German American Ladies College
Austin, Travis County
The German American Ladies College is a two-story, wood frame, vernacular residence with Greek Revival detailing constructed in 1876, with rear wing additions in 1903 and 1986. Noteworthy as a very late example of the architectural style in Austin, it is also one of the oldest frame residences still standing in Austin. The German American Ladies College, a private all-girls day school, operated here from 1877 until 1881, a critical point in Austin’s educational history. It is an example of the successful private schools that assumed responsibility for educating the young citizenry of a rapidly growing, increasingly cosmopolitan city at a time when the city did not yet have the capacity to do so itself. Natalie and Antoinette Von Schenck were instrumental to the success of the school, but even when the school closed, the house continued to serve as the seat of a prominent and influential family of teachers. Their sister Anna Von Schenck Ritz and her daughters Helene and Maria taught at the nearby Stuart Female Seminary and were integral to that school’s music and language curriculums for over a decade. Maria and her husband Gustav Sievers then continued the educational legacy by training a generation of young musicians. Collectively, these family members had a significant impact on the educational development of the community.
The German American Ladies College was designated a City of Austin Landmark in 1979. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places at the local level of significance under Criterion A in the area of education and Criterion C in the area of architecture on August 13, 2013.