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Berclair School, Bee County, Texas. In an open field in front of the Berclair Mansion sits an abandoned schoolhouse, filled with faded and broken memories of decades past.
If there is one thing I have learned about Texas, it’s that Texas is filled with abandoned schoolhouses. I’ve run across all sorts of schools all over south Texas – from one-room shanties in the hills of Payton’s Colony or the desert plains of Comstock; to boarded up structures in Gillett and Quihi; to huge half-destroyed high schools in Asherton and Catarina. So it was no surprise to run across an abandoned school in Berclair.
The town of Berclair sprang up in the 1890′s when the railroad was built across the Coastal Bend. While it did serve the local ranchers, Berclair never really exploded, topping out at just 350 residents at its largest. Then the Great Depression hit, and like many small Texas towns, it never really recovered – dropping down to sixty to seventy residents until recently.
I have no idea of exactly when this little schoolhouse closed its doors, but it looks like it must have been at least a few decades ago. Inside, I did find a reunion sign for the Class of 1948. Now the building is filled with some junk scattered around the floor, plus it looks like has been used for storage for various community organizations at one time or another.
The front door opens up into a single central hallway that leads to another door at the rear. The entire left side of the building is one large room, which could be divided into two classrooms, and a raised section towards the rear that can serve as a stage. Off to the right, two smaller rooms filled with trash. A stairway heads to the rafters and attic, doubling as a storage area. In back, separated from the main building are the restrooms.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any information at all about this school online. Although the schoolhouse was open to the elements with trash and some graffiti, it appears it has been cleaned up in the past (for class reunions, for example), and will no doubt be fixed up again in the future. Pictures taken March 7, 2009.
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