LCRA, Bluebonnet Co-op award $24,093 grant for repairs to historic library
Century-old Chappell Hill building to receive fresh paint, new air conditioner
Dec. 6, 2021
WASHINGTON COUNTY, Texas – A $24,093 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative will help pay for needed repairs and upgrades to a historic Chappell Hill library built in the early 1900s.
The grant, along with $7,000 in matching funds, will allow the Chappell Hill Historical Society to make exterior repairs to the Chappell Hill Circulating Library, as well as add an energy-efficient air conditioner and rainwater collection system. The project also will include painting the library and a popular adjacent gazebo, and landscaping.
“It will be a general re-do for the library, and we’re just so grateful for the grant,” said Dottie Schaer, a longtime volunteer with the historical society who helped organize the project.
The library houses about 3,500 historic or contemporary volumes.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the library was designed by architect J.W. Heartfield and was built in a Colonial Revival style. The building features a semi-circular portico supported by two Doric columns.
The Chappell Hill Circulating Library Association formed in 1893, and much of its initial collection was donated by the family of W.G. Foote Sr., a Methodist minister who was a professor at Chappell Hill’s Soule University during the mid-19th century. In 1912, the year the library was built, its collection grew significantly when Chappell Hill Female College donated many of its books after the school closed.
Dottie Schaer and her husband, John, who sits on the historical society’s board of directors, say the project will help re-invigorate the library and draw more students, researchers and history buffs to Chappell Hill.
The gazebo on the property has been a popular spot for weddings, family photos and other events in the past, and the additional landscaping will make the site useful again.
“It’s a really nice gathering place,” Dottie Schaer said. “We want to make an area where people can come and relax and learn, too. Everybody’s very excited that we can bring this historic building, this beloved library, back to life.”
The community grant is one of 32 grants awarded recently through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which helps volunteer fire departments, local governments, emergency responders and nonprofit organizations fund capital improvement projects in LCRA’s wholesale electric, water and transmission service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves. Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative is one of LCRA’s wholesale electric customers and is a partner in the grant program.
Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted in January. More information is available at lcra.org/cdpp.
The Lower Colorado River Authority serves customers and communities throughout Texas by managing the lower Colorado River; generating and transmitting electric power; providing a clean, reliable water supply; and offering outdoor adventures at more than 40 parks along the Colorado River from the Texas Hill Country to the Gulf Coast. LCRA and its employees are committed to fulfilling our mission to enhance the quality of life of the Texans we serve through water stewardship, energy and community service. LCRA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1934 and receives no state appropriations. For more information, visit lcra.org.
About Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative
Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative is one of the largest electric cooperatives in Texas and has been serving its members since 1939. Bluebonnet serves more than 114,000 meters and owns and maintains 12,000 miles of power lines, located across more than 3,800 square miles within 14 Central Texas counties. Bluebonnet’s service area stretches from Travis County to Washington County, and from Milam County to Gonzales County. For more information about Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative, go to bluebonnet.coop and follow the co-op on Facebook and Twitter.
LCRA: Clara Tuma
Bluebonnet: Will Holford