The early settlers who made their homes in this community had no way of knowing that their desire for their children to learn to read, write and "cipher" would develop as it has. Their little space in the rear of a supply depot had no desks, few chairs, and only one teacher. But, from that humble beginning developed a school with over 800 students, a professional and support staff of 80, and the use of technology that would have been beyond their wildest imaginations.
In 1850 William Jackson Locke, his wife, Mary, and their two young children loaded their possessions on a Mississippi river boat and traveled from Illinois to New Orleans. There they turned west toward Texas. The trip by oxcart was rough and long, but they finally arrived at Pipe Creek where they joined other relatives who had come ahead. In time William Locke and Louis Lacy found land to purchase just 12 miles from San Antonio on either side of Fredericksburg Road. This became known as Locke Hill.
When their log home was ready, the Locke family moved from Pipe Creek. On the way their son was born in a covered wagon beneath the oak trees where the old Locke Hill School still stands on the access road of IH-10. They named him Sam Houston Locke. It was August 11, 1861.
The next next few years were hard. Mr. Locke joined the army and was gone for four years. Mrs. Locke saw Indians burn their fields and steal their cattle. She fed her children wild game killed with a bow and arrow or caught in traps. They ate berries and acorns and made tea from oak leaves. It was a happy day when Mr. Locke, now called Captain Locke, returned.
When the stagecoach began to make regular runs between Fredericksburg and San Antonio, Captain Locke and Louis Lacy opened a supply depot. Soon the stage was stopping twice a week with mail, supplies and passengers. On March 17, 1869, an official post ofice was established at Locke Hill. In 1881 the name was changed to Shavano Post Office. It kept that name until its closure in 1903.
As the community grew there were enough children to need a school. It was decided that the space in the rear of the supply depot would do. Judith Locke, who had "fitted herself to be a teacher" at the Governor's Palace in San Antonio, became the first teacher. The year was 1868. The school was called Shavano School.
When more space was needed, the school moved out of the depot and into the house that had belonged to the Flathouse family. Sam Locke donated land on which to build a church. It had one room and a brush arbor. The children began to attend school there with their teacher, Adena DeZavala. Near this little structure was the community cemetery which is located at the corner of Fredericksburg and Huebner Roads. On many of those headstones are the names of those who once attended both Shavano School and the Locke Hill School.
As time passed and the community grew, a brand new schoolhouse was constructed where the "old Locke Hill School" stands. It was painted red. Mary DeZavala was paid about $35 to teach six months. That little red schoolhouse was used from 1900 to 1907, when it was torn down to make way for a two room schoolhouse. As it grew, more children called for more school rooms and more teachers.
The invention of the automobile led to the addition in 1930 of two Model T school buses. They were named "Archibald" and "Percival." Children riding the buses thought it was great fun to gang up at the back of the bus to make the front wheels rise from the road. No doubt the bus driver did not share in their fun.
In 1934 WPA workmen cut stone from a nearby quarry to build an auditorium. Two trolley cars were brought in to serve as a cafeteria.
By the 1940's there were over 200 students enrolled serving all grades. There was a library and a football team. Radio was introduced into the classroom. In 1946 the PTA agreed to purchase a movie machine! In 1947 a new concrete water tank was built after Teddy Zetner found a dead rat in the old wooden water tank. Throughout the years the facility has served a number of purposes. Today that stone structure is used as the Northside Alternative Middle School North and the Northside Alternative Elementary School. The old bus yard in the back is a satellite maintenance facility. In 2005, work was completed to replace the septic system with a permanent sewer line.
By the 1970's it was clear that the old Locke Hill School could no longer meet the needs of the rapidly growing enrollment or the rapidly expanding needs of education. A new facility had to be built. On February 3, 1976, the flag was lowered at the "old Locke Hill School" and raised again at the new school at 5050 De Zavala Road. Five hundred children and their teachers packed up their school supplies and moved down the hill. Principal Neal Howell led the way.
We have a long history of wonderful, dedicated principals here at Locke Hill. Here is a list of some of them:
C. O. Glass 1955-1960
Ken Floyd 1960-1968
Thomas Prince 1968-1972
Jere Chandler 1972-1973
Neal Howell 1973-1983
Fred Pizzini 1983-1985
Shirley Howsman 1985-1990
Sheralyn Humble 1990-2002
Betsy Wynn 2002-2006
Catherine Cowan 2006-present
Locke Hill has been a significant part of the education of thousands of children over the years. Some of those students have returned as teachers, parents, and grandparents of Locke Hill students. It is a long and proud history of which it is a privilege to be a part.
Locke Hill Librarian
1980 - 2007