operates a K-5 school located on 6101 Patton Ranch Road, Austin, Texas, US 78735.


The Preservation Potential of Building states, “Historic stone school building appears to be in good condition, and can readily be adapted to a new commercial or office use. As a historic landmark building, the property would be eligible for an annual city property tax abatement equal to approximately 30 percent of the assessed taxes. A rehabilitation of the building could also be eligible for federal historic tax credits with a sales tax exemptions for labor costs of rehabilitation.”

Oak Hill School remains as one of the five surviving public buildings associated with development of Oak Hill and a prominent historic structure located centrally in the historic core of Oak Hill. School was the center of activity in the community for 62 years from 1923 to 1985.

Oak Hill School holds an important place in the history of Oak Hill and Cedar Valley community. Oak Hill School deserves a better fate than that of the Cedar Valley School.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Future for old Oak Hill School in Austin, Texas remains unknown.

The future for the Oak Hill School, which once served as the old Oak Hill Elementary School which taught grades 1 through 7 operated by Austin ISD in Austin, Texas, remains unknown currently as of November 2017. Don Farmer and his landscape business Don’s Grass occupied the former Oak Hill School building from 2005 to 2012.

However Don Farmer plans to demolish the old Oak Hill School so he can build a new modernized storefront for his business Don's Grass & Landscape Inc. But nothing has materialized yet. He has not made comment to the public regarding the former Oak Hill School property or its buildings. The former Oak Hill School and its school buildings remain in tact leaving many Austin and Oak Hill citizens to wonder about the future of the old Oak Hill School site. Many activists, council members, and preservationists from both Austin and Oak Hill wonder about the future of the old site as well.

The old Oak Hill School has gone through a series of landowners and has operated as a front for several businesses. Once the former Oak Hill School operated as a grocery store that sold pumpkins during autumn, a mail department, once as a hardware store, and once as an automobile repair station. Austin 1825 Fortview Inc owned the property prior to Don Farmer who purchased the property through a warranty deed on the date of 6/4/2005.

Bulldozers occupy the property site of the old Oak Hill School. The buildings have permit papers attached indicating improvements are being made. There are building permits for interior non-structural demolition around the vacant school buildings. It is unlikely that the former Oak Hill School will be demolished as the City of Austin has zoned the Oak Hill School property as a historic property back in 2001.


It’s last tenants was Don Farmer and Austin 1825 Fortview Inc. Don Farmer has not occupied the property since 2012. Don’s Grass has not been in business since 2012.

The future January 12, 2012 Austin City Council meeting regarding Don Farmer violations were reported in the December 30, 2011 edition of Austin Chronicle and again in another issue of the Austin Chronicle. A foreclosure notice was filed to the Travis County Courthouse on January 14, 2012.

Back in January 12, 2012, the City of Austin shut down Don’s Grass by giving Don Farmer a citation for alleged violations of failure to install a water meter and failing to accurately record & submit monthly reports of groundwater withdrawals from a permitted Middle Trinity water well.

On January 12, 2012, City of Austin council members held a public hearing related in reference towards alleged violations that Don Farmer failed to install a water meter and for failing to accurately record & submit monthly reports of groundwater withdrawals from a permitted Middle Trinity water well. District Rules required the permittee to appear before the District’s Board of Directors and show cause why it should not be subject to an enforcement action by the Board.

After Don’s Grass was shut down by the city for alleged violations for failing to accurately record & submit monthly reports of groundwater withdrawals, Don Farmer sold the former Oak Hill School property back to Austin 1825 Fortview Inc (from he purchased the property from 7 years prior) on the date of 1/16/2012 from a substitute trustee deed. Austin 1825 Fortview Inc sold the property to BGSIX Holdings LLC on a warranty deed basis.

According to the City of Austin, on April 2, 2014, the old Oak Hill Elementary School became a City of Austin Historical Landmark by ordinance 20010719-029.

Austin 1825 Fortview Inc sold the property to BGSIX Holdings LLC on a warranty deed basis on the date of 9/18/2015. BGSIX Holdings LLC has owned the property and school buildings since late 2015.


Bulldozers occupy the site of the old Oak Hill School. Piles of dirt can be seen from road-view off of US 290 visible to the public eye. As of now, BGSIX Holdings LLC and City of Austin own the property. Both Don Farmer, BGSIX Holdings LLC and City of Austin are keeping an eye on the property for any potential buyers willing to purchase the property.

For now the former Oak Hill School sits vacant and unoccupied at 6420 West US 290, Austin, Texas, US 78735.

Monday, October 9, 2017

SH 45 construction in Southwest Austin expected to face delays until 2019 revisited.

The ongoing SH 45 construction in Southwest Austin is expected to be facing delays until 2019 to budget cuts enacted by the Texas State Legislature. The set completion date of the SH 45 (State Highway 45) remains the same as the SH 45 in Southwest Austin will open to the public in 2019. By 2019, construction will have been completed and the highway will be functional by then. Going both directions westbound and eastbound, SH 45 will merge regular lanes on Mopac Highway (Loop 1).

Construction on SH 45 alongside Mopac has been rather moving at a sluggish pace. Progress remains slow as usual. Rain weather from previous months in 2017 have delayed construction for SH 45. Mainly it was the rain weather from May delayed construction the most. Other factors have delayed construction for SH 45.

Various acres of land property have been purchased from several landowners in Southwest Austin by imminent domain enacted by City of Austin and TXDOT over the course 20 years. Several landowners had complained 2 decades earlier about how there will be too much traffic and noise complaints if there were to be a highway in Southwest Austin separating the neighborhoods of Circle C, Meridian, and Esquel apart from each other.

The southwest portion SH 45 is going to be connected to FM 1626 less than 2 miles north of the small town of Hays, Texas. SH 45 is expected to connect to I 35 and the southeast portion of SH 45. The latest SH 45 is expected be completed by the year 2019. SH 45 is a west-east highway in Austin, Texas.

DJ Snake bass test tones can help equalize balance in your speakers.

Did you know that DJ Snake bass test tones can help equalize balance in your speakers? Well if you purchased his newly remastered state-of-the-art digital download album of his Turnt Up Bass Classics album that was released on iTunes back in 2016, then you will know what I am talking about. For instance songs such as How Low, Moments in Bass, and Frequency use a 26 Hz bass test tone that will surely clear and equalize your speakers.

History of Mixerr Reviews explained by Michael Mixerr.

Mixerr Reviews is an independent news blog from Austin, Texas, US that often strays away from mainstream news and mainstream media. Mixerr Reviews talks about news that the underground scene cares about. In other words, Mixerr Reviews is basically a news blog.

Michael Mixerr started doing his overviews in October 2011. As many media news outlets, sources, and newspapers influenced him to do so. In him doing so, Michael Mixerr matured his writing style for Mixerr Reviews into a more organized well laid out newspaper format.

At first Mixerr Reviews was sort of a mail order only newspaper though as some thought it would be. It was through email only at one point. Mixerr Reviews was only available to those who knew Michael Mixerr on a personal level and the only way you could get it was through him. Meaning that Mixerr Reviews was available in Austin, Texas, US only. But in September 2012 is when Michael Mixerr made Mixerr Reviews available to the whole world through the Internet and not just locally in Austin only.

Mixerr Reviews was originally intended to be a music news blog. But Michael Mixerr wanted Mixerr Reviews to be a indie news blog. As times changed, so did Mixerr Reviews and all the other reviews changed in formatting to along with time. He has matured overtime. The reviews are useful sources of information to many people around the world. There is no propaganda allowed on Mixerr Reviews.

Mixerr Reviews/Mixerr Reviews Blogspot ATXN mission is being a local business while being a well known independent news organization that covers many news topics that corporate news media organizations won't debate on and is too afraid to discuss while they are on the air during live broadcast. Being descriptive and accurate is one of Mixerr Reviews priorities. Mixerr Reviews talks about topics no news organization would ever cover, discuss, or debate on.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Montopolis School saved from demolition by investor Austin Stowell.

It’s official! Investor and land owner Austin Stowell of KEEP Investment Group has decided to keep the Montopolis School (Montopolis Negro School) building intact safe away from demolition. Austen Stowell is willing to work with the City of Austin who wants to purchase the property for historic preservation. His goal is to seek a historic zoning category other than single family after the Historic Landmark Commission failed to reach the threshold for zoning the property building as historic last year in December 2016. Austin Stowell of KEEP Investment Group is planning to negotiate a sale to the city for a win-win resolution giving some of the members of the community what they want in an attempt of historic preservation.

The former Montopolis School could see rebirth or a breath of a fresh new life as museum and a park. His main goal is to seek adaptive reuse to preserve the structure. “The substantial community group called Neighborhood Planning Contact Team opposes any use of the site other than as a museum or a park.” said Austin Stowell. However it is unclear and unofficial as to whether or not the former Montopolis School will become a museum, community center, or a park.

Austin Stowell acquired the property in March 2015 and then in December 2016, he acquired a demolition permit for the property which was denied. Everything around the structure has been sheathed in aluminum to help preserve the school building from further deterioration. Austin Stowell refers the property as “mummified” .

However single family units will be built around the Montopolis School building. Real estate plans along with housing development will not stop. Housing development plans to build 15 single family units and other real estate plans will continue. 14 to 15 single family units will be built around the Montopolis School building instead.

On the date of September 28, 2017, the Austin City Council voted unanimously to approve the purchase of the former Montopolis Negro School site and agreed to consider changes to how the city designates historical landmarks. City staffers will now prepare a plan to restore the school “as a historic asset and museum that would attract tourists and convention delegates."

On September 29, 2017, plans for demolition are cancelled as owner Austin Stowell recognizes the significance and importance of the Montopolis School. Everything around the school building has been sheathed in aluminum to help preserve the school building from further deterioration. Austin Stowell refers the property as “mummified” .

*Austen Stowell is the same Austin Stowell of KEEP Investment Group.

History of the Montopolis School in hindsight.

Montopolis School was built in 1891 as Montopolis Negro School to serve black students living the Austin/Del Valle area as well as Travis County, Del Valle, and the Montopolis neighborhood. Students who lived in Del Valle attended this school as well. Montopolis School was operated by Colorado Common School District (now Del Valle Independent School District) from 1891 to 1952. Years of operation for this school were from 1891 to 1962. The Montopolis School was a segregated school for black students.

1st grade through 8th grade were taught at the Montopolis School during its time of operation. Kindergarten was added later as required by education law. School stopped after 8th grade. Students who wanted to continue their high school education attended LC Anderson High School in the Rosewood neighborhood in East Austin.

The Montopolis School was always strapped for money and operated on a short schedule annals by todays education standards as many of Travis County’s rural schools were back in those days. School was often held on a short schedule.


The original Montopolis School originated at the location of 100 Bastrop Highway, Austin, Texas, US 78742 near the Colorado River east of US 183. The original Montopolis School was located at 100 Bastrop Highway from 1891 until 1934. From the 1890s on, Montopolis School was a K-8 serving grades 1 through 8. Montopolis School was operated by Colorado Common School District for a number of years. Montopolis School was first called Colorado School No. 4.

The school was first named as Colorado School in the 1890s. Colorado School namesake came from the Colorado River just 1 block away from the school site. Montopolis School was a part of Colorado Common School District from the beginning.


Colorado School No. 4 was renamed to Burditt’s Prairie School sometime during the 1920s. Enrollment dropped a slow rate in 1927. The 1927-1928 school year saw a decline in enrollment.

A flood during a storm destroyed the original school in 1934. The old school building was 94%-95% completely destroyed by the flood during the storm. From 1934 to 1935, the Montopolis School was rebuilt. The new school building was built with wood from the old school building and new wood from a nearby lumber yard. A two-roof frame from former US Army barracks from Camp Swift in Bastrop County was relocated to the site and was renovated for school use. 

In 1935, the Montopolis School reopened and classes continued. The site for the new location of the Montopolis School was 500 Montopolis Drive, Austin, Texas, US 78741. St. Edward’s Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. J. H. Harrel donated 1.82 acres of land to Colorado Common School District #36 in 1935. More land was donated to the school overtime as the years passed.

Sometime during the 1930s, the name for Burditt’s Prairie School reverted back to “Colorado School”. The “Colorado School” stuck until the 1940s when it renamed again to Montopolis School.


In 1951, Montopolis School had 43 students in grades 1 through 8. The 1951-1952 school year was the last school year the Montopolis School would operate as a K-8 school covering and serving grades 1 through 8.

1952 is when ownership of the Montopolis School was transferred from Travis County Public Schools and Colorado Common School District (now Del Valle ISD) to Austin Public Schools (now Austin Independent School District aka Austin ISD). The City of Austin annexed the Montopolis neighborhood in the same year. 1952 is when Montopolis School became Montopolis Elementary School.

The building was renovated at a cost of $4,903 in 1952. New equipment was supplied for the school. Toilets and 2 new classrooms were installed. Showers came that maintenance installation. A couple of churches had donated money and equipment to the school.

In 1953 is when the Montopolis School became a K-4 school serving 1st grade through 4th grade. Montopolis Elementary School restructured from being a K-8 school to a K-4 school. For the 1953-1954 school semester, Montopolis Elementary School had 43 pupils in grades 1 through 4.


In 1961, Austin ISD school officials and superintendents declared the Montopolis School building along with the Montopolis School to be “outmoded and outdated”. Supervising teacher John Bell recommended that Montopolis School be shut down and closed with the remaining students to transfer to Sims Elementary School.

On the date of March 30, 1962 is when Montopolis School was closed by Austin ISD. So Austin ISD shut down the school sending its remaining students to continue their education attending nearby schools such as Allison Elementary School, Sims Elementary School, Lamar Elementary School (Lamar School), Del Valle Junior High School, Del Valle Senior High School, Del Valle High School, LC Anderson High School, and Johnston High School.

On May 11, 1964, Austin ISD put up the school property for a bid auction. The highest was at a value of $5,102 and the bidder was O.A. Wilhoitte of Austin. O.A. Wilhoitte purchased the school property from Austin ISD in 1967 for an adjusted value of $5,200 and the school was converted into a church called Montopolis Church of Christ which operated as a community church from 1967 to 1988. In 1968, David Willhoite served as a trustee for Montopolis Church of Christ.


In 1987, the City of Austin allowed eminent domain action to happen for some road construction in an attempted road extension of Grove Boulevard. But however, the city never built the road. Not much is known about if renovations were made or how many improvements were made to the school building itself during that time.

Montopolis Church of Christ was never really a financial success. Money was always tight for this church. Church attendance was rather low as the church was never popular with the community. So Montopolis Church of Christ closed in 1988.  The church was abandoned in 1988.


Austin Stowell acquired the property in March 2015 in part of a real estate sale. Austin Stowell purchased the property from David Wilhoitte who owned this property from 1967 to 2015. David Wilhoitte was the sole trustee for the property.

Back in August 2016, city had recommended to initiate historic zoning to keep the Montopolis School from being demolished after they determined the building to be historic. This building qualified for a historical landmark designation, but that alone will not be enough to save the school from further demolition.

In December 2016,  groups pressed city hall to preserve the Montopolis School by issuing the property with a historical landmark. The Montopolis Neighborhood Association called upon City of Austin to buy the Montopolis School from Austin Stonewall (Austin Stowell) of KEEP Investment Group.

On the date of 1/3/2017, Austin Stonewall filed an application for demolition however the demolition was denied by the City of Austin. This was to build 15 single family units and apartments as part of his original real estate plan with KEEP Investment Group/Real Estate. However nothing happened.

On the date of September 28, 2017, the Austin City Council voted unanimously to approve the purchase of the former Montopolis Negro School site and agreed to consider changes to how the city designates historical landmarks.

On September 29, 2017, plans for demolition are cancelled as owner Austin Stowell recognizes the significance and importance of the Montopolis School. Everything around the school building has been sheathed in aluminum to help preserve the school building from further deterioration. Austin Stowell refers the property as “mummified” .


Today, Montopolis Church of Christ is currently located in its same position as an original steel framework structure sitting vacant for a number of years. (For which Montopolis Church of Christ has been.) Montopolis Negro School is one of the last of the 42 schools that educated African-American children of Austin/Travis County.

Austin Statesman reports historic properties like the Montopolis School are extremely vulnerable to demolition even thought the city has recommended initiate historic zoning to keep the Montopolis School from being demolished after they determined the building to be historic. This building qualifies for historical landmark designation. The City of Austin and real estate developers are currently debating the outcome for the Montopolis School.

The location is 500 Montopolis Drive, Austin, Texas, US 78741.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Future for Hippo’s Hill Country Hideaway in Spicewood, Texas unknown.

In 2016, Hippo’s Hill Country Hideaway in Spicewood, Texas closed down due to wage labor violations cited by the Department of Labor, low quality service, and a set of other problems. Customers have complained about the lack of service and staff having an unprofessional attitude when doing customer service with customers. Not only have customers complained. Hippo’s Hill Country Hideaway employees have complained too. Hippo’s Hill Country Hideaway failed to pay their workers federal minimum wage.

Hippo’s Hill Country Hideaway was a small successful known restaurant to many Lake Travis residents and Austin citizens along with the rest of Travis County. The rest of Travis County knew about Hippo’s Hill Country Hideaway very well.

Future of the former Hippo’s Hill Country Hideaway building remains unknown presently speaking. However parts from the building have been moved and relocated offsite to an unknown location. The green square single story unit structure at the front entrance is no longer present from street view. Party due to wage labor violations cited by the Department of Labor and a set of other problems.

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

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 1871.

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 attended the Gregg School. Even students 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.

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. 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.

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.


In 1947, citizens of Manor voted to consolidate the school districts of Gregg, Decker, Blue Bluff, Lockwood, New Sweden, Carlson, and Lund into Manor ISD. Series of school district consolidations into bigger school districts were common in Texas from the 1940s to the 1960s. The 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.

The school sat abandoned for a certain amount of unspecified years before being demolished. The land and cemetery reverted ownership to Travis County. In 1963, the Gregg School was all but abandoned.


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. The 4 room cottage built by the school board in 1872 still remained at the front.

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 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. 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. The 4 room cottage built by the school board in 1872 located at the front was demolished.


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.


As of September 2017, Jack W Gullahorn and Patricia H Gullahorn still own 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. Gregg School Cemetery is also known as the Old Rock Church Cemetery.

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

Monday, September 25, 2017

Short history about the communication system language of Morse code.

Samuel Morse is the wonderful man responsible for inventing the communication system language of Morse code. With the invention of the telegram came the invention of Morse code in 1835. Morse code is a code of dots and dashes for letters of the alphabet converted into electric signals. In the 1900s, Morse code was used as military language by the US Navy and Canadian Army to send long distance messages overseas during wartime through warfare. By 2000 Morse code is not a common language. Nobody used Morse code by 2014. It's not used in everyday conversation.

Even today, Morse code is not a common language that is not used in everyday communication. I never really understood the concept of Morse code for daily communication usage. Morse code must be a secret language. Somehow Morse code is important to this day.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Friendship of Manda School works to historically preserve Manda Community Center.

From 2016 to 2017, the Friends of Manda School have begun maintenance and upkeep of the former Manda School building as an attempt of historic perseveration. The Manda community along with several volunteers have been restoring the Manda School building to its original condition as found decades earlier.

Every single year the Friends of Manda School clean the school building and land property by mowing the grass and terminating insects from hidden corners. Ceiling tiles from top roof have been restored.

Several window panels have been replaced and window screens have been added to all windows of this school. All wooden floors have been flattened and resurfaced to be up to code for building standards and code standards by volunteers from Friends of Manda School. Central AC heating is now connected to this building.

Every single year the Friends of Manda School hold meetings at the Manda Community Center. Mainly these meetings are about future regards of Manda Community Center and funding for historic preservation toward this building which are held by the Board of Directors for Friends of Manda School. Friends of Manda School is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of this school building.

As a community center, community functions, social gatherings, programs, and various meetings are still held inside this building.

Manda School is now operated and preserved by the Friends of Manda School (Friendship of Manda School) as Manda Community Center. Friends of Manda School plans to keep the Manda School open as the Manda Community Center in Manda, Texas which is near the town of Manor, Texas.