Central Texas

Kempner

Kempner School

Kempner is at the junction of U.S. Highway 190 and Ranch Road 2313, on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway and the Lampasas River in southeastern Lampasas County. It moved a number of times during its early years of development. It was first settled in the early 1850s, when a number of families named Pickett moved to the area, which became known as Pickett Valley. The majority of the settlers were land and slave owners of prominence until the Civil War. The community was also briefly known as Brummersville during 1865. The Pickett cemetery is still located slightly west of Kempner. Around 1854 Dan W. Taylor moved to the area with a large herd of cattle and built a store for his men on Taylor Creek, two miles from the present townsite. He was an influential man in the community and was often consulted to settle local legal differences. A post office named Taylor’s Creek was established in his store in 1873. After Taylor’s death the community was named after a local landowner named Slaughter. The Taylor’s Creek post office was discontinued in 1878, and that same year a post office named Slaughtersville was established.

In 1882 the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway was built through the area, two miles from the Taylor store, and the community’s center finally became fixed when the post office was moved to a frame building near the railroad tracks and renamed Kempner after Harris Kempner, a Galveston merchant and director of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe. The first postmaster at the new location was Johnnie Chance. The coming of the railroad caused the population to double. The first rock store in town was erected by Jo Brown. By 1884 Kempner had two steam gristmills and cotton gins, a church, a district school, and telegraph service, and by 1896 a hotel had been built. Telephone service was available by 1914. In 1918 a Mr. Rancier organized a bank in Kempner; this establishment later failed, and the stockholders lost their accounts.

The population of Kempner remained at an estimated 103 from 1904 to 1926. It rose briefly to 300 in 1927 but began to drop again in the 1930s, reaching 125 in 1933 and remaining at that level for a number of years. It began to rise again in the mid-1960s until it reached 420 in 1974, where it remained through 1990. Nine businesses were reported in 1986. By 2000 the population was 1,004 with fifty-four businesses. Annual festivals include the All-West Roundup and the Oktoberfest.

REFERENCE:  Alice J. Rhoades, “KEMPNER, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hnk08), accessed January 22, 2016. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Salem

Salem School

Salem must have been a popular name in the late 1800s, as there are seventeen of them listed in the Handbook of Texas.  This Salem was a farming community in southern Bastrop County south of Rosanky and two miles from Jeddo.  Originally known as St. Philips Colony, Salem was populated by blacks freed during Reconstruction.  Since it was paired with the white community of Jeddo, it’s uncertain how many people lived in Salem.  St. Philip’s Church (denomination unknown) and a number of houses existed when the school was built.

The Salem School was two-room schoolhouse and had one teacher for the twenty-nine black students when it opened in the early 1880s.  In 1907, the Salem School, with over fifty students was merged with the Jeddo school district and later with the Smithville ISD.  All that remains today are the ruins of the school and the old cemetery.

REFERENCES:  Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl, “SALEM, TX (BASTROP COUNTY),” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hrsvy), accessed April 18, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Paula Mitchell Marks, “JEDDO, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hnj06), accessed April 18, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Santa Fe Railroad Hospital

Santa Fe Railroad Hospital

In previous posts, I have generally started the discussion at the town or regional level before discussing particular buildings.  However, for this post, I am focusing entirely on a building rather than the city where it is located.  The Santa Fe Railroad Hospital was unique because it was one of very few hospitals built by Texas railroads specifically for their employee’s benefit.  Railroad work was dangerous and injuries frequent.  Medical care for railroad workers, scattered across the state, was scarce and rudimentary.  The Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway decided it would be better for their employees and the railroad’s operations if injured workers could be brought to a then-state-of-the-art hospital for treatment of their injuries.

The Santa Fe Hospital opened in June 1891 on South Twenty-Fifth Street in Temple.  The hospital was operated by the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Hospital Association, formed by Galveston businessmen who owned the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway.  The Santa Fe was among the first railroads to adopt a system-wide prepaid hospitalization and pension plan.  Before 1891 railway workers were treated at St. Mary’s Hospital in Galveston, but rail officials established a hospital in Temple because of its central location in the railway system.  In 1889 three Temple city officials bought ten acres and in March 1891 deeded it to the Hospital Association with the stipulation that the land would revert to the trio if it was not used for hospital purposes.

The Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, founders of St. Mary’s Infirmary, worked as nurses, druggists, housekeepers and administrators of the Temple hospital for fifty-eight years, until February 1949.  The Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway appointed a chief surgeon who was responsible for medical and surgical care at the Temple facility as well as for a system of line physicians consisting of one physician for every fifteen to twenty miles of the railroad.  The hospital’s first frame building housed twenty beds and the sisters’ quarters. A $90,000 four-story brick hospital, completed in December 1908, was designed by Sanguinet and Staats, Fort Worth architects, who also designed the 1915 north wing.  The south wing, designed by Wyatt C. Hedrick of Fort Worth, opened in 1925.  

The architectural firm Sanguinet and Staats was founded in 1903 by Marshall R. Sanguinet and Carl G. Staats.  Sanguinet, who was twelve years older than Staats, moved to Fort Worth in 1883 and practiced architecture there with a variety of partners until the turn of the century.  Staats, a native New Yorker, moved to Texas in 1891 and worked for noted San Antonio architect James Riely Gordon until 1898, when he was hired by Sanguinet as a draftsman.  Sanguinet and Staats headquartered in Fort Worth and rapidly developed one of the state’s largest architectural practices; they produced buildings of all types from factories and large hotels to churches and schools.  The firm is best known, however, for its contributions to the design of steel-framed skyscrapers. 

The hospital’s first chief surgeon was C. H. Wilkinson, M.D., of Galveston, first curator of Galveston Medical College.  When he refused to move to Temple, railway officials hired as chief surgeon Arthur Carroll Scott of Gainesville, who began on October 1, 1892.  Scott hired several doctors as house physicians who lived at the hospital, including Raleigh R. White, Jr., in 1895.  When they formed a private medical partnership in December 1897, both were named chief surgeons by the Railway Association, equally splitting their salary.  Their partnership evolved into Scott and White Memorial Hospital.  Thus, only Scott and White physicians were granted privileges at the Santa Fe Hospital. Another noted physician at the Santa Fe Hospital was Claudia Potter, considered the first full-time anesthesiologist in Texas and the first woman anesthesiologist in the United States.  A board consisting of Santa Fe officials oversaw the hospital until 1947, when the board was revamped to include representatives from labor unions.  The Santa Fe Hospital remained exclusively a railroad hospital until July 1966, when it was reorganized as Santa Fe Memorial Hospital, open to the community and granting privileges to physicians outside of Scott and White.  The hospital continued to treat railroad employees. The building also underwent extensive renovation between 1969 and 1972.  On July 5, 1983, Santa Fe Memorial Hospital and Scott and White Memorial Hospital merged, and the facility was renamed Scott and White Santa Fe Center.  The Santa Fe Center provides general and specialized medical care.  It also houses a medical research center operated jointly by Scott and White and the Texas A&M University Health Science Center College of Medicine.

REFERENCES:  Patricia K. Benoit, “SCOTT AND WHITE SANTA FE CENTER,” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/sbs15), accessed March 02, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.  Patricia K. Benoit, Men of Steel, Women of Spirit: History of the Santa Fe Hospital, 1891–1991 (Temple, Texas: Scott and White Memorial Hospital and Scott, Sherwood and Brindley Foundation, 1991). Sister Mary Loyola Hegarty, C.C.V.I, Serving with Gladness: The Origin and History of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, Houston, Texas (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1967). Dayton Kelley, With Scalpel and Scope: A History of Scott and White (Waco: Texian Press, 1970).  Christopher Long, “SANGUINET AND STAATS,” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/cms01), accessed March 02, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Crabapple

Crabapple School

The Crabapple School is one of twelve old school buildings saved by The Friends of Gillespie County Country Schools, Inc.  All of them are picturesque, quaint and remotely located – the communities they once served, long gone.  Many of the buildings were built in the familiar German-Texan vernacular of the Fredericksburg area.

German immigrants who came to Fredericksburg in the 1840 and later, settled in the Crabapple area.  Many parents were eager to donate land so a school could be built near their homes.  The two families who were extremely anxious to give the land for a school were Crockett Riley and Mathias Schmidt.  It was decided to have a foot race to see who would have the privilege of donating the land.  Mathias Schmidt, a farmer, won the race.  The school was then built on the land he gave for this purpose.  The families donated their labor to erect a school building of native limestone, which opened in 1878 as Crabapple School #10.

This first building was a two-story rock house consisting of two rooms.  One room was a used as a classroom, with the other used as a teacherage or living quarters for the teacher.  The upstairs, used for storage, had an outside stairway.  About 10 years later, another room was added.  Between 1887 and 1910, this building also served as a post office.  In 1882, the second school building was built of limestone at a cost of $600.  It not only served as the school, but also as the Lutheran church, until the congregation built their own church nearby in 1897. There was only one teacher to teach all grades.

The highest enrollment was at the turn of the century with about 40 students.  Teachers’ salaries ranged from $80 per month in the 1920’s to $250 in the early 1950’s.  In all, 28 teachers taught at the Crabapple school.  Crabapple School was consolidated with Fredericksburg ISD in May 1957, when only nine students remained.

Crabapple is located in Gillespie County approximately 10.5 miles north of Fredericksburg.  

REFERENCE:  Martin Donell Kohout, “CRABAPPLE, TX,” Handbook of Texas online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hvcae), accessed January 31, 2014. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.  The Friends of Gillespie County Country Schools.

Clearview

 

Clearview Schoolhouse

I really like this little two-room school house.  The front facade is very different than the typical rural schoolhouse.  It looks to me that the person that built it had a good sense of design and proportion.  There are even nice wood details around the windows.  The building sits forlornly in a fallow field about one hundred yards off Highway 304 about 5 miles south of Bastrop.  I’ve visited with the archivist at the Bastrop County Historical Society Museum about Clearview.   She was able to tell me that she has a copy of a Teacher’s Daily Register dated 1952 and undated documents referencing Mable Echols as teacher and B. O. Washington as assistant.