Little River Academy is on the Little River and the Missouri, Kansas and Texas line at the intersection of State Highway 95 and Farm Road 436, eight miles south of Temple in southeastern Bell County. Little River was among the earliest settlements in Bell County. In 1836 Fort Griffin, sometimes called Little River Fort for its location on the river, was built somewhat west of the site of the future community to defend settlers from Indian attack, and a number of families settled near the fort. In the 1880s a railroad station was built in the community, and town residents were granted a post office named Little River in 1886. From a population of twenty-five in 1890 the town grew to 250 inhabitants by 1914, by which time it had a hotel, two general stores, and a cotton gin. Two schools were operating in the vicinity of the community by the early 1900s. In 1903 Little River School had eighty-four pupils and two teachers, and Academy School, in the neighboring community of Academy, had seventy-eight pupils and two teachers. In 1925 three schools, Academy, Little River, and Sparks, were consolidated to form the Academy Independent School District, and the first consolidated rural high school in Texas was built in Academy soon after. The population of Little River had decreased to 120 by 1926, but by the 1940s its population was once again around 250. The town had ten businesses in 1946. In the later 1970s the town began to grow dramatically and reached a new population high of 1,155 by 1982. Little River and Academy merged to form a single community, Little River Academy, around 1980. In 1990 its population was 1,390. The population grew to 1,645 by 2000.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Bertha Atkinson, The History of Bell County, Texas (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1929). Oscar Lewis, On the Edge of the Black Waxy: A Cultural Survey of Bell County (Washington University Studies, st. Louis, 1948).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.
Mark Odintz, “LITTLE RIVER ACADEMY, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online
(http://www.tshaonline.org/handbooklonline/articies/hjI10), accessed November 21,2011.
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.