Prairie Mountain School

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Photo by wanderingYew2
By John Hallowell

Stanley Keese and Billy Bob Schneider are two long-time residents of the Prairie Mountain community who are leading the effort to preserve the old school they once attended.

There was a community about twenty miles southwest of Llano long before it became known as Prairie Mountain. First called Starks, for early settler Starks Moseley, the community changed its name to Putnam (for Madison Putnam, another pioneer) and then to Hickory (for the nearby creek). It already had a post office, a cotton gin and a grocery store before community leaders built a new school in 1906 and renamed the community and school for Prairie Mountain, which (along with House Mountain, across the valley to the west) dominated the local landscape.

A few of the most noted residents were: Sherrod Porch, a local farmer who brought the mail from Llano at least once a week in his one-horse buggy during the late 1800s; R.F. “Bob” Rountree, who accumulated almost 9,000 acres around Prairie Mountain and had a beautiful sandstone home built on a nearby hilltop in the 1880s, and Mr. and Mrs. Ernst Marschall (Mrs. Marschall was the daughter of Fredericksburg founder John O. Meusebach), who lived in the Rountree home during the early 20th century. Mrs. Marshall taught piano to many of the children in Prairie Mountain.

In what would become probably the community’s most historic event, Bob Rountree was ambushed and killed as he returned from Llano with a wagonload of supplies in 1893. His majestic home remains, although no longer in livable condition, as a local landmark to this day.

Prairie Mountain School
Photo by wanderingYew2

The first school was built on the west side of Hickory Creek, then moved to the east side and named Putnam School in 1897. As the population continued to shift to the east, the community got together in 1906 to build a frame building in a central location (land donated by Mrs. Rountree) near Prairie Mountain. The community and school (which also served as a church for the community) both took the mountain’s name. A brush arbor for church gatherings was built next to the school in 1917.

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