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|History of the Waller School Bell
by Stephanie Burman
The bell in the WISD logo is a photograph of the original 1887 Waller school bell which, after years of silence, has once again assumed a position of prominence in the Waller Independent School District. It won't be rung every day as it was in the past, but it is serving an equally important function in reminding everyone that for over a century Waller schools have been... all about kids.
The Waller School bell made its first appearance in Waller in 1887 when members of the small town used their own funds and labor to build the first Waller School. The rough-planked, one-room, 30' by 24' structure was located on the northwest corner of Penick and Cherry Streets.
In 1899, the bell was moved to the second Waller School which had been constructed near the Waller-Harris County line on what is today the northwest corner of Pine and Cherry Streets.
In 1917, the Waller School bell found itself in another new Waller School building. A five-acre site on the northern edge of town -- the former location of the South Texas Baptist College which had been destroyed in the 1900 hurricane -- had been purchased for $600, and a new U-shaped wooden building with the bell topping its central entrance was ready for the beginning of the 1917 term.
In 1930, a new brick and stucco Waller School was built, but the bell remained in the old wooden U-shaped building behind the new school. Over the next decade or so, the older building served as an elementary school, cafeteria, band hall, and woodshop. When it was finally sold and moved away, the bell was stored.
In the mid-1980's, extensive construction was underway all across WISD, and Wanda Ralston Schulz, a former Waller student and teacher became concerned that someone might junk the old bell that had been in storage for thirty years. Upon her request, school administrators gave the bell to her for safekeeping. Mrs. Schulz kept the bell at her residence in Waller until November 1999 when she returned it to WISD.
In 2000, as part of the district's Waller School 2000 Project, the bell will once again occupy a place of prominence in the district. After being refurbished, it will be on display in the main foyer of the new Waller Administration Building on Waller Street.