Montopolis Negro School

A Segregated One-Room School for Negro Children

The school appears in records as early as the 1870s, but it was renamed the Colorodo School at Burditt’s Prairie in the 1920s and then simply the Colorodo School by the 1930s. 

As with most black schools, it served as more than just a school. The school and its pastoral surroundings also served as an important community center and were used for civic functions such as annual Juneteenth celebrations, baseball games and BBQ’s.

1935 proved to be a difficult year in Austin and Travis County.  Not only were the city and county deep in the throes of the Great Depression, a series of storms and floods washed away homes and bridges, including the original Montopolis Bridge, constructed in the late 1880s.

It also destroyed the Montopolis Negro School as well as Black homes and other institutions.

In a sign of the characteristic “first fired, last hired” practices typical of the Great Depression, the Travis County Judge segregated disaster recovery.  There would be no replacement school for African-American children in Montopolis.

As a result, the St. Edward’s Baptist Church donated land to Travis County for school purposes in 1935.

Travis County transferred ownership of the school to Austin ISD in 1952.    

The Austin school district did not re-gift the school; it closed the school in 1962 and sold it in 1967.​ 

From School to Church

O.A. Wilhoitte purchased the property from Austin ISD in 1967 for approximately $5,200 and turned the school into the Montopolis Church of Christ.  The church was never popular and shuttered its doors after a few years. 

In 1987, the City of Austin condemned the St. Edward’s Baptist Church property located at 408 Montopolis Drive next to the closed church.  The city’s stated purpose for the eminent domain action was for road construction.

The city never built the road.