Postcard From Cherry Mountain School

After my visit to Cherry Spring, I went sightseeing with no destination in mind, no route chosen, no real time limit, just drive around until I see a road and think, huh, I wonder what's down there? You might be surprised at some of the interesting things you run across doing this. A good friend calls these delightful unexpected encounters "road nuggets." I like road nuggets.

Blue flowers, but not Bluebonnets
Between Cherry Spring and Fredericksburg, I came across a road that was signed Cherry Mountain Loop. I wondered what's down there and lo and behold, I found a nugget! The first thing I ran across was some wild flowers, one of the few patches I had seen and the biggest field of them by far. They weren't bluebonnets, but they were pretty. A bit further along and there were more flowers of a different sort. I'm not a certified Master Gardener, but the Momma-woman is. I took a picture of these flowers, sent them to her for identification and she called them "mean weeds with pretty flowers." I really appreciated her keen insight.

Mean weeds with pretty flowers
Another 100 yards down the road and someone had 3 Texas Longhorns in a large fenced pasture. No, not the human kind like me and my fellow University of Texas graduates, the cow kind. But it was several hundred more yards down the road and around a curve where the unexpected nugget popped up - an old school complex right smack in the middle of nowhere.

I spent the next hour walking around looking and thinking about the kids and teachers who had spent some of their lives here. I sat for a while under a shade-giving tree and heard the sounds of children playing, chasing each other in games of tag and leap-frog and wondered if any of the boys had tried to put a frog down the back of a little girl's dress. The whole time I was there, I was alone with my thoughts. No car, no farm truck passed by on the little black-top road. A few birds chirped, a couple of grasshoppers jumped and some wasps flew around their nest under the building's eaves; these were the only things that disturbed the perfect silence. In the middle of a hot summer's day in rural Texas, I heard peace.

Texas Longhorn
After getting back to my room that evening, I did some research and found the history of what I stumbled onto. In 1883, ten students enrolled for classes in their new school at Cherry Mountain. The first school building was a log cabin to which a room constructed of limestone was later added. Teachers lived on the property in the loft or with close neighbors. When the school first started, drinking water was obtained from a residence located about 250 yards from the school. Later, a well was drilled on the school property. At first children drank water from a bucket using a single dipper, then students brought their own cups that were kept in their desks. A second building was constructed in 1926. Otto Thiele donated 1 1/2 acres for this new school and J.F. Oehler was the first teacher. Enrollment in the first year was 39 students, with 36 in attendance the second year.

Newest structure built in 1926
The first school started with five grades; later two more grades were added and eventually the eighth grade was added. In 1927-28, the ninth grade was also taught. Night school for eighth and ninth grades was added in 1931-33. Reinhold Weber was the teacher at the time. The school eventually consolidated with Fredericksburg and closed  in 1949.  

Today, the buildings are owned by the Cherry Mountain Community Club and are used for meetings, weddings, reunions and special parties.

Original unisex bathroom
It's been a long time since classes were held and the kids who actually went to school here have all grown old and few are left, but on certain days, if you stop and listen, really listen, the laughter of children can still be heard.

(Please click here to read the first post in this series.)