The Mill Springs Cabin Hosts 50,000th Student
The Mill Springs Cabin is celebrating a huge milestone. The 193-year-old cabin located at Bradley Middle School recently welcomed its 50,000th student visitor.
The cabin is from Kentucky and was re-established on the campus in 1999. The Cabin project is an award-winning program designed to teach multiple eras of Texas history to both 7th grade students at Bradley, and 4th graders from around North East ISD, and other districts around San Antonio and South Texas.
Set among Live Oak trees and Mesquites, this one-of-a-kind Texas history learning facility is sprawled across two acres of the campus, and includes the cabin, a 17 foot. tepee, a barn that houses a fully outfitted chuck wagon, a Texas Ranger office, a Mexican oven made from adobe, a roping area along with a bronco busting activity that students experience on an old leather saddle. Recently added attractions are The Stratton’s General Store, The Texas Museum, and the Animal Tracking demonstration.
Each spring, 4th grade students visit the cabin and experience Texas history through hands-on activities by rotating through eight stations. Each presentation is delivered by trained, 7th grade Bradley students who have been taught by the Texas history teachers.
As 4th grade students rotate through the presentations, they step back in time and experience aspects of Texas history such as pioneer living, how to make and use adobe, how to create lower Pecos rock art, life of the cowboy and the chuck wagon cook, life of the Native American Plains Indians, the invention of the windmill and the fence cutting wars, Texas Rangers, the art of roping, and as mentioned above, bronco busting. The grounds are also spotted with twelve Eagle Scout projects built by former Bradley students. These quality projects are also used as teaching tools.
The program is designed to enhance Bradley 7th grade student’s learning as well. Beyond the information about our state’s rich past, our program teaches multiple life skill that many times are not taught until high school or college. The program offers students their first speech class, public relations, problem solving, teaching skills, and the basics of economics.
The Cabin project has earned many successes. Offering tours for the past seven years from mid February until the end of May, Bradley students have facilitated tours that benefited 50,000 elementary students. Since the grand opening on Texas Independence Day in 1999, the Cabin has been totally self-sufficient. The entire project was built without district money. The entire design, layout, and most of the major construction is completed by Mike Bailey and a handful of volunteers.
The cabin has been recognized through awards from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, The Sons of San Jacinto, The Sons of the American Revolution, and many others. The Cabin was also featured in the national magazine, “American Cowboy”. Each year, the Institute of Texan Cultures comes to Bradley to interview our 7th graders and chooses 70 to volunteer as docents during the summer on the “Back 40”. ITC comes to Bradley because of the training these students receive.
This project owes many thanks to the parents in the Bradley community, business leaders, and most of all the fabulous students at Bradley. This project would not have been possible without the support of loyal Texans.
Posted on May 9, 2013