Education in Industry German settlers established the town of Industry in 1831. Shortly after they arrived in December 1840, the Rev. Louis C. Ervendberg and Dr. Joseph Anton Fischer founded the town's first school. Fischer is recognized as the first teacher in Industry, and Ervendberg is credited as being tutor to the children of town founder Frederick Ernst. Tutors were common, with families hiring teachers to give lessons in their homes. By 1842, 37 area residents had petitioned the Texas Congress for the creation of a German institute of higher learning, Hermann's University. The school received its charter in 1844, and although the charter was amended in 1846 when Texas became a state, the project never materialized. Accustomed to the free education offered in their native Germany, Industry settlers were part of the free public school movement in Texas. In 1864, Civil War veteran Christian William Hander opened a school in the residence of the Niebuhr family. His school grew out of the private home and became the Industry day school in 1865. Other schools at that time were operated by Rudolph Franke and John Simmons. These schools required tuition, though, from their students. Austin County established several public schools by 1880, including five in Industry, which created its own school district in 1912. Nearby Star Hill consolidated with it in 1928. Legislation in 1948 consolidated Industry, Shelby, Henkhaus, Rockhouse and New Bremen into West End Rural High School District, with grades 1-9 in Industry and 10-12 in Bellville. The district erected a new brick building in 1952, as well as a new structure for the African American campus, the Mary Bethune School. Following integration, the school consolidated into the Bellville Independent School District. The 1952 West End School building continued to serve as an elementary campus for the children of the area.
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