Two-room Lilac school housed seven student grades
Joy Graham

This column continues a series on the Lilac community.

T he Lilac school had two teachers and was under the management of the Milam County Judge and an elected County Superintendent of Schools.

Records indicate both white and black children went to the school there before 1900 and that was when the community was known as Oak Point.

In 1883, when the government established a post office, the name of the community was changed to Lilac.

School records for blacks are scarce, but John H. Graves, who owned a plantation in the area, deeded property for the school in 1883. Very likely, patrons built the school on the property soon after Milam County took possession of the land.

At a later date the county built a new school building to accommodate two teachers. One taught primer grades 1, 2 and 3 in one room and the other taught 4-7 in another.

The building contained two classrooms, separated by folding panels with a door in one of the panels. Each room had a cloakroom for student’s coats, lunchboxes and room for teachers to store supplies.

The county followed state architectural guidelines. Each room contained a wood heater-furnace of cast iron surrounded by a large metal hood with an air intake ventilator from the outside.

Above the large blackboard was an alphabet exemplar, Palmer style.

By 1928 trustees built a stage complete with a roll-up curtain painted with a waterfall scene. Around this stage border, were squares with advertisements from businesses in Cameron and Rockdale.

Water was also caught from rains in a cistern outside the building, piped into the building to two faucets. Toilets were outside the building by the fence.

A teacherage was built to provide teacher housing. Dorothy McQuary Callaway said when she attended school from 1929 to 1931 that house was in ruinous condition and she thought it possible that the teacherage had served as the first schoolhouse built after the Graves family deeded land for the school.

A well provided water for the school complete with concrete curb, rope, pulley and a bucket.

The schoolyard was fenced off from cemetery and the Baptist Church.

As children came to school they climbed up and over the fence using a style made with wooden steps.

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