Heritage, Volume 04, Number 02, Fall 1986

The Hill Country 20th century wooden
one and two room schools were painted
white, perhaps to minimize the hot Texas
sun. The "Little Red Schoolhouses"
found in other parts of the U.S. are not
found in Central Texas.
Regardless of architectural style, the
establishment and operation of one and
two room country schools in the Texas
Hills was always a cooperative, community
effort. If the trustees did not properly
resolve community school matters, then
they could be democratically replaced.
Some school communities found unique
yet fair ways to appease the populace in
local disputes. In 1877, the people of
lower Crabapple and upper Crabapple in
Gillespie County differed on the placement
of their school. To solve this problem
the neighbors decided that each
locale should send its best runner to represent
them in a race. Mr. Riley represented
the lower district; Mr. Wellgehausen, the
upper. Mr. Wellgehausen won the race
and the right to decide the location of the
school.

Available at your favorite bookstore or you may order
from EAKIN PRESS, P.O. Box 23066, Austin, Texas 78735.
Phone orders accepted (Visa or MasterCard)
512 / 288-1771.
Publication date: September 1

The one room schools were often the
only public building or the most central
building standing in remote areas. Consequently,
the community depended upon
these structures for various functions,
and from their conception rural schools
played a pivotal role in the life of country
communities.
As consolidation took hold of the
country schools, some of the buildings reverted
to the original landowners who
had deeded the property. In other cases,
schools were dismantled or sold. But in
many more instances, Central Texas Hill
Country communities did not abandon
their one room schools. They continued
and are continuing today to gather, meet,
socialize and vote in these tiny structures
that symbolize their community.
In 1854 the German immigrants to
Central Texas were in the forefront of the
free public school movement. Their early
establishment of common schools and
their commitment to a free educational
system set a precedent for the state. It is

not surprising, therefore, that in 1986 a
multitude of country schools remain in
this geographic area. What is significant
is the continued use, support, and care
that the local population gives to their
former school buildings.
Alice Fisher is a free lance writer and
a historian; James D. Fisher is the Director
of the Elisabet Ney Museum.
Authors' Note:
We are grateful to the late Ella Gold and
all the former students, teachers, present day
librarians, historical commission members,
and friends in Blanco, Gillespie, Kendall,
Kerr, Mason and Travis counties who have
helped us discover the rich educational heritage
and the community spirit existing in
Central Texas.

A Book to Celebrate

A Book to Celebrate
The Sesquicentennial
Fighting Men
of Texas
By Mary Lou Burkett
Like the "Tales of King Arthur," this epic poem
in blank verse celebrates the "fighting men of
Texas" from the days of the Texas revolution to
the present. Eighteen full-page illustrations by
Joan Hilbig portray such fighting men as
Travis, Bowie and Houston. Mrs. Burkett researched
letters, journals and primary history
to assure fidelity to historic events. The author,
who has written a musical about Spindletop,
makes her home in Baytown.
6 x 9, illustrated,
ISBN 0-89015-571-2, hardback ............... $9.95

41

Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 04, Number 02, Fall 1986. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45442/. Accessed October 25, 2014.