Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 4, Number 1, January, 1994 Page: 31
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Brief History of Columbus
conveyed to Columbus Lodge No. 51, Independent Order of Odd Fellows
(see The Colorado Citizen, May 11, 1871). According to a later account,
the Odd Fellows planned to open a school in the building, but were
prevented from doing so by a recently-passed law. Instead, they leased
the property to others who operated schools within it, each of which
failed (see The Colorado Citizen, June 24, 1880).
Mr. Post seems to have been one of the individuals to whom the
Odd Fellows leased the building. Zumwalt apparently gets the informa-
tion from the brief reminiscences of Frances Ann "Fannie" Mahon. Her
reminiscences, not yet published but available at the Archives of the
Nesbitt Memorial Library in Columbus, Texas, relate that she worked as
Post's assistant, that he decided to unite his school with one operated
by Kate Oakes, and that, in response to opposition from local citizens,
he received permission to do so from a the state superintendent of public
instruction, Jacob C. DeGress. According to the same reminiscences,
Post left shortly afterward and was replaced by Philip Riley.
In May 1880, the Odd Fellows again planned to open a school
in the building. Because they were unable to afford the needed
renovation of the building, they proposed that the citizens of Columbus
raise the money, and offered to provide the building to the city rent-free
for ten years (see The Colorado Citizen, May 27, 1880 and June 2,
1880). The money was quickly raised, and over the summer, renovation
proceeded (see The Colorado Citizen, June 24, 1880, July 15, 1880,
July 29, 1880, and August 5, 1880). The new school, called Colorado
Academy, opened September 6, 1880 (see The Colorado Citizen,
September 2, 1880).
Ten years later, the lease had run out, and the building again was
in need of repair. The Odd Fellows contacted the architectural firm of
N. J. Clayton & Company of Galveston to inspect the building. Nicholas
Clayton himself apparently inspected the building, and on July 3, 1890,
he submitted to the Building Committee of the Odd Fellows a report
which detailed the problems with the building and how they could be
remedied. The Odd Fellows, however, again could not afford the repairs
and offered to sell the building to the city for $2000 (see The Colorado
Citizen, July 17, 1890). On August 30, 1890, the city purchased the
building for $1625 (see Deed Book 6, page 224, Office of the County
Clerk, Colorado County, Texas). On March 2, 1891, the city council
accepted a bid to tear down the structure and hired Clayton to design
a new one (see Minutes of the City Council of the City of Columbus
1877-1893, page 431, Archives of the Nesbitt Memorial Library,
Columbus, Texas). The contractor began tearing down the old building
on March 9, 1891. Classes, meanwhile, were held in other buildings in
town (see The Colorado Citizen, March 12, 1891). By summer, work
had begun on the new school building. It was slated for completion
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 4, Number 1, January, 1994, periodical, January 1994; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151390/m1/31/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.