Eanes History Center
One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is the love of history.
For in our vision of the past, we can see our future.
The first Eanes School was formed in 1872. The original schoolhouse, built by Robert Eanes was a small, one-room log cabin. The students (probably no more than twenty at the time) wrote with limestone "chalk" --and they sat on benches made from split logs. Over the next 25 years, Eanes School was housed in several different structures and in several different locations. But, beginning in 1896, a "new" frame house was built to serve as a schoolhouse and community church, Eanes School (and later, Eanes Elementary) and has been operating at the same location ever since!
The cemetery on the Eanes Elementary campus (directly across the parking lot from the lower drop-off area) has approximately thirty graves.
Today's art building at Eanes Elementary was built in 1928 as a chapel. The chapel was a community-wide project. All of the townspeople carried stone in their wagons to the site and many lent a hand in the construction. The Austin Fire Department donated a 75-pound bell to call worshipers to church on Sunday and summon children to school during the week. In 1956, EISD purchased the chapel, added windows and partitioned the space to use as classrooms. (The bell found a new home at Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church.)
The first Eanes PTA was formed in 1934. Activities included the establishment of a daily hot lunch program (cornbread and beans), the digging of a water well - and an annual bingo night!
The current music building at Eanes Elementary dates back to 1937. The "rock schoolhouse" replaced the dilapidated frame house built forty years earlier. It had two large classrooms, one with a small stage. First through Third Graders were taught in one room; Fourth through Sixth Graders in the other. The building also had indoor bathrooms with hot and cold running water. The hot water proved to be particularly useful: teachers rigged up shower stalls, with curtains made out of sheets and brought soap and towels to school so that the school children could get clean before school. (Many children had never had a hot bath!)
Eanes Rock Schoolhouse circa 1950's
The school children of the 30's and 40's loved to visit Beard's Store after school. The little store, at the corner of Bee Cave Road and the dirt lane that would become Westlake Drive, sold hamburgers, homemade tamales, beer and soda water. Its kindly owner, "Pop" Beard, doled out free candy to all of the kids when they stopped by. Along with the Eanes School and Chapel, Beard's Store was a social center of the community.
Beard's Store, ca. 1938. (Depwe Coll.)
Beard's Store with false front, ca. 1940. Crane in the background was being used to build Tom Miller Dam. (Depwe Coll.)
The large cement letters at the front of the school have been there since the 50's. They were created and placed there by schoolboard member, Fred Bulian. The Bulian family operated a prosperous dairy farm in the Eanes area for many years. (Their 175 acre property was located on what is now the Randall's shopping center, Las Lomas and the Westwood Terrace neighborhood.)
Throughout the 40's, 50's and 60's, the middle school and high school age students were bused to AISD's middle schools and to Austin High School. The first "school bus" was actually "a pick-up truck with a canvas top stretched over the back." (Westlake High School was completed in 1970: Hill Country Middle School, in 1975)
The Westbank Community Library and Eanes ISD house numerous artifacts of Eanes history. The Westbank Library has cataloged hundreds of items. Eanes ISD has a small display in the yellow house located to the west of Eanes Elementary. Currently, all EISD 3rd graders visit the Center as part of their Texas History curriculum.