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Brazos County Unveils New Historical Marker

Brazos County is getting a new historical marker on Monday, March 20th.

Leonard School was located on the corner of Leonard Road and Jones Road. Henry Mayo, Chair of the Brazos County Historical Commission, said it was one of many rural schools in the county, and will serve as a reminder of all of them.

“You get a glimpse of forgotten history of the rural school system of the Brazos Valley,” said Mayo.

There is no longer a structure where the Leonard School stood, but the historical marker will read:

IN THE LATE 1890s, SAM LUTHER DONATED THE LAND AT THIS SITE FOR A SCHOOL. AT THE TIME, MOST RESIDENTS OF THE LEONARD COMMUNITY WERE POLISH, GERMAN AND CZECH IMMIGRANTS WHO WERE DRAWN TO THE AREA BY THE BRAZOS RIVER’S RICH SOIL. THE LEONARD SCHOOL WENT THROUGH THE EIGHTH GRADE AND EMPHASIZED VOCATIONAL AGRICULTURAL TRAINING. STUDENTS AT THE LEONARD SCHOOL GOT OUT FROM APRIL TO OCTOBER TO HELP THEIR PARENTS HARVEST COTTON. THE SCHOOL’S TWO CLASSROOMS WERE SEPARATED BY A DIVIDER THAT COULD BE MOVED TO CONVERT THE BUILDING INTO A PUBLIC MEETING PLACE. AFTER THE STUDENTS WENT HOME, THE LEONARD SCHOOL HOSTED DANCES, WEDDINGS, PAGEANTS, SUNDAY SCHOOLS AND LOCAL ELECTIONS. AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDENTS WENT TO A SEPARATE SCHOOL ON SILVER HILL ROAD, TWO MILES AWAY.

OVER TIME, LEONARD’S SMALL RURAL COMMUNITY BEGAN TO CHANGE. THE SCHOOL DID NOT HAVE RUNNING WATER OR ELECTRICITY UNTIL THE RURAL ELECTRIFICATION ADMINISTRATION REACHED THE AREA IN THE 1930s. STARTING IN 1932, BRAZOS COUNTY SUPERINTENDENT MRS. W.E. NEELEY RAN A “BOOKWAGON” THAT DELIVERED BOOKS TO LEONARD SCHOOL STUDENTS DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS. IN THE 1940s, BUSES BEGAN TAKING GRADUATES OF THE LEONARD SCHOOL TO HIGH SCHOOL IN BRYAN. THE AGE OF SMALL RURAL SCHOOLS WAS ENDING, AS THE COUNTY DECIDED IT WAS MORE COST EFFECTIVE TO BUS ALL OF ITS STUDENTS TO SCHOOL IN BRYAN OR COLLEGE STATION. IN 1978, THE OFFICE OF COUNTY SUPERINTENDENT WAS ABOLISHED. THE HUMBLE TWO-ROOM LEONARD SCHOOLHOUSE, WHICH HAD SERVED ITS STUDENTS AND ITS COMMUNITY FOR FIFTY YEARS, WAS CLOSED IN 1946 AND THE BUILDING WAS MOVED.

Mayo said Monday’s ceremony begins at 10 a.m.

Click here to find more information on Brazos County’s historical markers.

Click below to hear Henry Mayo visiting with WTAW’s Chelsea Reber.

HenryMayo031617

Short URL: http://wtaw.com/?p=114030

Posted by on Mar 17 2017. Filed under Featured Stories, News.

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