|The Wooster Common
School No. 38
Vintage photo courtesy Wooster Family Files
School No. 38
by Trevia Wooster
The Wooster Common School No. 38 is believed to be the oldest existing
one-room frame schoolhouse indigenous to Harris county. Planned
by Quincy A. Wooster, it was built in 1894 on land donated by Junius
Both Mr. Wooster and Mr. Brown had been prominent citizens from
Monona County, Iowa and active with community service and education
before coming to Texas. Both had children
of school age being taught at home by Mr. Brown’s daughter, Bertha.
As the community grew the need for a schoolhouse was evident. The
principal builders of the new school were family members Bert Brown,
Ernest Crow, Steve Steinman, W. A. “Will” Shreckengaust, and John
The little school, though not fancy, was a source of pride for the
small community. Cypress was chosen for the frame and exterior siding,
and long-leaf heart pine for the interior. When finished the school
boasted a real slate blackboard and new desks that had been purchased
in Houston and delivered
by steamboat to the community that was situated on Scott’s Bay.
On April 9,
1895 Commissioners Court instructed School District 17 (White Settlement,
Crosby post office) to be divided; Common School District No. 38
to be established, and included the town of Lynchburg between Wooster
and the San Jacinto River. The Commissioners Court ordered, on June
13, 1895, an election for “Saturday the 25th day of June at the
school house in said district no. thirty-eight. …” Other elections
were ordered to elect trustees and to levy taxes.
On July 29, 1895 Harris County Department of Education census taker
Mr. S.T. Sikes stated "District No. 38. Wooster. This district is
in the extreme end of the County, located on a beautiful bay. They
have a good frame building and the patrons have voted a local tax
for supplementing the State funds, and the school is fairly well
equipped with good furniture and apparatus."
education the children in grades one through seven, in the early
years the little Wooster school served as a meetinghouse for the
community, various social activities, a Sunday School, and a place
District No. 38 operated until it became part of the Goose Creek
Independent School District in 1919. When the new David G. Burnet
Elementary School opened in 1930 the Wooster school children from
first through sixth grades attended.
The little school house was closed but reopened in 1937 to house
the fifth grade due to overcrowding at the new elementary school.
It closed and reopened several times, used as classroom, lunchroom,
and music room and for ten years served the Goose Creek District’s
Special Education facility.
In 1980 the
Wooster Schoolhouse was retired permanently. It was acquired and
relocated to the Republic of Texas Plaza in 1986, restored and used
for tours for school children. In 2006, the building was acquired
by the Baytown Historical Preservation Association and is now part
of a ‘living history museum’ complex, continuing to be an educational
facility for Baytown
and its contiguous area.
In addition to being recognized with a Texas Historical Marker,
the Wooster Common School No. 38 has recently been designated as
a County Schools of America’s Landmark Additional information about
the Baytown Historical Preservation Association and the Wooster
Schoolhouse can be found at http://baytownhistory.org/home.html
© Baytown Historical Preservation Association
5117 N. Main, Baytown
School No. 38
In 1891, Quincy
Adams Wooster visited Texas from Iowa. He was so impressed with this
area that he sold his farm and moved his family here. With his business
partner, Willard D. Crow, Wooster bought thousands of acres along
Scott's Bay. He had the town of Wooster surveyed and platted on January
20, 1893. During World
War II, the population increased greatly due to the nearby Humble
Oil & Refining Company and the Humble Docks. In the 1950s, the City
of Baytown annexed Wooster, then still a rural community. Hurricanes
Carla (1961) and Alicia (1983), extensive subsidence, and industrial-use
property acquisitions have removed most historic resources from Wooster.
The Wooster Schoolhouse was built in 1894 on First Street near Market
Street Road (later Arbor Street and Bayway Drive) on land donated
by Junius Brown. It was designed by Q. A. Wooster and built by Wooster,
Brown, and their sons and sons-in-law. Cypress was chosen for the
frame and exterior siding and longleaf heart pine for the interior.
On April 9, 1895, Harris County Commissioners Court was petitioned
to create School District No. 38, to include Scott's Bay and Lynchburg.
Q. A. Wooster, Junius Brown, and John Wesley Crow were elected the
first trustees. Serving seven grades, the school became part of the
Goose Creek school district in 1919. The schoolhouse closed and reopened
several times, and was moved in 1937 to the new David G. Burnet Elementary
School and used as a classroom, cafeteria, and music room. The building
was also used for Sunday School lessons and as a voting place. It
closed as a school facility for the last time in 1980 and was moved
in 1986 to Republic of Texas Plaza for use as a museum. As the oldest
known existing one-room frame schoolhouse in Harris
County, it continues to have educational and historical value
to the community.
School No. 38 Historical Marker
Photo courtesy Nisha Holland Jones