LAMPASAS — Looking at a big, blue bell from her high school days, Carol Wright remembers when she and other students used to ring it after football victories.
Memorabilia, pictures and a lifelike display are some of the many historical artifacts that will be part of the Lampasas County Museum’s new Historical Schools of the County exhibit, which opened Saturday.
The museum, which was formerly known as the Keystone Square Museum for its vicinity to the historic Keystone Hotel, still has its original name blazoned across the building front.
“My best story about Old Blue is that we were playing San Saba one time and ... one of the boys from San Saba came over and was trying to steal the clapper out of the bell,” said Wright, a museum volunteer recalling old memories and friends. “So, Dottie grabbed the clapper and proceeded to wail away at him. ... That scared us all to death because we were like ‘Oh my God, she’s furious.’”
Pictures of 17 old county schools, including Wright’s former high school, will be on display in the museum’s exhibit. Many of the structures no longer stand, but Robert Mattson, president of the museum, managed to snap a current photo of the old Moline School House.
Moline, now grouped as one of Lampasas County’s 16 ghost towns, is near Bennett Creek on Ranch Road 1047 some two miles northwest of Castle Peak in northern Lampasas County.
The photo Mattson took shows a small school room with one wall clearly missing. In the middle of the floor, an old piano stands.
“Most of the rural schools closed in the ’50s,” he said, noting the exception of one ivy-coverd high school, which burned down in 1977.
The schools, like most old architecture, oscillate between simplicity and elegance. Photos of Lampasas’ larger schools contrast sharply with the one-room rural schools. The larger ones are noticeably more expensive, made of brick, with more intricate archways and designs.
“Back then you built your buildings to be a statement of your community and so you had no-holds barred in expense. And today, you’ve got school boards going ‘low cost, low cost, low cost,’” Mattson said.
The museum, which opened the exhibit in honor of the upcoming Spring Ho festival and school reunions, is at 313 S. Western Ave.