Friday, October 8, 2010

Benton City School House

All of this post (except for the photos) is brought to you by the websites Texas Escapes(One of my favorite sites) and Texas State Historical Association .

First let me introduce you to the history of Benton City.
Benton City, Tx
Benton was settled in 1876 and was granted a post office that same year. It has three possible namesakes. The first was Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton, the second Samuel L. Benton who served at San Jacinto or possibly one of Samuel Benton’s sons. Since the sons inherited land in this area, it was likely one of them.

By 1878 the town had a Masonic lodge, the Benton City institute and its own newspaper. By 1879 residents of Benton attempted to form a separate county, but Medina and Bexar counties weren’t willing to contribute any of their land for the experiment.

The town suffered a blow to its collective ego when it was bypassed by the railroad (the International-Great Northern) in 1881.

By the mid 1880s the population was a mere 50 residents. In 1904 it reported just over 300 residents, but ten years later it was down to 200.

In 1904 the Benton school employed two teachers to instruct 75 students. By 1914 there were 104 students, but the high school merged with the Lytle district in 1919.

The population returned to just 50 residents by the mid 1920s. The grammar school closed in the mid 1930s and today the ruins of the Masonic lodge and the city cemetery are all that are left from Benton’s “golden age.”

The School:
Benton City Institute, originally known as Benton City Normal Institute, was founded in 1876 and located on the ground floor of the Masonic building in Benton. The school, first run by Col. John D. Morrison, offered accounting, law, music, and surveying, plus basic academic subjects. It was funded partially by the state, though it was a private institution. The remainder of its funding came from tuition. By 1878 the institute was coeducational and owned and run by Professor and Mrs. Bernard C. Hendrix, formerly of Kentucky. When the Masons moved to Lytle in 1909, the institute expanded to utilize the entire building. The school was renamed Benton School in 1889 and Old Rock School in 1910. The institution ceased to exist when the Benton schools were consolidated with those of Lytle in 1919. A state historical marker was erected at the ruins of the building in 1971.

Hi, it's me. I don't know about you but to me that was interesting! I am fasinated by town history and especially ghost town history.

Well let me clarify a mistake in the last paragraph. There is no marker at the school, maybe there was at one time but not anymore.

Now lets get to the photos. I saw in the Lyle visitors book, the historical school and begged hubby to take me. He was such a good sport about it. I had such a blast, it was truly amazing.



Carol said... [Reply to comment]

Fascinating! Love your photos!

Rose said... [Reply to comment]

i also find this type of history fascinating. it's sad that a town becomes dead. the photos were good . thanks for your comment on my post re crying. i was like yourself. i would go off and cry. i didn't want my parents to worry about me. i learned that it's ok for me to cry. cry when happy and sad. i don't want to be that lonely child. as a social worker i encourage to release emotions, it's healthy. rose

purplume said... [Reply to comment]

What stunning shots.

shortmama said... [Reply to comment]

Love the pics of the much history!

Jimmy said... [Reply to comment]

Excellent pictures and the history of the City is very interesting, Loved the pictures

SuziCate said... [Reply to comment]

Very interesting. I love history.