Bluebonnet, LCRA award $24,093 grant for repairs to historic library


Pictured, from left to right in the front row, are: Kate Ramzinski, LCRA regional affairs representative; Robert Mikeska, Bluebonnet Board secretary/treasurer; Gary Durrenberger, Chappell Hill Historical Society vice president; John Schaer, historical society board member; Margaret D. "Meg" Voelter, LCRA board member; and Kyle Merten, Bluebonnet community development representative. Middle row, from left: Dottie Schaer, historical society grant writer; Elizabeth Rigney, historical society incoming president; Juanita Phillips, historical society member; Doug Smith, historical society treasurer; and Janice Wick, historical society secretary. Back row, from left: Chris Bullock, Bullock Construction; Hunter Tomachefsky, Lakeway Air Conditioning representative; Alfonso Palacios, Texas Ranch Manager representative; Deb Hinze, Texas Ranch Manager representative; Daniel Benitez, Lakeway Air Conditioning representative; and Angela Rutland, historical society administrative director. 

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 five grants being awarded by Bluebonnet and the LCRA 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

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