Friday, April 30, 2010

Benton City Historical Society Seeks Members

The Benton City Institute was built in 1875. The two-story rock schoolhouse was originally built by J.R.Sweeten and then sold to Col. John D. Morrison, who was a teacher and educator. The building was later sold to Professor B.C. (Bernard Calvin) Hendrick and his wife, Mary (Coleman), both of whom were early-day teachers. They taught in Pleasanton, Jourdanton and Old Frio Town (Pearsall), as well as Benton City.

The upper-floor of this building was the original birthplace of the Benton City Masonic Lodge #379 and Eastern Star #335. In 1909, when the "Masonic Lodge" moved to Lytle, the upper-floor's ownership was transferred to the Benton City School District #9. Both the lower and upper-floors were then used as a schoolhouse until 1934. Mrs. Mozelle (Hughes) Hindes taught the last class there.

Through our research, we have discovered early-day receipts showing students were from as far away as Oklahoma and had paid a tuition fee of $2.00 for a one-month educational session at this school.

At one time, there was an official Historical Marker there, but it has since been stolen.

The old school house is in pretty bad shape, but plans are to completely restore this building to it's original 1875 condition.

The Benton City Historical Society is now offering memberships to anyone that may wish to join us in this worthwhile restoration project: Membership applications may be picked up at the Pleasanton Public Libary by contacting Diana Gutherie at 830 569-3622, or the Jourdanton Community Library via Dorothy Manning 830 769-3087 or by contacting James Collins in Lytle at 830 709-3939.

We are offering several different levels of memberships that range from $5.00 annually for students and seniors to a $25.00 membership for businesses.

If anyone has any information or pictures of the old Benton City schoolhouse, please contact James Collins at 830 709-3939. Once the building is completely restored our plans are to place a memorial tribute and plaque honoring all the names of the boys and girls that once attended school there.

We also need help in gathering names of any of the early-day teachers who may have taught school at the Benton City Institute.

Written by James Collins, President, Benton City Historical Society.


Elaine said...

I would be happy to join the society - what would I need to do?

Barbara Morris Westbrook said...

If you'll email me with your mailing address I'll send you an application. James will be so happy. He's about to start applying for grant money for the restoration and the larger the membership the better chance he'll have.