Showing posts with label politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label politics. Show all posts

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Oprah Winfrey denies any plans running for US president.

It’s official! Oprah Winfrey has come out stating she has denied any plans for running in a presidential bid. “There will be no running for office of any kind for me," Oprah Winfrey told Larry King of CNBC a few days ago. She had given a speech which somehow prompted rumors that she may consider running for US president in 2020.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

History of Gurley School in Waco, Texas not forgotten.

Gurley School (Gurley Elementary School) is one of the many forgotten schools of Waco, Texas. Gurley School was located at 3903 South 3rd Street, Waco, Texas, US 76706. The school taught grades Kindergarten through 7. Gurley School operated from 1913 to 2013.


Gurley School was originally a county school built in 1913. The school was built with a gymnasium and 8 classrooms. In the beginning, Gurley School was a 1-7 school which taught grades 1 through 7. After 7th grade is students when students attended junior high school and middle school at North Waco Junior High School and Brazos Middle School.

Students in grades 6 and 7 has classes that were held in different classrooms from all the other elementary grades. Grades 6 and 7 were/are the middle school grades by todays educational standards.


According to a news article from The Waco News-Tribune dating back to May 8, 1947, residents protested an extension ordinance because it would slice off about half the school district’s revenue, thus wreck one of the best of the county schools.

The City granted the petitioners’ request by adopting a motion to kill the ordinance, but City Secretary Otis Dellay was advised to keep the copy of the ordinance because it will be needed again in several years. City officials said the city limits will have to be extended southeast. However the extension ordinance had been delayed. Gurley School was a part of Waco Public Schools (now Waco ISD) by 1947. (The Waco News-Tribune, Page 11, May 8, 1947)


The gymnasium was converted into an auditorium in 1955. Major remodeling to cafeteria was done during the same year. The cafeteria and auditorium were converted into a dual purpose room with the auditorium now being in the cafeteria. The school then taught grades Kindergarten through 7 as Kindergarten was added to the school sometime in the 1950s.

From July 19, 1956 to July 21, 1956 in when Gurley School had received $148,000 dollars worth of alterations to the school building. The front entrance now had a modern design. The front entrance now had a masonry pillar to mark the front entrance as a decorative feature instead old three steel poles as a more modern design.

It was reported in The Waco News-Tribune on the date of June 21, 1956 that Gurley School received major remodeling, extensive repairs, and several renovations. Emergency repairs on Gurley Elementary School were made in the summer of 1956. Restrooms were repaired. Major remodeling and a proposed addition was done in 1957.

Emergency repairs were scheduled in 1953, but were postponed until 1956 and 1957 because of the inability to determine the future enrollment. Major remodeling and a proposed addition was done in 1957. The plans were presented to the administrative staff. Plans were made for beautifying the school grounds.

A committee member from the Gurley School PTA wrote to the school board on May 29 about what they considered "disgraceful" conditions at Gurley School. Mrs. Warren Tynes, president of the PTA, said “The restrooms are not sealed and the commodes are so old they get out of order easily.The commodes are not partitioned off.”
(Gurley Gets Emergency Repair Work Emergency The Waco News-Tribune, Page 1, June 21, 1956)
(Board Adopts Gurley School Building Plan The Gurley School, The Waco News-Tribune, Page 1, July 19, 1956)


South Waco Elementary School was built to replace Gurley School and the then South Waco School located at the intersection of Oakwood Avenue & 7th Street in 1993. 1995 was the year the new South Waco Elementary School opened at the location of 2104 Gurley Lane for Waco ISD.

Gurley School closed to regular education students in 1997 to become a school for special education students. Gurley School was an alternative school special education students from 1997 to 2013. The school was known as a “special needs school” to Waco residents.

Waco ISD made administrative decisions to close down Gurley School due to low enrollment and high maintenance costs in 2012 during the 2012-2013 school year. Enrollment had dropped every year at this school. So the decision to close the school saving money from high maintenance costs was made. 2013 was the year Gurley School closed. The remaining students were sent to South Waco Elementary School

In 2013 the school was all but abandoned. Gurley School sat abandoned for a short period of time from 2013 to 2016. As a security measure, a chain link fence protected the school from vandalism and graffiti. By 2016, Gurley School was demolished. All that remains is the parking lot that is now used for Gurley Park. 

The location for this school was 3903 South 3rd Street, Waco, Texas, US 76706.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

TV show billionaire Oprah Winfrey considers running for US president.

As of January 2018, former TV show host billionaire Oprah Winfrey has considered running for president against Donald Trump for the next presidential election in 2020. On the night Oprah Winfrey accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award for a lifetime achievement, she had given a speech which somehow prompted rumors that she may consider running for US president in 2020.

According to a poll from NY Post, Winfrey has the support of 76 percent (76%) of Democrats and a very low percentage of Republicans at a whopping 22 percent (22%). NY Post claims there is a “sizable crowd of undecideds”. 48% of voters would favor Winfrey which could lead her approval ratings to go up. The Democratic Party seems to favor Winfrey and may secretly back her up on political campaign contributions.

However Winfrey has come out stating she has denied any plans for running in a presidential bid. "There will be no running for office of any kind for me," Oprah Winfrey told Larry King of CNBC a few days ago.

And She shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon in the near future. Today Oprah Winfrey has an estimated net worth of $3 billion.

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

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 1872.

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, 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.

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. In 1920, Gregg School established their own school district called Gregg School District #22.

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.


Citizens of Manor voted to consolidate the school districts of Gregg, Decker, Blue Bluff, Lockwood, New Sweden, Carlson, and Lund into Manor ISD in 1947. Series of school district consolidations into bigger school districts were common in Texas from the 1940s to the 1960s. The Gregg School and 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. Gregg School District #22 consolidated into Manor ISD.

By 1950, the Gregg School had closed for good. The school sat abandoned for a certain amount of unspecified years before being demolished. The land and cemetery reverted ownership to Travis County.

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.

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 4 room cottage built by the school board in 1872 still remained at the front for a while until being demolished a year later in 1966. That is when Travis County approved funds to demolish the Gregg School building. Other buildings were simply sold off overtime.


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. Nothing was left of any structures at Gregg Cemetery or Gregg School when it was purchased by the Gullahorns in 1982. The church had been long gone by the decade of the 1980s.

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.


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.

Gregg Cemetery was finally granted status as a Historic Texas Cemetery in 2015 largely through the efforts of Richard Lamson of Dallas. The wife of Richard Lamson had relatives buried in the cemetery along with a host of other family members. Some of the Gullahorns are said to be buried there as well.

In September 2017, Jack W Gullahorn and Patricia H Gullahorn still owned 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. Through the years they worked to protect the cemetery and find descendants of those buried there who might be willing to help maintain it.


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

*Gregg School Cemetery is also known as the Old Rock Church Cemetery.
*Gregg School was also known as Gillieland Creek Academy.
*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.

St. Johns School history of Austin, Texas examined and explained by Michael Mixerr.

This news article written by Michael Mixerr will revisit the news article entitled “Michael Mixerr examines the history of a former Austin ISD elementary school site.” which had examined the history about the former St. John's Elementary School site.

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. John's Elementary School aka St. Johns School, once operated and owned by Austin ISD, was a "negro school" with a large African American student population located in the historic St. John's neighborhood of Austin, Texas from 1938 to 1995. St. John's Elementary School (St. John's School) was named after the historic long gone St. John's Orphanage and St. Johns Institute.


In 1938, St. John's School was built for a capacity of 106 students located at 700 Delmar Avenue which was the first site for St. John's School for Austin Public Schools (now Austin ISD) and Fiskville School District (School District #11). St. Johns School was built on the property of St. Johns Orphanage for students who attended St. Johns Institute, St. Johns Orphanage, Austin Public Schools, and Fiskville School District.St. Johns Elementary School was once known as St. Johns School.

St. Johns School operated in an L-plan shaped building that was one story tall. The entire building was constructed out of wood. Foundation was laid out on a beam and tier styled building plan. The foundation was made out of lumber. Classes were taught in a one room setting. St. John's School first operated as St. John's Negro School from 1938 to 1948 where grades 1 through 7 were taught.


In 1940, Fiskville White School (Fiskville School) and Fiskville Negro School burned down in a fire. The fire damaged the buildings badly beyond repair. Both schools needed to be rebuilt. Fiskville White School (Fiskville School) was rebuilt at its original location at 305 Deen Avenue and replaced the 1924 building that had been burned. Fiskville on Dungan Street near Georgian Drive burned down too.

Fiskville Negro School relocated to 700 Delmar Avenue and was rebuilt next to St. Johns School in 1941. One building had taught grades 1 through 4 and the other building taught grades 5 through 7. Both school structures were rebuilt into brick buildings. The foundation was laid in cement style.

In 1942, St. John's School was rebuilt 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. 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.

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 1951, Fiskville School District consolidated into Austin ISD. Fiskville Negro School would be operated by Austin ISD until 1951. Students attending Fiskville Negro School would now be attending St. Johns School. In 1951, the parking lot was repaved with gravel. Parking for teachers and administrators would soon be provided.

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 or Manor Colored High School. Most students past grade 9 attended L.C. Anderson High School however.

Buildings from Fiskville School (Fiskville White School) and Fiskville Negro School were relocated here in 1952 to accommodate the growing student population as a result of school district consolidation in 1951. 3 additional buildings were added on as add-ons to the St. Johns School in 1952 and again 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 by then which was 90% over capacity. The 1957-1958 school would be the last time classes would be held at Fiskville Negro School and St. Johns Negro School. Fiskville Negro School and St. Johns School closed the following year. The old St. John's School buildings at the 700 Delmar Avenue location was demolished that year.

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 constructed out of brick. St. John's Elementary School was built to replace the 2 existing all black schools (Fiskville Negro School and St. Johns Negro) 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, Montopolis School, Clayton Vocational Institute, and Littig High School.

Prior to 1958, the 906 East St. John's Avenue location site was a plot of flat vacant land. This plot of vacant land belonged to St. Johns Orphanage and St. Johns Institute prior to Austin ISD buying the land out from them.

In 1964, T. A. Brown Elementary School (Brown School) would be built and opened to replace Fiskville School and St. Johns School. T. A. Brown Elementary School had students from Fiskville School and St. Johns School attend school there after attendance zones were set and finalized.


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, Winn 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.

By 1972 St. John's School was abandoned. The school sat abandoned for more than 5 years. For a certain number of odd years, St. John's Elementary School became abandoned. The school served mainly as offices for a short period of time.


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.

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.

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.

Hudson Bend School history long forgotten revisited.

The Hudson Bend School in Bee Cave, Texas and its history have been long forgotten with time. Many people do not know of the history of this school or are aware of existence. Hudson Bend School is one of the many early schools of the Lake Travis community, Travis County, Austin, and Bee Cave of course.


Wiley Hudson and his family settled in Hudson Bend near the Colorado River (now Lake Travis) in 1830. In 1860, men from the community built a one-room schoolhouse. Lumber was donated from nearby. Albert Kendrick Stewart was responsible for building the Hudson Bend School. A man named Mr. Watson was hired to be the teacher by the school.

By 1890, Hudson Bend community boasted 2 schools called Hudson Bend School and Hurst Creek School aka Hirsh Creek School. What was once a one-room schoolhouse was later rebuilt into a two-room schoolhouse. Hudson Bend School expanded to having two rooms and gradually grew to three rooms by the end of the 19th century.

Hudson Bend School was never a district school nor did the Hudson Bend community have its own school district as several other communities around had their own school districts at that time. (Hudson Bend never had its own school district.)


In 1901, both Hudson Bend School, Lone Ives School, and Hurst Creek School were consolidated into Teck School via Teck Common School District in 1901. Hudson Bend School Hudson and Hurst Creek School consolidated into each other with Lone Ives School consolidating in 1902. Although Bend School still operated however. Hudson Bend School would continue to operate from 1901 to 1911.

Hudson Bend School stopped operating in 1911. The building was sold off to a private homeowner in the same year. Hurst Creek School was demolished. Both schools no longer exist.Hudson Bend School, Lone Ives School, and Hurst Creek School were consolidated into Teck Common School District.


In 1985, a new middle school was opened by Lake Travis ISD. Lake Travis ISD officials decided to name the new middle school Hudson Bend Middle School after the former Hudson Bend School in an effort to remember their 19th century historic roots. After all, the name “Hudson Bend Middle School” originated from “Hudson Bend School”. The first school term Hudson Bend Middle School operated on was the 1985-1986 school year.

Today the legacy and name of Hudson Bend School live on at Hudson Bend Middle School at the location of 15600 Lariat Trail, Austin, Texas, US 78734. This middle school proudly boasts a high school graduation rate of 96.5% (96 ½ percent).

History about the Highland School in Pflugerville, Texas way long forgotten revisited.

Highland School in Pflugerville, Texas is one of the many Austin/Travis County institutions that have been long forgotten which has faded away with time and history. Most local citizens have forgotten about  Highland School in Pflugerville, Texas. In fact, most have never knew about this school’s existence.

For those who didn’t remember and for those who did not know, Highland School was a public school that operated from 1873 to 1942. Highland School was located near the intersection of Vision Drive & Foothill Farms near I 35 (IH 35) out on the rural countryside.


In early 1873, Highland School was built as a one room school building. At one point Highland School was built as a log cabin before becoming a modern one room school building. 1880 was the year Highland School was rebuilt and modernized into a one room school building. Overall Highland School was a rural school that grades 1st through 10th. 11th grade was later added.

Year of 1882 is when the Highland School District aka Highland School District No. 56 (School District No. 56) was established. Highland School had its own school district (as many rural schools in Travis County/Austin did during that time. Highland School District operated as a school district from 1882 to 1936 for Pflugerville and Austin before consolidating into Pflugerville ISD in 1936.


Beginning in 1900, Highland School added 11th grade classes to their school. Highland School then taught grades 1st through 11th. 10th grade and 11th grade classes were held in a separate room. The Highland School expanded from being a one-room school with one teacher into a three-room school with three teachers in 1901.

1902 is when some children from Merrilltown School in the Merrilltown School District were transferred to Highland School. Students were transferred from Merrilltown School (also known as Merrilltown Elementary School) and Merrilltown High School as an effort to relive overcrowding in rural schools of Round Rock, Travis County, Austin, and Pflugerville.

In 1908 is when Richland School consolidated into Highland School as was later consolidated by Plfugerville ISD shortly after.  During the 1908-1909 school year is when Pflugerville ISD began having Highland School admitting students from Richland School as the Pflugerville School District consolidated Richland School in 1908. Despite Richland School being consolidated into Pflugerville ISD, Richland School continued to operate until 1938.


Highland School never went past 11th grade until the 1934-1935 school year. 1935 is when Highland School began accepting 12th grade students from schools in the Pflugerville School District and neighboring school districts. This practice continued through 1940 until the school closed for good.

Prior to 1935, Pflugerville ISD did not have buses as a method of transportation for students. Most students, including those who lived in town, walked to school. Some students walked more than 2 miles to school everyday. Highland School was no exception. By the 1935-1936 school year, Pflugerville ISD had their own transportation with buses now provided. However Pflugerville ISD only operated on bus route. Despite this improved method of transportation, everyone had their own transportation.

In 1936, Pflugerville ISD was about to lose state certification and accreditation because the school district did not have a sufficient amount of students for their tax base. Travis County Schools Superintendent Irvin W. Popham held many meetings and the solution was to consolidate the surrounding schools and its school districts into Pflugerville ISD. Consolidation saved Pflugerville ISD.

Highland School met its fate as most rural school across the United States did. The school was consolidated into a larger school district. Highland School and its school district were consolidated into Pflugerville ISD (Pflugerville Independent School District) in 1936.

Pflugerville ISD continued to let Highland School operate until 1942 due to lack of state funding as funds were going to soldiers fighting in World War II. So Highland School closed down in 1942. Its students were moved to the Pflugerville School.

The building was moved onto to the site of where Timmerman Elementary School is now located in 1943. The building was destroyed by a tornado that hit Pflugerville in 1957. Highland School is no longer extant today as the building has been demolished.


The location of Highland School was Vision Drive, Pflugerville, Texas, US 78660.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Why we need to remember Willowbrook State School.

We need to remember Willowbrook State School. Because Willowbrook State School was a breeding ground for all sorts of human rights violations. Many clients were mentally, emotionally, and physically abused during their stay there. Many were neglected and mistreated by direct care staff and head doctors. Clients were left to fend for themselves.

Willowbrook State School opened in 1947 as a state school operating as a state-supported institution for mentally disabled children in New York City, New York on Staten Island. In its first years of operation, the quality care began to slowly decline. Disease spread rampantly. Hepatitis was common amongst state school residents. In 1955, Willowbrook had a resident population of 4,000.

By 1963, the institution was overpopulated at 6,000 clients over its original capacity of 4,000. By 1965, Senator Robert F. Kennedy left touring the facility and called it a "snakepit". Residents were injected with Hepatitis A for science experiments. Luckily then news reporter Geraldo Rivera exposed Willowbrook State School in 1972 on a news broadcast called “Willowbrook : The Last Great Discgrace”. Geraldo Rivera’s expose prompted the State of New York to launch several investigations of their state schools, state hospitals, and other institutions. Carey vs. NYARC lawsuit is what led to many state institution such as Willowbrook State School to close down and receive the community based services we have today. But luckily the institution was shut down for good and put out of its misery for good by September 1987.

Travis Peak School history not forgotten revisted.

Travis Peak School is one of the many forgotten schools of Travis County in the State of Texas. The history of Travis Peak School has been long forgotten and erased away with time. Only longtime residents and citizens of Travis County know about Travis Peak School. Those who were born prior to the 1930s will know what exactly this news article is explaining in historical context.


In the hot July summer of 1880, a school called Travis Peak School was built out of native stone and brick. The roof was covered with hand-made shingles. All building materials were donated by Mr. W. L. Hensel. W. L. Hensel, Bob Turner, and Geo. West were the selected trustees as appointed by the Travis Peak School District. Mr. W. L. Hensel was the chairman of Travis Peak School and the Travis Peak School District . The Travis Peak School District was established the following year.

Travis Peak School opened in the autumn fall of 1880 as Travis Peak School No. 1 at the intersection of Singleton Bend Road & FM 1431 in 1880 on the Hensel property at the location of 7890 Singleton Bend Road, Marble Falls, Texas, US 78654.

Travis Peak School (later Travis Peak School No. 1) taught 1st grade through 10th grade. Students in both 11th grade and 12th grade went to attend Marble Falls Senior High School (now Marble Falls High School) to complete their high school education. At first Travis Peak School No. 1 only taught grades 1 through 10. 11th grade was added later.

In 1886 is when the original Travis Peak School building became Travis Peak School No. 1. Improvements were made to the building thanks to funding from local property taxes. Sports fields were installed on the Hensel property.

Herman Ludwig Hensel gave property to the Travis Peak School District in 1888 for another new school to be built. In 1889, a wood structure that was moved from Turkey Bend Road to Bee Creek and was reorganized as Travis Peak School No. 2. Travis Peak School No. 2 was located on the Turner Ranch on a “35 yard by 35 yard square piece of land”. A cemetery was located next to Travis Peak School No. 2. Travis Peak School No. 2. was located FM 1431 which is a road that connected to Leander.

Although Travis Peak School No. 1 taught grades 1 through 11, 12th grade students had to complete their senior year at Marble Falls High School or at Marble Falls Senior High School. Mostly grades 11 and 12 would attend Marble Falls High School in Marble Falls, Texas.


Later in the 1920s, what specific schools taught what grades were rearranged. For instance, Travis Peak School No. 1 taught grades 8 through 10 while Travis Peak School No. 2 taught grades 1 through 7. At one point Travis Peak School No. 1 taught grades 1 through 7.

At some point in time, Travis Peak School No. 2 moved on the property next to Travis Peak School No. 1 which was on the Hensel property. This had to have been between the years of 1930-1933  because that is when Travis Peak School No. 2 moved.


1941 is when Travis Peak School and Travis Peak School District were consolidated into Marble Falls ISD. High school students went to attend Marble Falls High School in Marble Falls, Texas. All the other students attended Marble Falls ISD schools. High school students went to attend Marble Falls High School and Marble Falls Senior High School.

After the end of the 1940-1941 school year in June 1941, both the Travis Peak School No. 1 and Travis Peak School No. 2 were consolidated into Marble Falls ISD. Travis Peak School District was abolished thereafter in 1941.


Travis Peak School No. 1 is located on the Hensel property where Hensel Youth Camp is today located at 7890 Singleton Bend Road, Marble Falls, Texas, US 78654 and 7891 Singleton Bend Road, Marble Falls, Texas, US 78654. The school building for Travis Peak School No. 1 has been restored by the Hensel family. The interior structure of Travis Peak School No. 1 has been restored by the Hensel family.

Today the Travis Peak School No. 2 building has been revitalized and renewed into the Travis Peak Church of Christ located at 7893 Singleton Bend Road, Marble Falls, Texas, US 78654. Travis Peak School sits at its original location of Singleton Bend Road & FM 1431.

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.

Travis Peak School history not forgotten.

Travis Peak School is one of the many forgotten schools of Travis County in the State of Texas. The history of Travis Peak School has been long forgotten and erased away with time. Only longtime residents and citizens of Travis County know about Travis Peak School. Those who were born prior to the 1930s will know what exactly this news article is explaining in historical context.


In the hot July summer of 1880, a school called Travis Peak School was built. Travis Peak School opened in the autumn fall of 1880 as Travis Peak School No. 1 at the intersection of Singleton Bend Road & FM 1431 in 1880 on the Hensel property.

Travis Peak School was built out of native stone and brick. The roof was covered with hand-made shingles. All building materials were donated by Mr. W. L. Hensel. W. L. Hensel, Bob Turner, and Geo. West were the selected trustees. Mr. W. L. Hensel was the chairman. The Travis Peak School District was established the following year.

At first Travis Peak School No. 1 only taught grades 1 through 10. 11th grade was added later. Although Travis Peak School No. 1 taught grades 1 through 11, 12th grade students had to complete their senior year at Marble Falls High School or at Marble Falls Senior High School. Mostly grades 11 and 12 would attend Marble Falls High School in Marble Falls, Texas. Later 7.


Herman Ludwig Hensel gave property to the Travis Peak School District in 1888 for another new school to be built. In 1889, a wood structure that was moved from Turkey Bend Road to Bee Creek and was reorganized as Travis Peak School No. 2. Travis Peak School No. 2 was located on the Turner Ranch on a “35 yard by 35 yard square piece of land”. A cemetery was located next to Travis Peak School No. 2. Travis Peak School No. 2. was located FM 1431 which is a road that connected to Leander.

At some point in time, Travis Peak School No. 2 moved on the property next to Travis Peak School No. 1 which was on the Hensel property. This had to have been between the 1930-1933 because that is when Travis Peak School No. 2 moved.

Later in the 1930s, what specific schools taught what grades were rearranged. Travis Peak School No. 1 taught grades 8 through 10 while Travis Peak School No. 2 taught grades 1 through 7.

1941 is when Travis Peak School and Travis Peak School District were consolidated into Marble Falls ISD. High school students went to attend Marble Falls High School in Marble Falls, Texas. All the other students attend Marble Falls ISD schools. Both the Travis Peak School No. 1 and Travis Peak School No. 2 after 1941.


Travis Peak School No. 1 is located on the Hensel property where Hensel Youth Camp is today located at 7890 Singleton Bend Road, Marble Falls, Texas, US 78654 and 7891 Singleton Bend Road, Marble Falls, Texas, US 78654. The school building for Travis Peak School No. 1 has been restored by the Hensel family The interior structure has been restored by the Hensel family.

Today the Travis Peak School No. 2 building has been revitalized and renewed into the Travis Peak Church of Christ located at 7893 Singleton Bend Road, Marble Falls, Texas, US 78654. Travis Peak School sits at its original location of Singleton Bend Road & FM 1431.

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.

Webberville School history revealed by Michael Mixerr.

Webberville School history of Webberville, Texas has been long forgotten and nearly erased with time. Not many people knew Webberville had schools or even had its own school district. Webberville held it school classes often in churches such as the Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church or First Baptist Church on FM 969. Webberville School operated from 1870 to 1967.

White landowner Matthew Duty donated one acre of land for a church and school for the recently freed African Americans in the year of in 1868 shortly after emancipation. Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church was established on the property the same year.  His handwritten deed indicated that “as long as there are any members of the church, the land cannot be sold.”.  Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church was  organized that year as a mission church of the St. John Regular Missionary Baptist Association.

Webberville School and Webberville School District began in 1870 in Webberville, Texas as one-teacher school consisting of grades 1 through 7 and later grades 9 through 11. Webberville School originated in the Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in 1870 where both church and school were held. Black students used one side of the church and white students used the other. The school had no indoor plumbing or lunchroom facilities.

Webberville had its own school district called Webberville School District which was known as School District No. 32. Students from the Hornsby-Dunlap School and Bastrop County often attended Webberville Schools after completing 5th grade.

1878 is when 8th grade was added to the Webberville School. In 1880, high school grades 9 through 11 were added to the Webberville School. Both church and school were held at Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church.


At one point Webberville Negro School and Webberville White School there were on the same property as Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church. Things would remain this way until the year of 1911. In 1911, the Webberville School District saw an increasing need for a new school. Specifically a new white school.

Owners of Colorado Lodge #96 offered a lease to the Webberville School District for a fair price where the Webberville White School would continue classes for students to get their education. Colorado Lodge #96 was a Masonic Lodge. Class was held on the first floor. From then on, only Webberville Negro School operated inside Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church.

By the early 1920s, Webberville School had a baseball team. The baseball even had “husband and wife teams”. Teachers even participated in the baseball team. By the 1920s, Webberville Schools had 200 to 300 students attend school each year.


The Hornsby-Dunlap School and Hornsby-Dunlap School District consolidated into the Webberville School District in 1952 with students now attending both Webberville Schools including Webberville School. Hornsby-Dunlap School continued to operate under Colorado Common School District #36.

After the consolidation of Hornsby-Dunlap School in 1952, a fundraiser was held to purchase visual-aid equipment and a movie projector. A bus was purchased to transport the children to Webberville from the Hornsby-Dunlap community in the same year. However the school still had no indoor plumbing or lunchroom facilities.

The Webberville School was integrated for a short period of time. However Webberville Schools were segregated by choice and by law. By the 1956-1957, school year, Webberville School became slowly integrated.


Sometime in the 1960s is when Webberville White School moved into the Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church which housed Webberville Negro School.  Webberville White School moved into a school building located southwest of the church. The schools were located on the same property once again. Another school building was built for Webberville Negro School housing grades 1 through 8. That other school building.

In 1967, the Webberville School and Webberville School District were consolidated into Del Valle Independent School District (Del Valle ISD). Due to racial integration and school district consolidation, the Webberville School closed down during the 1967-1968 school year.

The Webberville Negro School building was sold to the church the following year. The Webberville Negro School building was a separate structure southwest of Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church until after 1973. The original school building of Webberville Negro School was added to the church in 1973. The side-gabled wing of church building was the original school building of Webberville Negro School. The other school building was demolished prior to 1973.


To this day, the Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in Webberville, Texas remains an active congregation. The church building stands in its original location at 1314 Weber Street, Webberville, Texas, US 78653. Today Colorado Lodge #96 and Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church remain in tact.



Webberville Schools were segregated by choice and by law. This led to the creation of Webberville Negro School and Webberville White School. The Webberville Schools of Webberville School, Webberville White School and Webberville Negro School were divided into three departments: Primary (grades 1 through 4),  Intermediate (grades 5 through 8), and Secondary (grades 9 through 11).


Webberville Negro School was held in the Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church on 1314 Weber Street in Webberville, Texas from 1880 to 1967. By the end of the 1950s is when Webberville Negro School (Webberville School) ended as a two teacher school. At one point, there were two schools on the property.

The Webberville Negro School was divided into three departments: Primary with Mrs. Lydia Scales as the teacher for grades 1 through 4;, Intermediate with Mrs. Effie R. Edwards as the teacher for grades 5 through 8 for the Webberville School; and Secondary with Mr. Roosevelt H. King as the teacher for grades 9 through 11.

The Webberville Negro School became a K-8 school in the 1930s. School stopped after 8th grade. Students who wanted to continue onto high school were sent to attend Manor Colored High School in Manor, Texas, Littig High School in Littig, Texas, or simply attended high school in Austin, Texas.

During the 1934-1935 school year,  Webberville School (Webberville Negro School) had 67 students with an average daily attendance of 40 students. There was one teacher for 67 students. The cost per year for each student was $659 with an average of $16.25 per student per year. The teacher taught grades 1 through 7, and later 8th, for 146 days.

Webberville Negro School (Webberville School) closed in 1967 ending as a two teacher school. The school was given back to Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church. The Webberville Negro School building was a separate structure southwest of Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church until after 1973. The original school building of Webberville Negro School was added to the church in 1973. The side-gabled wing of church building was the original school building of Webberville Negro School.


Webberville White School was held in Colorado Lodge #96 located on 19011 FM 969 from 1911 until sometime in the 1960s. In 1923, the Webberville White School (Webberville School) grew to incorporate high school grades 10 through 12. School enrollment grew to 200 to 300 students by the 1922-1923 school year. This school had no indoor plumbing or lunchroom facilities.

Sometime in the 1960s is when Webberville White School moved into the Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church which housed Webberville Negro School. Webberville White School moved into a school building located southwest of the church. Another school building was built for Webberville Negro School housing grades 1 through 8.

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.