Due to the current weather conditions, many areas of Bastrop are experiencing power outages. The National Guard is deployed across Texas to conduct welfare checks and assist local authorities in helping those in need.
Robert A. Kerr moved to Bastrop sometime prior to 1880. He was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1881. He also served on the Bastrop school board helping to establish Emile School as one of the earliest high schools for Black students in Texas. Robert’s brother, Beverly, was a versatile musician and bandleader of The Kerr Orchestra. He and his wife, Lula, also an excellent musician and the first primary grade teacher at Emile School when it opened in 1892, saw the need for a social center for the African-American community. In 1914, they built what was then called Kerr Hall. This two-story frame structure became the heart and soul of Bastrop’s Black community, serving as its social, civic, recreational and educational focal point. Over the years, many entertainers performed at the center, including Roosevelt Williams (The Grey Ghost), a master at the piano. During World War II, the army renovated the center as a United Service Organization (USO) to serve Black soldiers at Camp Swift. The building and adjacent park, now fully restored, continues to serve as a legacy to the Kerr family and Bastrop’s African-American community, and brings the entire community together.