Anderson-Shiro Consolidated Independent School District
Prior to 1893 the only schools available to the general public were operated by private individuals who charged fees. These schools were generally operated in the homes of the teachers. No free textbooks were available and books were usually limited to a speller, reader, arithmetic text, and a grammar book. Other materials were non-existent. One such school for girls was operated by James V. Pye in Anderson from just prior to the civil war until about 1866. At about the same time Professor William A. Patton operated a school for boys. His school was closed about 2 years after the end of the civil war. Other individuals also operated schools in Anderson on a fee basis until 1893.
Academies and Institutes in Anderson
During the period in which private schools were offering basic elementary education, the Masonic Collegiate Institute was established in the spring of 1846. The Masons, in 1847, built a frame building to house the institute (the institute was located on what is now the site of the Anderson-Shiro School). The institute was closed in 1851. During this same year the Protestant Episcopal Church accepted an offer of the buildings that formerly housed the Masonic Institute, and certain subscriptions for support from citizens of Anderson for the establishment of an academy in Anderson.
In May, 1851, the Trustees of Orphans Friend Lodge No. 17 deeded the school property to Trustees of the new school, named St. Paul’s Academy. Among the Trustees of the new school was Anson Jones, last President of the Republic of Texas. The school received its first students in January, 1852. A charter to grant degrees was granted to the college in February, 1853. By 1854 there were about 100 students enrolled in preparatory subjects and later in chemistry, higher arithmetic, philosophy, history, Greek and Latin. Despite an increase in enrollment and the charter to grant degrees, the school was forced to close in 1856 without awarding a degree.
After the close of St. Paul’s Academy the land and buildings were re-conveyed to the Orphans Friend Lodge No. 17 in May, 1857. These same buildings housed Patrick Academy from about 1861 to 1902. The Academy provided basic instruction in reading, spelling, arithmetic and grammar.
For a period of about 8 years (1897-1905) the Catholic Church of Anderson operated a school. The school provided basic elementary education and religious instruction.
In 1882 Anderson’s Zion Lutheran Church operated an elementary school. This school was operated until August, 1938. Among the teachers in the school at the time it closed was C.Y. Best. Mr. Best joined the faculty of Anderson School in September, 1938.
Anderson School Created
In August, 1893, the Commissioner’s Court of Grimes County, by authority granted by the state legislature, divided all the county into school districts. The Anderson School District No. 1 consisted of approximately 34 square mile area. The new Anderson School District purchased some land from Orphans Friend Lodge for a school ground. In March, 1905, the Lodge deeded 17 acres and buildings that had previously housed Patrick Academy, to the school district. Around 1915 the Anderson District issued its first bonds, in the amount of $6,000. In April, 1930 the issue was retired.
Native Rock Building is Built
The next bond issue of $10,000 was passed in 1935 for the purpose of constructing a new school building. The rock building was designed by Robert Brule of Navasota. Native rock for the building was obtained near Anderson. Labor for construction was provided by Works Program Administration. Construction required ten months, utilizing a work force of some 30 local men.
After completion of the building Superintendent J.L. Southerland applied for, and received, affiliation. (This “affiliation” is equivalent to today’s accreditation.)
Area of the District Increases
During the late 40’s and early 50’s, with the passage of the Gilmer-Aiken laws, many small school districts were either annexed or consolidated to adjacent districts. During this time parts or all of Independent District No. 2, Pine Grove District No. 3, Spring Grove District No. 1, Carlos, and Eureka No. 26 were added to the Anderson I.S.D. After these additions the district contained about 95 square miles.
The Trustees of the district, in 1953, issued bonds in the amount of $45,000 for construction of a frame gymnasium-auditorium. The building was first used in 1954-55 school year, ushering in Anderson’s U.I.L. basketball participation.
District Area Enlarged
In 1959, the northern half of Klein C.S.D. was annexed to the Anderson I.S.D. As a result of this addition the area of the district was increased to about 120 square miles.
District Builds Additional Building
The Trustees, in May, 1959, in response to dire need to maintain accreditation, passed a $45,000 bond issue to provide housing for science and homemaking as well as up-grading existing buildings. The building was completed in February, 1960. After this improvement program, the district has maintained continuous accreditation with no substantive violations.
Shiro I.S.D. and Anderson I.S.D. Consolidated
Probably the single most important event in the school recently was the consolidation with Shiro in June, 1970. The consolidation more than doubled the area of the Anderson district. The newly created Anderson-Shiro C.I.S.D. contains about 263 square miles. In addition to the additional area, and tax base, the pupils acquired increased the pupil enrollment and otherwise aided the district, particularly in prospects for long range existence.
District Passes $376,000 Bond Issue – Builds New Building
In 1971, after the consolidation of Anderson and Shiro Districts, the new board called an election, issued bonds, and built a new brick building consisting of 22,000 sq.ft. at a cost of $351,000. A new agriculture shop and classroom was constructed at the same time. The new buildings provided 14 classrooms, library, cafeteria, restrooms, offices and shop space.
Additional Space Added
The Trustees of Anderson-Shiro C.I.S.D., in December, 1979, called a bond election for $450,000. The proceeds of the issue were used to add 9,400 sq. ft. of additional space to the building constructed in 1972. The addition provided space for high school science, homemaking, health services, offices, and classrooms.
The district [at this time had] 415 pupils and 42 part-time and full-time employees with an annual budget of approximately $1,000,000.
In recounting the significant changes and growth of the Anderson-Shiro School District, from its early beginnings to the present, it is impossible, in the space and time provided, to mention individuals who have contributed to its survival and growth. To all of them, we, in the system now, owe a debt of gratitude. We are committed, as they were, to continuing and improving it in every way possible.
Historical Narrative provided by:
Mr. John S. Freeman, Former Superintendent, 1957-1988