History of the Eanes History Complex
In late 1985 the old Rock Schoolhouse (today the music classrooms at Eanes Elementary) was being considered for demolition to make way for another unit of brick classrooms on the lower Eanes Elementary School Campus. A group of long-time residents of the community went before the Eanes Independent School Trustees and requested that the 1937 old rock school building be saved from demolition. Their premise was that the old school building represented the history of the Eanes community and had served for almost a third of a century as the focus of the community as the first school in the log cabin and the old frame buildings had done for the sixty-five years before.
The School Board agreed with the request and designated the old rock building as a History Center. In 1986, the Eanes History Center was organized to preserve history related to the development of the area known as the Eanes School Community located in Western Travis County, Texas.
Don Rogers, EISD Superintendent, and Bill Wheless, Director of EISD Support Services for the school system in 1986, became staunch supporters and oversaw the upgrading of the Rock Schoolhouse so it could be used for the already growing collection of "pioneer artifacts" that local families were donating - tools and equipment long used on the old ranches, and old school books, photographs, and papers from former students of earlier school years. Many local residents lent support through donations of funds, time, and efforts.
The Eanes History Center became a resource for an education program as part of the curriculum of the elementary schools, manned entirely by volunteers. The program consisted of the highly-praised program "Walking Back in Time" which provided a visit to the Center by all of the district's third grade classes and the parents' story-telling program "Eanes Family Trip to Texas" in all the second grade classes. There were history contests for the middle school and high school students and presentations of local history programs for various Eanes community groups.
The Center played an important role in the erection of historical markers and plaques in the Eanes area. The research which established the history for the markers was archived along with materials that bring the history of the area up to about 1985. The genealogy of some of the early families was also accumulated. The library houses several collections of materials related to the development of the area and has received grants and donations to process and file these and other materials. Every year more than 1200 students and residents of the community visit the center and participate in the Center's programs and use its library.
Through its record of service, the Eanes History Center has received commendations and recognition from Travis County Commissioner's Court, the Texas Education Agency, the Texas Historical Commission, and several State Governors, as well as from the West Lake Hills and the Rollingwood City Council and the Eanes School District.
In 2001, volunteers from the Eanes History Center saved the original Eanes and Marshall family ranch house from demolition as its original location near Bee Cave Road, Lost Creek and Loop 360 was being developed by St. John Neumann Catholic Church. The house was dismantled and reconstructed on the south end of the Eanes Elementary campus. In the late 1800's, the home housed the Robert Eanes family and then the family of his daughter Viola and her husband H.B. Marshall. They raised their six children there. Their oldest son, John Marshall, lived in the house until his death in 1966. For years the structure was used by Robert Eanes' great-grandson, Bruce Marshall, as his art studio. Many of the Eanes History Center artifacts are housed in the Ranch House.
In 2015, the Eanes History Center was re-invigorated through a partnership with the Westbank Community Libraries. The Library curated and digitized papers, maps, photographs and audiotapes from the collection. Volunteers recovered artifacts from storage and built displays in the Yellow House Museum at 202 Camp Craft Road. Teams of Eanes ISD educators rewrote the curriculum to be consistent with current learning standards. Since 2017, (with COVID-19 exceptions) all Eanes ISD 2nd-graders have visited the history complex as part of a 2-week unit of study.
The Eanes History Center is available for visits and for the use of the Archival Library by the school and community. Visitors and prospective volunteers are always welcome.