Vandals damage Mill Springs Cabin over weekend

Bradley Middle School Texas history teacher left to pick up the pieces

SAN ANTONIO - A popular living history teaching facility at a local middle school was targeted by vandals over the weekend.

The Mill Springs Cabin at Bradley Middle School was left covered in graffiti and several museum displays were damaged by the vandals.

Mike Bailey, a Texas History teacher at Bradley, started the Mill Springs Cabin program 14 years ago with one old log cabin.

Today, the frontier style town has several displays depicting early life in Texas including a General Store and Museum.

As he often does, Bailey went to the cabin grounds Saturday to do some work when he noticed the graffiti scrawled across the front of the General Store and Museum.

"When I first got here I looked around and on our Alamo mural I could see that it had been tagged," Bailey said. "But then I got closer and on closer inspection saw that the door had been jimmied and when I opened it up that's when you could tell someone had gone in there and created havoc."

Inside, displays were smashed and historical documents and displays were trashed.

"Could have been worse," Bailey said as he surveyed the damage Monday afternoon. "If they had more spray paint, it could have been worse but I think they were running out from the outside so they just started trashing things."

Bailey said while the school has been hit by taggers and vandals in the past they never messed with the Mill Springs Cabin.

Bailey said every year his 7th grade Texas History students learn roles and take part in teaching Texas history to thousands of 4th graders that visit the cabin grounds.

Bailey estimates 50,000 kids from San Antonio schools have visited the Mill Springs Cabin in the past 14 years.

"If the kids that went through this program this year saw this I bet half of them would sit down and cry because they love this place," Bailey said. "Everybody has a part in the program and they all take ownership. This is theirs, it's not mine. I'll retire in a few years and I'll go riding off into the sunset, it's still going to be here and it still belongs to the Bradley community and the Bradley students and always will."

The living history program is run independently from the school and receives no funding from NEISD. Bailey and his students hold fundraisers throughout the year and rely on donations to keep the program alive. He'll be turning to the same loyal community to help him cover the costs to clean up the mess and make repairs.

"That's about all we can do, there's not going to be any big checks coming in because there never has been but we always nickel and dime everything back to normal one way or another," Bailey said. "The community at Bradley always steps up to the plate, I'm sure they will this time."

NEISD police are investigating the break-in and vandalism, reviewing surveillance cameras to track down suspects.

Whoever is responsible, even if it's a former student, Bailey said he just feels sorry for them.

"I feel sorry for them because they didn't walk away with what they could have from this program while 99.9% of the other Bradley students do," Bailey said. "I don't blame them, it's a lack of parenting."

If you have any information about the vandalism at Bradley Middle School you are asked to contact the NEISD police department at 210-599-7614. 

For a list of recent stories Tim Gerber has done, click here.

IMAGES: Mills Spring Cabin vandalism


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