The abandoned Benton City Institute, near Lytle, Texas was considered an important part of the early education in the area. It was located in the Benton City, Texas and is the only remaining building left in town. The building was built in 1875 and was established in 1876. It was called the Benton City Normal Institute. The institution operated under the Texas Law that designated funds to supplement private tuition and was owned and operated by the educators. The school was originally run by John D. Morrison.
Benton City Institute
Then in 1876, the top floor was bought and used by Atascosa Lodge 379, A.F & A.M. The classes were held on the lower floor and consisted of basic foundation courses, accounting, law, music, and surveying. At some point the school became fully tax supported.
In 1878, the school became coeducational. During that time, it was owned and operated by Professor and Mrs. Bernard C. Hendrix of Kentucky. Eleven years later (1889) they renamed the school to Benton School.
Then in May of 1909 the lodge that offered social and cultural leadership to the area, was moved to Lytle, Texas.
Then in 1910, the school was renamed to the Old Rock School, and was an education hub for the area until 1919.
In 1919, the school district was consolidated with Lytle, Texas. The building was used for different things until 1934. After that, I don’t have a clue and I’m still looking into the building.
In 1972 the site became an historic site and the historic marker sign has been removed or stolen.
Abandoned Benton City Institute Current Condition
Just by the pictures alone, you can tell that the abandoned Benton City Institute is in danger of being no more. All that’s left is the outer walls and they are cracking and crumbling to the ground.
The inside has already returned back to nature and all that supports the walls from falling are those old and rotten support beams.
The school is located in Lyle, Texas and off HWY 3175. We are looking for more information about the abandoned Benton City Institute and if you know more about the institute, have stories, have images of what it looked back when it was active, or know someone to contact, please contact us or comment below.
Please Note: The pictures were taken in November 2014. This article was originally posted on my personal blog on November 29th, 2014 and rewritten and posted to VanishingTexas.com on July 14th, 2017. That site is no longer affiliated with us. All content from that site is slowly being migrated and updated to this site. All photos featured on this article were taken a few years before 2016 unless noted.
About The Images
The images were shot by hand with my Sony Nex-3N and a Sony SEL16F28 16mm f/2.8 just after sunset. I then edited the images in Adobe Lightroom. Next, I post processed them with Topaz Clarity to add texture, brighten, and bring out the details in the image. Then I removed the dust spots. Finally, I used Topaz DeNoise to remove the noise from the image. I plan to review this photos and reprocess them in the future.