Mason County News
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The Historic Peter's Prairie School
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 • Posted May 14, 2014

Peter's Prairie School opened with in 1921in a masonry block building located approximately eleven miles north of Mason on U.S. Highway 87. The school was built by the local community members using money raised by increasing their own ad valorem tax rate. The school became the center of the community and has remained such through present time.

With the support of parents, families, and teachers, Peter's Prairie students excelled in academics, 4H activities, and sports. Results of the Mason County University Interscholastic (UIL) Meet in March 1926 show Peter's Prairie School earned 170 points, with other competing schools scoring 117 points, 50 points, 20 points, and 17 points. A noteworthy accomplishment was the victory of Carl and Robert Schmidt over future President Lyndon B. Johnson and his partner in a late 1920’s regional UIL debate contest.

Many students excelled in sports, with numerous track and field, volleyball, and tennis successes. Many believe that Mason County tennis began at the Peter's Prairie School when principal Walter Adkins and community members built a clay tennis court beside the school building. Adkins began teaching students to play tennis and took a doubles team, Marie Surber and Sadie Curren, to the state tournament in 1928. Many students learned to play and earned the reputation of being part of the unbeatable Peter's Prairie tennis players. Later students, Frances Kruse and Helen Sell also earned a trip to the state meet in 1941. Frances and Helen later helped start the famous Mason County tennis program by initiating court construction and tennis programs. Helen's incredibly successful coaching career was honored as she was voted the first inductee into the Texas Tennis Coaches Hall of Fame.

Peter’s Prairie School continued operation until consolidation with Mason Independent School District in 1946. The building was briefly used in the late 1940’s to house overflow students from Mason while additional classrooms were built to accommodate increasing student population.

Many former Peter’s Prairie School students credit their later life successes to the wonderful educational opportunities they enjoyed in the little three room school. Some of the families attending the school include Awalt, Bishop, Coots, Curren, Fikes, Harris, Gross, Henry, Hill, Hoffmann, Hurley, Kasper, Kruse, Lindsay, Magum, Morgeson, McGhee, Moody, Morris, Nobles, Olsen, Parker, Pirtle, Prater, Probst, Reugner, Schmidt, Sell, Seller, Smith, Sorrells, Surber, Turner, and Waller.

The school continues as the heart of the Peter’s Prairie Community, and people from the area still gather at the “school house” to celebrate special occasions and honor lives of community members.

The PETER’S PRAIRIE SCHOOL has been officially recognized by the Texas Historical Commission. On Saturday, May 24th, 2014 at 10 am at Camp Air, Texas, the Mason County Historical Commission and the Peter’s Prairie School Community Association will PROUDLY hold an official marker dedication for PETER’S PRAIRIE SCHOOL there in the schoolyard. Everyone is invited to join them there for the brief ceremony. Afterwards, everyone is welcome inside for refreshments and visiting. PHOTO: Peter’s Prairie 8th Grade Students - 1938-39: From left to right: 1st Row:  Doris (Kasper) Grote , Florene (Eckert) Hofmann, Reba (Curren) Schultz, Doris Nel (Prater) Chenault, Martha Fay (Curren) Stroud; 2nd Row:  Ruben Kasper, Sam Moody Awalt, Raymond Curren, Paul Probst, Frances (Kruse) Bode, Helen (Sell) Tallent; 3rd Row:  B.H. (Babe) Nobles, Jr., Lorine (Kasper) Metz , Winifred Probst, Kelly Schmidt, Clayton Sorrells

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