‘Going To School’ In Texas

Cherry Mountain School. Driving tour of 12 historic country schoolhouses in Gillespie County, Texas

After one day in Fredericksburg, Kathy & I decided we had seen enough cowboy art and turquoise jewelry, the wineries were busy and charged more for tastings than for a bottle of wine, so we stopped by the visitor center to see what else we might do. The woman there mentioned a driving tour of one room school houses in Gillespie County, the area surrounding Fredericksburg.

Pecan Creek School House
Cherry Spring Schoolhouse
Outhouse at Cherry Spring Schoolhouse
St. John Lutheran Church, next to Crabapple School
Crabapple School

Better than I can tell it, here is a bit of history about the schools from The Friends of Gillespie County Country Schools:

As many as 44 rural schools were in operation around Fredericksburg, the county seat of Gillespie County, in the early 20th century. German immigrants had poured into the area that became known as the Texas Hill Country in the mid to late 1800’s, starting with the settlement of New Braunfels in 1845 and Fredericksburg in 1846. As families moved onto land more distant from town, the earliest rural educational efforts normally involved hiring a teacher to educate the children in private

Eventually land was donated by a family in the area and a community school was built taking names descriptive of nearby natural landmarks such as Cave Creek, Crabapple, Pecan Creek or Lower South Grape Creek. The German heritage of Gillespie County is evident in other names like Luckenbach, Meusebach, Rheingold and Nebgen.

The Gilmer-Aikin Law of 1949 resulted in the consolidation of most rural schools in Texas, bringing a close to this era of public education. Remarkably, the main buildings at only two of the 44 rural schools in Gillespie County were demolished over the decades. In the 1950’s, community clubs were organized and maintained some of the rural school properties in Gillespie County using their own funds, even though they were owned by the Fredericksburg Independent School District (FISD).

Short histories of the schools can be obtained at the Visitor Information Center in Fredericksburg, located at 302 East Austin Street, at each school and on our website: www.historicschools.org

Rheingold School
Rheingold School
‘Modern Facilities’ at Rheingold School
‘Not So Modern Facilities’ at Rheingold School
Willow City Schoolhouse

The tour resulted in a very nice day, and quite a collection of interesting, albeit very documentary, photographs. It’s ultimately the way we prefer to spend our time, rather than trudging up and down the main street in a town, wandering through shops with no intention or interest in buying. When there is a bakery or ice cream shop, however…. 😉

Nebgen School
Cave Creek School
Cave Creek School

We’re off to Ohio in a few days in hopes of catching the eclipse. I do plan to take some pictures, but not of the eclipse. I just want to watch it myself and let those with the patience and proper equipment make photos I can see later. I do hope to get lots of pictures of people wearing those awesome glasses, though! 🙂

4 thoughts on “‘Going To School’ In Texas”

  1. Interesting images and read, Tom. I’m like you and would prefer the sightseeing stuff than walking the streets. The eclipse is not that interesting to me but I would enjoy of few photos of people wearing the glasses.

    1. We arrived in the Cleveland area today and I’m amazed at the amount of hype surrounding the eclipse. People are selling T-shirts and “Official” eclipse glasses on street corners, and our motel even has people checking to make sure people parking in the lot actually belong there. Two days early!

      I’ve never witnessed a total eclipse, so I’m interested in it from a scientific/space geek standpoint, but all the hysteria is a little off-putting.

      I’ll see what I can do about getting you a photo of people in their glasses! 😉

  2. Hey Tom, happy to see this blog is still being updated so frequently. These shots are simple, yet very pleasing to look at. I love the colors and older architecture. I’ve been trying to pick up the my Fuji more often, and your photos and travels are always a nice inspiration. Best wishes.

    1. Hey, Carlin. Good to know you are still coming around occasionally! I know you had the Fuji X100 and I have been very tempted to spring for the latest one.

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