The Spring Hill Alumni Association is working to preserve the history of the district’s former living quarters, with hopes of getting a historical designation.
The former teacherage housed the superintendent’s family and several single teachers, but it was converted into a museum in the 2000s, President Annette Wolverton said. On Tuesday, Longview’s Historic Preservation Commission visited the museum for its monthly meeting.
“(We want) for people to know what it was like and what the building was built for,” Wolverton said.
The building is owned by the district, but the alumni association is in charge of its upkeep, she said. Wolverton said the self-funded organization raises money through events such as “give back nights” at local restaurants and its annual car and truck show.
To keep Spring Hill ISD’s history alive, Wolverton’s mother, Rita Odom, said she occasionally gives guided tours to elementary students.
When the oil boom made its way to East Texas in the 1930s, people migrated to Longview and the Spring Hill area, Odom said. She said the district opened the teacherage in 1933, along with a new school building to teach classes up to the seventh grade.
“This started (out as) a duplex,” Odom said. “This left-hand side was where the superintendent and his family lived. The best we could tell there was, like, three bedrooms maybe.”
Single female teachers lived on the opposite end of the house, Odom said.
“There were two bedrooms downstairs and three bedrooms upstairs, so that’s what this building was built for,” she said. “Up until 1972, I think, we still had two ladies. One retired, and that was the last time we had someone living here as far as teachers go.”
Through the years, the district housed special education classrooms, the nurse’s station and administrative offices in the former teacherage before they moved elsewhere, Odom said.
Many items displayed in the museum, ranging from sports memorabilia to old prom dresses, were donated by fellow alums, Wolverton said. The furniture is original to the building, and furniture from other former school buildings also occupies the space, she said.
Historic Preservation Commission Chairwoman Debbie Hancock and Vice Chairwoman Ann Heaston said they didn’t even know what a teacherage was or that the building existed. Hancock said she was impressed with how well the alumni association has preserved the teacherage.
“This is kind of a little gem for Longview that people don’t know is here. ... Everybody thinks all of the historical things are on the other side of town,” Hancock said. “They have pictures from every era since it was built and of the people of that era. They’ve preserved it very nicely.”
A historical marker from the Texas Historical Commission would “put them on notice,” Hancock said. She said the Gregg County Historical Commission could help them apply for a state designation.
In the meantime, Wolverton said the association is starting the application process for a marker from the city. Hancock said the commission would review the application before sending a recommendation to the Longview City Council, whch ultimately approves Longview’s historical designations.
To visit the museum or reserve it for a meeting, call Wolverton at (903) 759-4404 or email at email@example.com.