Take a tour of five one-room school houses in Gillespie County the first weekend in April on the Gillespie County Country Schools tour. Some 40 school districts existed in Gillespie County in the 19th century — 16 of them are still being maintained and exhibited by the Friends of Gillespie County Country Schools. Five of these schools will be open to the public during the annual historic schools tour April 6-7.
During the open houses on April 6, former students and community members will be on hand to talk about life in country schools during the late 1800s and early to mid 1990s. Refreshments will be served.
On Sunday April 7, a barbecue pork and chicken dinner will be available from 10:30 a.m. until sold out. Get your plates to-go or dine-in at the American Legion Hall, Highway 87 South. Those sticking around to eat can enjoy music by the Polkamatics.
The following five schools will be open for this year’s tour April 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All Schools are listed in the National Register of Historic Places; some have Texas Historical Markers.
• Cherry Mountain School, 2866 Cherry Mountain Loop. This log cabin school was built in 1883 and was also home to a community choir. A picture of the choir, which met at the school for more than 65 years, hangs in the building.
• Cherry Spring School, 5772 Ranch Road 2323 in northwest Gillespie County. Serving the community until consolidation in 1962, this school was also the meeting home for 4-H, Home Demonstration, Wildlife Game Club and the Community Club. Students were responsible for janitorial duties at the school including supplying wood for the wood stoves.
• Crabapple School, 14671 Lower Crabapple Road. This school also served as a teacherage until the mid 1940s. Its pavilion was added in 1882 and included a stage for one-act plays and bands. Modern bathrooms replaced the outdoor toilets in the early 1950s. Last year a wildlife watering station was added during the drought, attracting wildlife, bees and butterflies.
• Pecan Creek School, 3410 Pecan Creek Road. One of 12 schools saved from being sold in 2001, this building features the original student and teacher desks. Community Club members have kept the building and grounds in excellent repair. In 1988, former students held a school reunion with 83 former students and six former teachers present.
• Wrede School, 3828 South State Highway 16. The first classes here were held in the fall of 1896. Bear Creek and Pedernales schools consolidated with Wrede in the late 1940s. A member of the Wrede Community Club researched the history of the school and former students, unearthing pictures and family trees. All of this information has been put on a DVD and will be shown throughout the day a the April 6 open house.
For more information call 830-997-5116 or visit historicschools.org.
Driving maps for the “Trail of the Schools” are available at the Fredericksburg Visitor Center 302 E Austin.