Although a Kohrville schoolhouse sits today at the Klein, Texas Museum, the building was the fourth school to go by that name. A monument to the first black residents of the Klein area, the Kohrville school helps tell the story of African Americans in the community.
Steve Baird, district historian for the Klein, Texas Historical Foundation, said 10 families formed the community of Kohrville following the freeing of slaves in the 1860s. Baird said the families came from mostly Alabama and Mississippi and originally settled on land along Cypress Creek called "The Bottoms," today near Louetta Road and Hwy. 249.
"The citizens of Kohrville, they started farming [and] ranching," Baird said. "They were building roads, railroading [and working in] lumber. Some of the families had their own businesses. They did farming. Others worked for the white farmers in the area while they were trying to make a living."
Flooding led the families to relocate to an area off of Hwy. 249 and Boudreaux Road, Baird said. German immigrants Paul and Agnes Kohrmann owned a general store in the area off of Hwy. 249 in the 1870s and the area soon took the name "Kohrville."
The first Kohrville schoolhouse was constructed in the 1890s, Baird said. Tom Amos, one of the school's first three teachers, donated an acre of land near Spring Cypress and Hufsmith-Kohrville roads.
Known fondly by residents as "the little school on the hill," he said the schoolhouse burned down and was rebuilt in the early 1900s.
Kohrville joined with the rest of the area in 1928 as part of Rural High No. 1, which became Klein Independent School District in 1938. The Louetta School was relocated to Kohrville in 1932, according to documents from Diana Lynn Severance, founder of the Klein, Texas Historical Foundation.
A new Kohrville school was constructed in 1949 through Klein ISD bonds after the Harris County School superintendent visited Klein ISD and decreed that the school needed repairs.
Reluctant to make any decisions regarding integration until after the Texas Supreme Court ruled on the issue or Harris County schools made decisions, Klein ISD did not begin integration until 1964. A motion by the school board carried on Aug. 26, 1964, allowing black students to enroll in Klein schools. Grades 9-12 were fully integrated by the spring of 1966, about the same time Kohrville Elementary School closed.
Baird said the school was used as a community center until the 1980s when it was moved to the Klein Administration and was used for storage. The building was moved to the Klein Museum property in 2000, where Baird said Klein students can experience what it was like to be a fourth grader in the early 1900s.
"When we're in there, we actually conduct an early 1910 school lesson," Baird said. "They have to read a 1907 poem that came from a fourth grade reading book. They practice in dip pens and quill pens when they're in there."
Although it is unknown how many students attended the Kohrville schools before integration began, Baird said 35 former students attended the building's March 6, 2003 dedication. He said he believes the building is an important historical site for the community.
"It's a testimony obviously to the integration of the area back in the '60s," Baird said.