German-English School

By: Frances Donecker

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: April 9, 2016

The German-English School in San Antonio was established in 1858 by members of the Casino Club, mainly German immigrants (see GERMANS). The first school opened in the rooms of the Kleeper Hotel on West Commerce Street between Navarro and St. Mary's Streets. Voluntary contributions soon amounted to enough to buy land fronting on South Alamo Street in the district known as La Villita. The cornerstone of the first building, a simple but substantial stone structure, was laid on November 10, 1859, and the building was dedicated to German poet and dramatist Friedrich von Schiller. A second building was constructed at the front of the lot, and in 1869 a two-story building was built at the back. A twenty-year charter for the German-English School was granted on February 2, 1860. Seven trustees were elected, chief of whom was Julius Berends, who became one of the largest contributors.

The school had high standards and strict discipline. In the higher grades, boys and girls were taught in separate classes, but both sexes took part in the many social gatherings connected with the school. The curriculum offered English, German, geography, writing, poetry, history, and arithmetic. To these were added Spanish, algebra, sewing, and singing. Rotation teaching of English, German, and Spanish gave the students a chance to become familiar with each language. The school term lasted eleven months, with vacation in August; two weekly half-holidays were allowed on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Classes met from 8:00 a.m. to noon and from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Primary school pupils paid $2.50 and advanced students paid $4.50 for tuition, but additional financial contributions were always necessary. In 1897 the school was sold for debt. The San Antonio school district bought the property in 1903 and named the new grammar school for George W. Brackenridge. The San Antonio public schools used the structure until 1926, when San Antonio Junior College took over the old buildings.

San Antonio Express, March 4, 1928, March 31, 1929. Adolf Paul Weber, Deutsche Pioniere: zur Geschichte des Deutschthums in Texas (San Antonio, 1894).

  • Education
  • Defunct Elementary and Secondary Schools
  • Peoples
  • Germans

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Frances Donecker, “German-English School,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 02, 2022,

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April 9, 2016