Criswell School - Falls County, TX
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member QuarrellaDeVil
N 31° 26.256 W 096° 45.208
14R E 713507 N 3480284
Quick Description: The old Criswell schoolhouse is now a church/community center, located in front of the historic Criswell Cemetery on Falls County Rd 159 in what was once Criswell, now out in rural Falls County, TX.
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 3/25/2021 8:27:12 PM
Waymark Code: WM140ZY
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member pmaupin
Views: 0

Long Description:
The closest community of any kind is Otto, which is a virtual ghost town. Perry, also in Falls County, is to the west, but "by the book", this location would get its mail from Riesel, some miles northwest in McLennan County. You are "way out" here.

A 2001 Texas Historical Marker in front of the adjacent cemetery provides some background:

Bearing the name of the community it once served, this site is part of ten acres deeded by Marcus Thomas Durham in 1886 for a school, church and cemetery. By that time it was already an established burial ground; the two oldest marked graves, both dating to 1873, are those of C.M. Criswell and Durham's father, Thomas Durham (1811-1873). In 1950 an association was formed that purchased the nearby school and church building and organized an annual homecoming to create a fund for maintaining the structure and the cemetery. The Criswell Cemetery remains a record of the history of this area of Falls County.

The old well is just outside of one of the entrances, capped and protected by a gate secured with a zip tie. There are pews inside, and a few references to "Criswell Church" can be found on an Internet search, but no signs to indicate service times. There are a few outhouses on the grounds, well-stocked and maintained, but they don't look to be the originals. The Criswell Cemetery Association has a really nice website that is primarily a resource for the historic cemetery, but while it does not have a history of the school, it does have some interesting articles and photos, including a note about the original school's burning in 1927.

RootsWeb (see below) has some complementary information about Criswell, noting the original school was constructed not long after the property was deeded. After it burned in 1927, it was about a year before a replacement was constructed -- the Criswell Cemetery Association site notes that electric lights were placed in 1941 -- and it served as both a school and a church until the 1950s when the school consolidated with the Ben Hur School District northeast of here. Today, Ben Hur is a metropolis when compared with Criswell, with the old store's serving as a bar, with a few scattered residences and an old service station that's a good photo opportunity.

Falls County Rd 159
Riesel, TX USA

Web Site: [Web Link]

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