A two-room schoolhouse near Cibolo served the rural community

What happened to the Lower Seguin School House which was donated to Lakeview College. Upon the death of the original teacher, the school off Lower Seguin was transferred to the college. Now it is missing. In addition to the school house, they purchased a wood-fired photo of the school house for which they paid $500. Where have these historical objects gone?

In 1966, NASA launched five Gemini missions into space, doctors carried out the first implantation of a partial mechanical heart, the Doors released their first album, including “Light My Fire”… and the Lower Valley School, founded in 1877, closed at the end of the school year, following a 24-13 community vote in favor of consolidation with the Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City Independent School District.

The rural school was founded in 1877 to serve families in the predominantly German settlement known as the Valley Post Office” in the area now occupied by McQueeney, Marion, Cibolo (and) Schertz…along the banks of Cibolo Creek “, according to the story published in the syllabus of a Lower Valley school reunion in 1987. As Lower Valley, the school community was “five miles southwest of Marion in western Guadalupe County as noted in his Handbook of Texas entry.

Populated between 1850 and 1870, the area had the cotton gin, general store and church needed to make it a community, along with a livery stable, blacksmith, sawmill, gristmill and stagecoach stop . The Valley Post Office Settlement suffered a setback when it was bypassed by the Galveston, Harrisburg, and San Antonio Railroad, but it was still a “prosperous and prosperous community because of the different types of agriculture, livestock, businesses and shopping malls,” explains the reunion program. Because mail had to be delivered by rail, the post office in Valley was removed and the community took the name Lower Valley.

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Its first public school was established in 1877 as Lower Valley School No. 37, its number under the community school system. In 1901, with the change to the district school system, it became Lower Valley School No. 33, as it was now known.

The school’s first teacher was August Schmitz, a German immigrant who remained until 1891, eventually earning a maximum salary of $234.20 per school term. Most known teachers now had German-sounding names, as noted in the meeting program. Many of them were former students who returned to teach. Husband and wife teams or other family members (sisters, mothers and daughters) often appear, as the school grows and one teacher is no longer enough.

The last of these teaching duos was a couple – Maxine and Lutrell Watts – who arrived in 1941. They came from McMahan, near Lockhart, just 55 miles from Lower Valley, but there was culture shock. “The first two or three months were difficult to manage,” Lutrell Watts said in a statement collected by Northeast Lakeview College, available online at the Texas History Portal. “We knew very few people and neither spoke nor understood the German language. Finally, he says, “we were accepted into the Lower Valley community.” Their one-year teaching contract spanned 25 years at the two-room schoolhouse, where Maxine Watts taught grades one through five in one room, and her husband taught grades six through eight in the other. The couple lived in the “teachers’ house”, a separate residence for teachers on the school grounds.

Most of the small, rural schools had already been consolidated with larger districts, beginning in the late 1940s. The school “and a few scattered houses” were all that remained of the once-thriving community in 1946, the Handbook says. of Texas. Thus, in 1966, when the Lower Valley School was consolidated with the ISD of Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City, it can be assumed that enrollment was seriously declining.

The disused school was sold to the Watts, who both got jobs at Schertz Elementary School, where they remained until their retirement in 1980. With a combined 87 years teaching in the area , they received an unexpected honor. Called to school board meeting — “What did we do? Lutrell Watts recalled wondering in his statement – ​​they were told a new primary school would be named after them. Maxine and Lutrell Watts Elementary School opened in 1999 in Cibolo.

By the mid-1980s, says the Handbook, “there was no evidence of the (Lower Valley) community on county road maps”. The Watts remained in the former teachers’ residence and retained the former school property until the end of their lives – 2003 for Lutrell and 2007 for Maxine. The old schoolhouse was used for storage, he said in the 1987 reunion program: “It’s exactly as we left it in 1966, except it’s full of odds and ends. brac. Anything we haven’t thrown away or used is dropped off at school… You might be disappointed when you see the inside… After 21 years of little maintenance inside everything will look bad, ( but) the exterior looks good.

One of their heirs, alumnus Larry Baumann, arranged to donate the school to Northeast Lakeview College in Universal City, a then-new addition to the Alamo College District. An Express-News article, August 11, 2007, states that Baumann’s intention was for the 130-year-old building to be “renovated and transformed into a living history museum and excursion destination for school children” .

It was moved in February 2008 to the college campus. For several years, efforts were made by the colleges and the community to raise funds for a restoration that would prepare the old school to return to community service.

However, the costs of the project proved to be prohibitive.

At a December 12, 2017 meeting of the Alamo College District Board of Trustees, the decision to “transfer the contents of the original Lower Valley School building to Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD” was been approved. Meeting notes provided by a college spokesperson note that “all donors who have previously provided monetary support…will be contacted and given the option of receiving the unused portion…or redesignating unused funds as scholarships for service area (college) students. The legacy of the Lower Valley School will continue in the communities where the school began and where former students and their families now live.

The building is no longer on campus, but there is a street named Lower Valley Road, “named after the first public school to serve the Lower Valley community (which) consolidated with the current ISD of Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City, one of the ISDs that (Northeast Lakeview) serves, according to the Alamo Colleges website, www.alamo.edu. There is also a “tribute space” in the college library to commemorate the school and display “some unique artifacts” from the old school.

The school district “has been identified as a good candidate to receive school content” due to its historical connection to the Lower Valley community. The woodburned image was “part of the content being moved to SCUCID”.

Former students and others with school memories and photographs to share can contact this column.

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