English-German School – SAVED!

Cuero, DeWitt County

The English-German School Association constructed this school in Cuero, the DeWitt county seat, in 1877. Organized on February 29, 1876, the Association issued $5.00 stock certificates to raise $5,000 to build and operate what is thought to be the oldest school in Cuero.  The Association purchased a lot at 201 East Newman Street on May 22, 1877 from the Cuero Land & Immigration Company at 201 East Newman Street, where the building stood until it was moved in 2014.

The school was advertised in the Victoria Advocate on August 14, 1880.

Classes were offered in English or German, and the building continued to house a school until 1894 when it was sold to Edward Koenig.  When Robert Mernitz acquired the property in 1911, the structure had already been converted into a residence of eight rooms with a small pantry, a small front porch and a long back porch. During the time of Mr. Mernitz’s ownership of the property it was enlarged to thirteen rooms. But over the last few decades, the structure fell into ruin.

The school was used as a residence for most of the 20th century. Photograph from the Texas Historical Commission’s Recorded Texas Historic Landmark files.

In 2014, the building was condemned by the City of Cuero and scheduled for demolition. But earlier in 2013, Chisolm Trail Heritage Museum chairman Robert Oliver had begun discussions about acquiring the structure which ultimately led to the donation of the old schoolhouse to the Museum if it would be saved and restored.  A historic structure report was completed in 2014, and the schoolhouse was relocated to a new, permanent location behind the Museum at the corner of Courthouse and Terrell streets.

The school was relocated to its new site in 2014, where it awaited rehabilitation.

The project was awarded a 2021 Preservation Texas Honor Award for Rehabilitation.