In 1872, Robert Eanes moved his wife and eight children to Texas. Born in South Carolina, he had been an inn keeper and mill owner in Aberdeen, Mississippi. Robert bought land from his brother, Alexander Eanes, who had come to Texas in 1845. Soon after arriving in this rugged and isolated area, Robert was asked to be a school trustee. He and George Norvell, a neighbor, built the first school on Eanes property in 1872.¹ The area became known as the Eanes School area.²
Two years later, in 1874, William and Sophia Teague donated 2 acres of land close to that original log cabin to the community as a permanent location for a "school house and a church house". This gift anchored the Eanes School on what is now the Eanes Elementary campus and supports the claim that Eanes is the oldest continuously operating public school in the state of Texas. One room, one teacher wood frame buildings were used for 65 years. In 1937 a 2-room rock schoolhouse was constructed. It is still used today for music instruction.
The 1930s brought change to Eanes. Despite the fact that during those years the United States was gripped by the most severe economic depression in its history, the decade proved to be one of modernization for Eanes. First, non-rural residents began to move to the area (1932); second, electricity and telephone lines were strung to the Westbank (1933); third, the establishment of the Lower Colorado River Authority (1934) resulted in the eventual construction of Tom Miller Dam and the creation of Lake Austin; fourth, narrow, winding, rutty Bee Cave Road was widened and paved (1936); and, finally, a new two-room, rock schoolhouse was built to replace the old frame, one-room Eanes School (1937). Even with the changes, however, Eanes remained a very small community and outside of the mainstream of Austin events. Nevertheless, it did become a more accessible and desirable place to live, for unlike before, it became practical for people to live in Eanes and work in downtown Austin.³
The year 1957 proved to be a watershed year for the Eanes community when county officials decided to close down the system of "rural common schools" they operated. Eanes residents had two alternatives. They could vote to join the Austin Independent School District or they could establish their own system. By a lopsided vote of 207-48 on April 12, 1958, voters opted to stay independent and establish the Eanes Independent School District. The size of the school board was increased from three to seven members and the name of the district’s only school was changed slightly to Eanes Elementary School. A contract, which specified tuition payments from EISD to AISD, allowed older students in Eanes to continue to be bused to Austin. In 1969, Westlake High School opened making Eanes a K-12 district. Today Eanes ISD has nine schools (six elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school). Westlake High School includes the Learning Center (TLC) and Adult Transition Services Center (ATS).
Eanes ISD Schools
|Westlake High School||1969|
|Hill Country Middle School||1975|
|Cedar Creek Elementary||1978|
|Valley View Elementary||1982|
|Forest Trail Elementary||1985|
|West Ridge Middle School||1986|
|Barton Creek Elementary||1991|
|Bridge Point Elementary||1997|
The tradition of excellence in all areas of school that exists today can be traced to the early days of education in the Eanes community, and the things that made these early schools successful – dedicated teachers, the support of involved parents, and students who responded to the high expectations of a rigorous academic program – are the same things that distinguish the Eanes Independent School District today.²
In 2008, the district celebrated the 50th anniversary of the year that voters approved the establishment of the Eanes Independent School District. During the 2022-23 school year, EISD celebrated 150 years of continuous public education for children in the area.
You can visit the Eanes History Center website at http://ehc.eanesisd.net
¹ Walking Back in Time, EISD Curriculum Office, pg 6, I-C Synopsis of Eanes History
² EISD Monthly Newsletter – April 1984 “Eanes School – 50 Years Ago”
³ EANES Portrait of a Community, written by Linda Vance; Researched by Dorothy M. Depwe