Friends of Gillespie County Country Schools will host a historic open house at Grapetown School & Teacherage from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 2.
The Grapetown Community Club is hosting the Open House.
This is the first open house in Grapetown since the coronavirus pandemic and visitors will not only see the school with original furniture, photos of different classes over the years, but they will be able to learn more about the students who attended Grapetown School.
Former students were searched by members of the Grapetown Community Club and obituaries were collected. Other available information was collected from Ancestry, Find a Grave, newspapers and NewspaperArchives.com.
Eight former students are alive – ranging in age from 84 to 100. Family trees were compiled to show relationships between students. Forms to create your own family tree will be available.
Grapetown School is located at 7325 Old San Antonio Road. Grapetown’s first school, originally known as Upper South Grape Creek School, began in the home of Ferdinand Doebbler in 1859. The school was suspended during the Civil War and resumed in 1869 in a log cabin on the property just north of the current school. At this time, the parents of the Meusebach Creek school arranged to share a teacher.
Professor Hartwig taught three days at Meusebach Creek School and three days at Grapetown. This arrangement ceased in the late 1870s.
On April 1, 1882, Friedrich Baag donated land for a school building, with the stipulation that no political or religious activity would be held on the property. Completion of the one-room native limestone structure occurred in 1884, erected by farm and ranch volunteers.
Soon, since teachers came who were married and had families, a teachers’ residence became necessary. The school grounds were small. Thus, on December 21, 1886, under the guardianship of William Kallenberg, Robert Hohenberger and Theodor Hohenberger, a small plot of land adjoining the school grounds was purchased from Carl Barth and his wife Johanna for $30 in fee simple.
A two-room dwelling with a porch was erected in stone in 1887. Edward Schmidt and his family were the first residents. Later, a kitchen, a cellar and a covered passage were added. These were constructed of wood and have since been removed. Only married teachers or single teachers were allowed to live in the teachers’ residence. It was deemed inappropriate for single female teachers to live alone, so they had to stay with local families.
In 1905, the school became Grapetown Line School, District No. 14. It was located near the Kendall County line and served students from Gillespie and Kendall counties. Due to low attendance, Grapetown students attended Cain City School from 1945 to 1949.
In 1949, the school district was consolidated with the Rocky Hill School District. A total of 28 teachers taught in Grapetown schools. The Grapetown Community Club purchased the property from the Rocky Hill Consolidated School District in 1950. The school became a registered Texas Historic Landmark in 1984.
Videos on the history of German Texans in the area will be streamed.