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ACROSS SOUTH TEXAS

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					 Preservation News                TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION                     July/August 2010




                                             THE

MEDALLION




               DANCE  ACROSS SOUTH TEXAS
                     Historic Mexican American
               Dance Halls Strive to Keep the Beat Alive

A Tribute to Dr. Kathleen Gilmore ■ New Program Guides Texas Museums ■ Meet the Preservation Fellows
                                                              P R E S E R VAT I O N P R O F I L E



                                THC’s Preservation Fellows
                              Pursue Passion for Texas History



T
The Texas Historical Commission                         and Hispanic relations in the                    and write a book documenting the
(THC) introduced its newest                             Southwestern U.S.                                history of her tribe.
Preservation Fellows—Texas State                             “My (German) ancestors helped                   In the meantime, however, she is
University-San Marcos student                           found Lee County, so I have an                   focused on her responsibilities this
Katherine Koebbe and University of                      extensive family background in                   summer as a Preservation Fellow.
Texas-Tyler graduate Norris White,                      Texas,” she explains. “I’ve made                     “I think this program will give
Jr.—on April 24 at the agency’s                         some important contacts with                     me a leg up in terms of professional
Annual Historic Preservation                            Texas tribes through my work                     experience,” Koebbe says. “I’ve been
Conference in Houston.                                  with the Native American Student                 a student for about seven years
     Koebbe and White will spend                        Association, and I feel I’ve built a             now, so I’m really looking forward
much of the summer working with                         sense of community with people                   to being immersed in a professional
THC staff on projects related to                        across the state. I’m hoping I can               environment to develop the skills I’ll
their fields of study. Both are                          use my experiences in Texas and                  need in the working world.”
anticipating the opportunity to                         at the THC to make significant                        White shares many of Koebbe’s
experience day-to-day tasks                             contributions to my tribe.”                      aspirations; however, at age 43, he
of working in a professional                                 Looking to the future, Koebbe’s             admits to taking a nontraditional
preservation environment.                               primary goal is completing her                   path to achieving his educational and
     Koebbe, who earned three                           thesis, which documents strategies               professional goals. A San Antonio
bachelor’s degrees from the                             for community survival used by                   native, White has lived in Palestine,
University of Connecticut                               members of the Mohegan Tribe                     Texas, for 18 years and is a proud
(anthropology, history, and English),                   from the contact period to the                   husband and father of two boys.
claims her propensity for variety will                  19th century. In the long term, she                  His interest in cultural heritage
be well suited for her THC internship.                  expects to pursue a doctorate degree             and community service dates to
     “I’m really looking forward to
experiencing many different aspects
of what the THC does,” she says. “I
can’t wait to see what it’s like to work
with different people in different
                                                                “I’mand at thecan use make significantin
                                                                Texas
                                                                       hoping I
                                                                                 THC to
                                                                                         my experiences

positions, from federal law issues to
developing state policies to helping
with projects at the local level.”
                                                                contributions to my tribe.
                                                                                          ”
                                                                                        — Katherine Koebbe,
                                                                                        2010 Preservation Fellow
     Koebbe believes her
demonstrated dedication to
historic preservation will be an
important asset at the THC.
She has devoted efforts to her
Native American heritage as a
member of the Mohegan Tribe
of Indians of Connecticut and as
president of Texas State’s Native
American Student Association.
     Koebbe’s experience at Texas
State has also helped her sharpen
focus on academic areas of interest,
including public policy and the pre-
Colonial history of Native American


Right: Katherine Koebbe is commended by (from left) Brian
Shivers, board chair of the Friends of the Texas Historical
Commission, and Mark Wolfe, THC executive director.                           2
     his high school experience with the
     Upward Bound program, part of                  The THC’s Preservation Fellows Program, now in its fourth year,
     President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great          was created to build interest in and awareness of historic preservation
     Society initiative.                             among college students from underrepresented ethnic groups.
          “Upward Bound instilled in me            The program targets talented undergraduate and graduate students
     the importance of an education and             to encourage their interest in pursuing fields of study in history,
     also gave me an opportunity to meet,             preservation, architecture, archeology, landscape architecture,
     befriend, and learn about various               downtown revitalization, and heritage tourism. To learn more
     people, cultures, and their heritage,”           about the program contact the Friends of the Texas Historical
     he says.                                           Commission at 512.936.2189 or visit www.thc.state.tx.us.
          Upon learning of the
     Preservation Fellows program, White
     pursued the opportunity because he
     felt he embodied the qualities—faith,
     diligence, desire, and eagerness to      people, myths, and legacies has                Looking ahead, White expects to
     learn—that would enable him to           prompted him to explore and impart        use his role as a Preservation Fellow
     achieve his career goals.                his collected wisdom about the            to further his objective to present
          “Ultimately, I realized that        state’s richly diverse heritage.          history and anthropology
     becoming a Preservation Fellow               “I hope to pass some of these         in a manner that is more appealing
     would be a great opportunity             things along to kids who have             and inclusive to minority youth.
     for me as well as an honor and           experienced similar environmental         As a result, he hopes to encourage
     privilege,” he adds.                     hardships and conditions as I             and inspire students to seek careers
          With a special interest in Texas’   have,” he says. “I plan to create         and personal involvement in
     prehistory era, White is eager to        teaching and interpretive programs        preservation organizations.
     spend his fellowship at the THC’s        about Caddo culture to help better             “I will work tirelessly to
     Caddo Mounds State Historic Site         serve our youth. After all, they are      encourage minority youth to
     in Alto. He hopes to explore the         our future.”                              discover their history and culture,”
     indigenous cultures of his adopted           White believes his previous           says White. “The ultimate goal is
     region of Texas and experience the       academic and volunteer experiences        to motivate them so that one day
     professional side of overseeing a        fostered his appreciation for the         they will also have the passion to
     heritage site.                           professional aspects of preservation.     preserve it.”
          White is also enthusiastic about    Through his studies and his work               Koebbe shares White’s
     sharing his skills and knowledge         with the Texas Archeological Society,     enthusiasm for promoting and
     with students. He claims his strong      he has learned valuable lessons           advocating historical issues, and is
     interest in Texas’ historic cultures,    about the skills and methods used in      looking forward to dedicating her
                                              the field.                                 efforts to research and collaboration
                                                                                        among preservation organizations
Norris White, Jr. (far right)                                                           and governmental entities.
receives an award certificate
from THC Chairman Jon                                                                        “I’d like to make contributions
Hansen and Shivers.                                                                     in as many areas as I can,” Koebbe
                                                                                        says. “I feel so happy and blessed
                                                                                        that the THC has provided this
                                                                                        opportunity for me to get a leg up in
                                                                                        the world.” ★

                                                                                        This article was written by Andy Rhodes,
                                                                                        managing editor of The Medallion.




                                                                                        “encourage minority youth
                                                                                        to
                                                                                           I will work tirelessly

                                                                                        to discover their history
                                                                                        and culture.
                                                                                                            ”
                                                                                                         — Norris White, Jr.,
                                                                3                                        2010 Preservation Fellow
                                                      PROGRAM FOCUS


                                    A Tale of Two Courthouses
                       Rededication Ceremonies Celebrate Alfred Giles
                                Designs in Different Regions




F
Few buildings reflect a community as          King Ranch, is one of the state’s                      also operated an office in Monterrey,
broadly and accurately as its county         newest counties. In 1906, the                          Mexico, and regularly traversed South
courthouse. The circumstances of the         community of Falfurrias was                            Texas, designed the courthouse of
initial construction tell the real stories   considered cattle country with                         substantial materials, including high-
of a community’s history, and these          fewer than 200 residents; by 1920,                     quality brick and ornamental terra
stories represent the genuine character      however, it boasted a population of                    cotta and slate roofing.
of these places.                             nearly 2,500. Former Texas Ranger                           “Brooks County strategically
     Two Texas communities                   Captain J.A. Brooks called a meeting                   invested in its future by constructing
recently celebrated the rededication         of Falfurrias citizens in 1911, where                  a noble building that reflected its
of their courthouses after substantial       he secured 63 signatures in support of                 lofty aspirations,” explains Stan
restoration projects with major              establishing a new county.                             Graves, director of the THC’s
funding provided by the Texas                     After Falfurrias was selected as                  Architecture Division. “The
Historical Commission’s (THC)                the county seat in September, a bond                   attention to detail truly reflects the
Texas Historic Courthouse                    election for a $65,000 courthouse was                  community’s commitment to creating
Preservation Program. Though                 held, passing with 344 citizens voting                 a structure that’s equal to any in Texas
they are in different regions of the         for it and nine against. Giles, who                    and beyond.”
state, both buildings—Brooks and
Kendall County courthouses—were
designed by Alfred Giles, a noted
San Antonio architect.
     According to the Handbook
of Texas Online, Giles was born in
England in 1853 and initially aspired
to enter the ministry before an
architectural firm apprenticeship led
to a change in his career ambitions. In
1873, Giles immigrated to the U.S.
and eventually settled in San Antonio,
which, according to the book Alfred
Giles: An English Architect in Texas and
Mexico, lured him with its European
and cosmopolitan charm.
     After learning the skill of working
with locally available building
materials, Giles established his
own firm in 1876. The subsequent
arrival of the railroad expanded
Giles’ architectural palette and his
clients’ exposure to new styles. In the      Above and right: Kendall County Courthouse
                                             (interior photos courtesy JC Stoddard Construction).
following decades, he incorporated           Opposite page: Brooks County Courthouse.
these diverse influences in his
work, including the two recently
rededicated courthouses in distinctly
different regions of Texas.
     Brooks County, home to a
portion of South Texas’ legendary
                                                                    4
                                         sprinkler system, new electrical              By 1909, the county sought
                                         distribution system, new slate roof      again to expand the building
                                         and flashing system matching the          and commissioned Giles, who
                                         original, new accessible elevator and    was perceived to express a sense
                                         restrooms, balcony restoration, fire      of “sobriety, simplicity, and
                                         alarms, new audio/visual equipment,      conservatism” in his buildings.
                                         reproduction wood windows, and new       In contrast to the brick and terra
                                         wood doors to match the originals.       cotta of Brooks County’s new
                                                                                  courthouse, Giles extended the use
                                                                                  of Kendall County’s native limestone
                                                                                  for the two-story addition, taking the
                                                                                  design of the courthouse to a more-
                                                                                  refined level.
                                                                                       After completing a successful
                                                                                  exterior restoration in 1998 using
                                                                                  federal grant funds, Kendall County
                                                                                  prepared a master plan outlining
                                                                                  the remaining work in March 2004.
                                                                                  Hopeful that they would qualify
                                                                                  to receive construction funding,
                                                                                  the county prepared construction
                                                                                  documents to earn additional
                                                                                  incentives. The project was awarded a
                                                                                  $1.28 million grant in January 2008
                                                                                  and was nearly complete within a year
                                                                                  and a half.
                                                                                       The Kendall County Courthouse
                                                                                  rededication, held on April 10, 2010,
                                                                                  featured a German band and a series
                                                                                  of speeches by state and local officials.
     The courthouse contains                  Held against a backdrop of          The Kendall County Historical
two cornerstones, one laid by            campaign signs, the January 28, 2010     Commission (CHC) distributed
the Masonic Lodge and another            rededication of the Brooks County        an impressive brochure including
by Brooks County. The Masonic            Courthouse was a day-long fiesta          minutes from century-old meetings of
cornerstone references “the Great        that began with a formal ceremony.       the commissioners court concerning
Architect of the universe” preserving    Engaging the younger generation,         the historic building, a copy of the
the structure from decay as well as      County Judge Raul Ramirez foretold       1859 petition to form the county,
“the corn of nourishment, the wine       a future when the students in            and noteworthy information on the
of refreshment, and the oil of joy,”     attendance would be caretakers of the    history of the county, its courthouse,
denoting plenty, health, and peace.      building and would look back to the      and previous judges. The rededication
The county cornerstone contains          day it was restored and rededicated.     ended with a tour of the building led
several Mexican and U.S. coins along     High school students led tours of the    by CHC members.
with copies of the local newspaper       stately building they studied, and the        “It’s certainly interesting that
from 1914.                               high school band played mariachi         both of our recent rededication
     Brooks County representatives       music throughout the afternoon.          ceremonies involved Alfred Giles
began preparing a plan for application        The second Giles courthouse         designs, and that both had distinctly
to the THC’s courthouse program in       rededication was in Kendall County,      different qualities,” Graves said.
the first funding cycle in 1999–2000.     located in Texas’ Hill Country           “It was also really fulfilling to see each
The project received a grant for         region. The modesty of the original      community’s genuine display
architectural plan development in        1870 structure—a simple one-story        of dedication to its past, present,
2002 and received a construction         building, two bays deep and four bays    and future.” ★
grant award in 2006. State funding       wide—attests to the poor economic
provided in Round II and Round IV        conditions left by the Civil War.        This article was written by Sharon Fleming
                                                                                  of the THC’s Architecture Division.
totals $3.16 million.                    Within 15 years, a second-story
     The courthouse is now updated       courtroom and exterior gallery
with new air conditioning, a full        were added.                                                 TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION
                                             P R E S E R VAT I O N N E W S



                              A Lifelong Quest For Knowledge:
                                  A Tribute to Dr. Kathleen Gilmore




A
Archeologists throughout the world
are mourning the loss of Dr. Kathleen
Kirk Gilmore, a scholar, professor,
philanthropist, and mentor. Dr.
Gilmore passed away on March 18,
2010, at the age of 95, still actively
engaged in her lifelong passion for
learning about the past.
     Gilmore’s connections with
the Texas Historical Commission
(THC) were strong and meaningful.
                                         with archeology since childhood,
                                         she was discouraged from seeking
                                         a career in that field. She studied
                                         geology instead, but could not find
                                         employment in the male-dominated
                                         petrochemical field until she went to
                                         Houston. There she met Bob Gilmore
                                         and they married on Christmas Day,
                                         1940. She became a homemaker and
                                         raised four daughters, but she never
                                         forgot her passion for archeology.
                                                                                  memories of gathering at her Victoria
                                                                                  apartment to discuss the results
                                                                                  of the field investigations.
                                                                                       “We also went to France together
                                                                                  to research the project, and Kathleen
                                                                                  was able to see the actual kilns in the
                                                                                  Saintonge region where the 17th-
                                                                                  century Fort St. Louis artifacts came
                                                                                  from,” Bruseth said.
                                                                                       THC archeologist Jeff Durst, who
                                                                                  worked closely with Gilmore as a
Her archeological work in Texas               At the age of 49 she decided to     senior advisor on the Fort St. Louis
spanned more than 40 years and           go back to school. She received a        project, said, “Kathleen continually
her contribution to the discovery        master’s and doctorate degree from       amazed us with her vast knowledge
and interpretation of La Salle’s Fort    SMU and launched a second career         of both the archeology of the site as
St. Louis Colony near Victoria was a     that would change the face of Texas      well as the related history. She was
career highlight that also established   archeology forever.                      a sheer delight to work with and an
deep professional and personal ties           She performed exceptional           inspiration to us all.”
with THC archeologists. In fact,         work in historical archeology and             Pat Mercado-Allinger, Texas state
Gilmore had been planning to meet        her efforts were crucial in finding       archeologist, also benefited greatly
with agency staff members on March       the sites of several missions. Her       from working with Gilmore.
19, 2010, regarding a book she was       extensive excavations produced                “Kathleen was a remarkable
writing about Felipe de Rábago y         thousands of artifacts that assisted     woman in so many respects—she
Terán, the colorful commander of         other scholars with interpretation.      was a pioneer, pursuing a career in
presidios San Sabá and San Xavier.       One of her greatest discoveries was      archeology when women were the
     In Texas, the word “mission” and    that the distinctive green-glazed        decided minority in the profession,”
the name “Gilmore” are irrevocably       pottery fragments from the Keeran        Mercado-Allinger said. “We should
linked. Gilmore was enamored             Ranch near Victoria were French          all be so lucky to have the kind
with the Spanish Colonial period         in origin (not Spanish), eventually      of courage she had in midlife
and wrote her master’s thesis at         leading to the verification of the        to follow a passion for learning
Southern Methodist University            site as La Salle’s “lost colony,” Fort   and discovery.”
(SMU) on the San Xavier missions.        St. Louis.                                    Gilmore received numerous
She also worked on Missions                   “One of my fondest memories         accolades and honors during her
Rosario, Dolores de los Ais, and San     of working with Kathleen was when        career. She served as president of
Sabá. In March 2009, she was part        we excavated Fort St. Louis,” says       the Texas Archeological Society and
of a survey team seeking the sites of    Jim Bruseth, director of the THC’s       the Council of Texas Archeologists,
Missions Candelaria, San Ildefonso,      Archeology Division. “We did this        and in 2003 she became the first
and San Francisco Xavier near            from 1999 till 2002, and Kathleen        recipient of the THC’s Curtis D.
Rockdale. She had been searching         was a constant source of knowledge       Tunnell Lifetime Achievement Award
for those three sites for four decades   and encouragement.”                      in Archeology. Five years later, on
and to her delight, the team found            Bruseth added that Fort             her 40th anniversary of conducting
possible evidence of the perimeter of    St. Louis was Gilmore’s “great           archeological excavations in Texas,
the Candelaria mission.                  archeological love” and she felt it      she was honored by Gov. Rick Perry
     Gilmore was born Kathleen           was important to reside near the site    with the THC’s Governor’s Award
Kirk and raised in Oklahoma.             due to her high level of involvement     for Historic Preservation. She also
Although she had been fascinated         with the project. He recalled fond       served as the first woman president

TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION                                                                                www.thc.state.tx.us
                                                           6
Right: Dr. Kathleen Gilmore received
     the THC’s Governor’s Award for
      Historic Preservation from Gov.
   Rick Perry in 2008. Far right: Dr.
    Gilmore in the field; below: (from
 left) archeologists Edward Jelks, Kay
       Hindes, and Gilmore in 1997.




       of the international Society for        knowledge of this early period of          Memorial gifts in Gilmore’s honor
       Historical Archaeology and later        Texas history.”                            may be made to The Bob and
       received the Society’s highest honor,        Bruseth acknowledged that             Kathleen Gilmore Endowment
       the J. C. Harrington Award.             Gilmore’s absence will be felt             in Spanish and French Colonial
            Gilmore’s passion for archeology   professionally and personally.             Archeology through the Friends of
       also inspired her to become a                “I’ll miss being able to seek         the Texas Historical Commission
       major philanthropist. Through           Kathleen’s advice on how best to           (call 512.936.2189). Donations
       the Friends of the Texas Historical     excavate a site, share with her the        will be added to the endowment
       Commission, she established             thrill of my archeological discoveries,    to underwrite new research on
       The Bob and Kathleen Gilmore            or gain her reassurance when               the Spanish and French colonial
       Endowment in Spanish and French         things in the field don’t go quite          occupations in Texas.
       Colonial Archeology and the Texas       as expected,” Bruseth said. “She
       Presidio Project Fund. Using monies     was always inspiring, supportive,
       from the latter fund, in December       cheerful, and generous. Her family,
       2007, at age 92, she led a team         friends, and colleagues will always
       of scholars to Seville, Spain, to       remember her brilliance, dedication,
       conduct archival research on Spanish    friendship, and sense of humor.”
       presidios in Texas.                          He added that Gilmore’s love
            “Throughout her long life,         of archeology and her vision for
       Kathleen spearheaded and                expanding research on Texas’
       collaborated on archival and field       colonial period will live on in
       research projects to shed important     perpetuity through the Gilmore
       light on French and Spanish colonial    Endowment and in the hearts of
       settlement in Texas,” Mercado-          those who knew her. ★
       Allinger said. “She clearly delighted
       in this and encouraged archeological    This article was written by Toni Turner,
                                               the THC’s Development Officer.
       colleagues to contribute to our                                                              TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION
                                                     T R AV E L T E X A S




  SWINGIN’ SALONES



T
                   Endangered Mexican American Dance Halls Hold
                               Noteworthy History
Tucked behind rolling hills                                                                   Corporation, recall spending
in a grassy pasture just west                                                                 many memorable weekends
of Floresville is a modest                                                                    listening to conjunto bands
structure barely visible from                                                                 and attempting new dance
FM 536. Drivers who catch                                                                     styles at Yndo Park and
a glimpse of the low-slung                                                                    other halls in neighboring
building might mistake it                                                                     communities. Gonzales has
for a barn or storage shed.                                                                   particularly fond memories
They wouldn’t suspect it                                                                      of the youthful energy and
once raised a community’s                                                                     customs associated with the
collective spirit with vivacious                                                              dances and salónes.
music, passionate dancing,                                                                         “All of these places had
and memories that endured                                                                     wide-open dance floors
for decades.                                                                                  with benches around the
     This popular salón                                                                       perimeter—that’s where the
(dance hall) was known as                                                                     girls would sit, usually with
Yndo Park, a family-oriented                                                                  their mothers,” he says. “The
facility that hosted dances and                                                               men would stand outside
celebrations. Like hundreds                                                                   all huddled together and
of other salónes in the Texas                                                                 eventually move their way
Historical Commission’s                                                                       inside to try to catch the
(THC) Texas Tropical                                                                          eye of a young woman. You
Trail and Independence                                                                        can only imagine the fun in
Trail Regions, it peaked in                                                                   getting someone to dance
popularity during the 1940s                                                                   with you or, on the other
and ‘50s. Others fell into                                                                    hand, the embarrassment
disrepair or, in many                                                                         of rejection.”
cases, were razed from
the landscape.
     Fortunately, several high-
profile Mexican American
dance halls are still operating in                                                             Perez nods in agreement,
South Texas (see sidebar, p. 9),                                                        adding that although he did
offering heritage tourists a glimpse                                                    not share Gonzales’ reputable
of a colorful past that once thrived                                                    dancing skills, he had an intense
throughout the region. Step inside        Yndo Park (top) and El Monterey dance       appreciation for the music. Perez
                                          halls southeast of San Antonio thrived in   explains that the two main styles of
one of these buildings on a Saturday
                                          the 1950s.
night, and it’s easy to conjure up a                                                  music at this time—conjunto and
simpler time when dancing, music,                                                     orquesta—impacted the approach
and socializing inspired people               Floresville natives Fred                to dancing.
to endure another work week in            Gonzales and Jesse Perez, who both              Conjunto, the primary style at
anticipation of the dance halls’ lively   currently serve as officials with the        rural dance halls, encompassed the
weekend fiestas.                           Floresville Economic Development            region’s multicultural spectrum,
TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION                                                                                    www.thc.state.tx.us
                                                                 8
         with German and Czech influences         create a makeshift dance floor. The
         in the accordion-based polkas and       bands consisted of local residents
         waltzes, Mexican-inspired bajo sextos   who enjoyed playing music, typically
         (12-string guitars), European-based     including a fiddle, stand-up bass,
         string instruments, and Spanish-        and guitar.
         influenced Bolero, slow-tempo                 “Even those practices would draw
         traditions. Orquestas were slightly     a crowd—people would come out
         more formal, with the notable           and burn piles of grass and straw
         addition of horns incorporated from     to keep the mosquitoes away,”
         the big band sounds introduced to       Perez says. “Later, if a spot became
         many Mexican American soldiers          a regular gathering place, they’d
                                                 build a platform for dancing if they
         during their European experiences in
         World War II.                           couldn’t afford to construct an entire
                                                                                          South Texas Dance Card
              “These dances were a lot of fun    dance hall.”
                                                                                          Several of the historic Mexican
         for the whole community,” Gonzales           Floresville’s music scene was
                                                                                          American dance halls in the THC’s
         recalls. “We’re a happy people—we       especially robust, with shows by
                                                                                          Texas Tropical Trail and Independence
         like music, and some of us, myself      popular acts such as Conjunto
                                                                                          Trail Regions remain open for dances
         included, really love to dance.         Corona, Ruco Villareal, Los
                                                                                          and community events. On Saturday
         Obviously we had to do these things     Caminantes (featuring a teenaged
                                                                                          nights, these salónes come alive
         somewhere, so dance halls started       Flaco Jimenez), and Los Aguilares.
                                                                                          with the sounds of traditional
         popping up all over to accommodate      Gonzales and Perez cite more than
                                                                                          conjunto music or modern variations
         these activities.”                      a dozen Mexican American dance
                                                                                          of the style. Dancing is always an
              According to Gonzales and Perez,   halls that once thrived in the area,
                                                                                          important accompaniment.
         the area’s original gatherings, known   including La Agupacion Nacional,
                                                                                               Texas Dance Hall Preservation,
         as farm dances, were held outdoors on   El Jacalito, Gonzales Salón, Pan
                                                                                          Inc. co-founder Steve Dean
         ranches near Floresville. Community     American Dance Hall, El Ranchito,
                                                                                          recommends several South Texas
         members would find a level patch of      and La Plataforma. In the nearby
                                                                                          salónes for travelers who want to
         land and sweep everything off it to     community of Kenedy, the salón
                                                                                          experience this colorful Mexican
                                                                                          American cultural tradition. Although
                                                                                          many of the following are closed
          Floresville natives
      (from left) Jesse Perez
                                                                                          for regular business (but still worth
  and Fred Gonzales recall                                                                visiting for an exterior tour), they
dancing at the local salónes;                                                             represent a diverse sampling of
     they are now trying to                                                               significant historical dance halls in
             preserve them.
                                                                                          the region:

                                                                                          Alice
                                                                                          La Villita
                                                                                          3050 Old Kingsville Rd.
                                                                                          According to Dean, this is “the
                                                                                          mother of all conjunto halls.” La
                                                                                          Villita is associated with bands on
                                                                                          Alice’s Ideal Records, which recorded
                                                                                          notable acts (Beto Villa, Narciso
                                                                                          Martinez, Tony de la Rosa) after small
                                                                                          labels closed during World War II to
                                                                                          conserve shellac and other record-
                                                                                          related materials.

                                                                                                           – Continued on page 10

                                                                                          Above photo courtesy Texas Dance Hall
                                                                                          Preservation, Inc.


         July/August 2010                                                                               TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION
                                                                   9
              – Continued from page 9     El Monterey hosted high-profile           for cultural celebrations. Fiestas
                                          touring acts such as Little Joe y        Patrias (annual patriotic holidays
Corpus Christi                            La Familia, Alfonso Ramos, and           such as Cinco de Mayo and 16 de
Galvan Ballroom                           Isidro Lopez.                            Septiembre) were major events at
1632 Agnes St.                                 “This hall was pretty famous back   these facilities, drawing hundreds
Rafael Galvan, Sr., a respected           in the day—it was the popular place      of attendees and featuring elaborate
businessman, civic leader, and            for Mexican people to get together       decorations and colorful programs.
Corpus Christi’s first Mexican-            every Saturday night,” says Carlos            “Everyone would get all
American police officer, constructed       Zuniga, who built the facility with      gussied up for the Fiestas Patrias,”
and opened the Galvan Ballroom in         his father and grandfather in 1949.      Perez recalls. “The dance halls here
1950. It became a popular dance           “The music here was different than       were not unlike the traditional
hall, particularly for the more-upscale   other places. It was a more high-class   Mexican plazas, which served as
orquesta and jazz acts.                   spot with orquestas, not conjunto. The   community gathering places back in
                                          bands had big horn sections, and the     the olden days.”
                                          music would just blow you away.”              By the 1960s, however, cultural
Victoria                                       As he surveys the now-neglected     shifts trended away from the dance
Club Westerner
                                          property, Zuniga remembers               halls, as the younger population
1005 W. Constitution St.
                                          Monterey’s prime years (1950s and        became more mobile and people
361.575.9109
                                          ‘60s) with a smile, recalling events     remained in their homes with the
www.clubwesterner.com
                                          that drew up to 400 attendees,           increased availability of television.
Known in its early days (1940s–50s)
                                          turning away men who violated the        Many residents moved to cities
for hosting orquesta bands, the
                                          dress code by not wearing collared       for jobs, leaving the dance halls to
Westerner became associated with
                                          shirts, and paying a then-unknown        be transformed to bingo parlors,
popular conjunto bands in the 1960s
                                          Little Joe y La Familia $175 to play a   community event centers, or
and continues to stage Mexican
                                          show (Zuniga notes Little Joe would      often abandoned.
American bands such as Little Joe y
                                          later ask $12,000 per appearance).            “Things started changing pretty
La Familia most weekends.
                                               “This place was a gold mine for     rapidly by the end of the ‘60s,
                                          me—it was the only place to be on        but there was a lot of that going
                                          Saturday nights,” Zuniga says, adding    on—it’s just the nature of society and
                                          that in 1969 he sold the hall to the     culture,” Gonzales says. “Even though
                                          American G.I. Forum.                     many of these dance halls are gone
                                               Salónes like the Monterey and       or in disrepair, there are still some
                                          Benito Juarez Hall in adjacent Karnes    great stories out there. We’re hopeful
                                          City also drew families and visitors     that the younger generations will
                                                                                   appreciate that part of their heritage
                                                                                   and make the effort to keep these
                                                                                   places alive.”




                                                                                   (From left) Benito Juarez Hall in Karnes
                                                                                   City; the former Farmer’s Place dance hall
                                                                                   near Floresville.

     TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION                                                                                   www.thc.state.tx.us
                                                           10
Preservación de Salónes                                      Dean, who is working on a book
                                                       documenting Texas’ historic dance
                                                                                                          Other notable South
Ensuring the continued livelihood
of Mexican American salónes is                         halls, is concerned that members                   Texas dance halls:
increasingly becoming a priority                       of the generation involved with the
for Texas Dance Hall Preservation,                     origins of the salónes are passing away            Corpus Christi
Inc., a Houston-based nonprofit                         before their memories are recorded                 El Teraza Ballroom
organization dedicated to saving the                   for posterity. He hopes Spanish-                   1108 Leopard St.
state’s historic halls and their cultural              speaking community members make
attributes. According to group co-                     the effort to research and record the
                                                       stories and facts associated with these            Karnes City
founder Steve Dean, these dance halls                                                                     Benito Juarez Hall
are often underappreciated by Texans                   culturally significant structures.
                                                             “I’m somewhat shocked and                    410 W. Buchel Ave.
and are considered highly endangered
by preservationists.                                   dismayed that there isn’t more
     “These venues tend to go with                     official research on this subject,”                 Laredo
the flow of the music base, so the                      Dean says. “We need to get a Latin                 Casa Blanca Ballroom
historic Mexican American dance                        American studies professor to take                 5302 East Saunders St.
halls are being left                                   this on as a major research topic for a            956.724.9800
behind as younger                                                       comprehensive book so
people turn their backs                                                 we don’t lose any more            San Antonio
on them and go to the                                                   of this history.”                 Blanco Ballroom
bigger cities for newer,                                                       On a positive note,        3719 Blanco Rd.
brighter, air-conditioned                                               Dean is encouraged by             210.732.3510
clubs,” Dean explains.                                                  several emerging trends
“So many of the                                                         that could help keep
                                                                                                          San Benito
wonderful small places                                                  Mexican American
                                                                                                          La Villita
in rural areas across                                                   dance halls in the
                                                                                                          200 block of W. Robertson St.
South Texas are                                                         public consciousness.
                                                                        For example, he notes


                                                                                                                      ★
being forgotten
and neglected.”                                                         that festivals in some
     Dean acknowledges                                                  Mexican American
that the Mexican                                                        communities are
American facilities tend                                                increasingly appealing
to be overshadowed            Posters like this one for Corpus
                                                                        to a wider audience,              Museums featuring
by the higher-profile                                                    thereby exposing the
German dance halls
                              Christi’s Galvan Ballroom
                              announced dancing events.                 traditions associated             conjunto heritage:
of Central Texas. He          Photo courtesy Texas Dance Hall           with the salónes to other
                              Preservation, Inc.                        cultural groups. Also,
claims this inequity                                                                                      San Benito
is often tied to economic issues,                      several historic halls are hosting                 Texas Conjunto Music
such as limited funding in Mexican                     younger bands, allowing a new                      Hall of Fame and Museum
American communities during                            generation to enjoy dancing on the                 210 E. Heywood St.
initial construction and for ongoing                   same floors their ancestors once                    956.245.1666
maintenance in subsequent decades.                     graced half a century ago. ★                       www.texasconjuntomusic.org
     “Architecturally, they’re not as
                                                       Article and photos by Andy Rhodes, managing
grand as the German halls, but they
                                                       editor of The Medallion.                           Alice
have a strong cultural identity that’s
                                                                                                          The Tejano R.O.O.T.S. Museum
very significant to our state’s history,”               On the cover: The historic La Villita dance hall
                                                                                                          213 N. Wright St.
he says.                                               in San Benito still hosts events.
                                                                                                          361.668.6666
                                                                                                          www.tejanorootshalloffame.org


                                                                                                          San Antonio
         To help preserve Mexican American dance halls across the state,                                  Museo Alameda
         share your stories and photos at www.texasdancehall.org.                                         101 North Santa Rosa St.
                                                                                                          210.299.4300
                                                                                                          www.thealameda.org
July/August 2010                                                                                                   TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION
                                                                              11
                                                        P R E S E R VAT I O N A D V I C E


                                                   Take the Right StEPs
                New Program Guides Texas Museums and Sites to Success




N
Nearly 40 people gathered at the                          With StEPs, history                      “StEPs is really about projects,”
THC’s Annual Historic Preservation                   organizations now have a clearly         Cook said. “Projects can be
Conference in April to learn how                     defined framework for recognizing,        accomplished in increments big
a new program can help create                        understanding, and achieving             or small, but even the smallest
stronger museums, historic sites,                    national standards in six key areas      of projects can lead to great
and history organizations. Three                     of operations—mission, vision, and       accomplishments.”
recognized leaders in the field                       governance; audience; interpretation;         It is this sense of accomplish-
discussed the value of participating                 stewardship of collections;              ment that has small organizations
in the Standards and Excellence                      stewardship of historic structures       singing StEPs’ praises. Cook
Program for History Organizations                    and landscapes; and management.          explained that many of the
(StEPs), a new initiative offered                    The program’s workbook offers a          participants in the program’s pilot
through the American Association for                 series of self-assessment questions,     phase were amazed at how their
State and Local History (AASLH).                     along with three levels of specific       organizations were finally able
     Cherie Cook, senior program                     performance indicators, to help          to see them-
coordinator for AASLH, began the                     organizations measure the degree         selves mov-
session by providing an overview                     to which they are currently meeting      ing forward.
of StEPs (www.aaslh.org/steps),                      the standards. After identifying areas   “It gave them
a self-study program that assists                    for improvement, participants can        confidence
history organizations with assessing                 then choose a recommended project        and helped
their current operations using                       to get one step closer to meeting        them real-
performance indicators (basic,                       that standard.                           ize that they
good, and better) and rewarding
them with certificates for progress.
Lest museums be ashamed to
admit to their shortcomings, Cook
promised, “This entire program is
about encouragement, not judgment.
We want to encourage history
organizations to move closer to
meeting national standards.”
     She went on to explain that
standards have long remained an
enigma for those in the local history
field. When it comes to collections
care, for example, museums have
traditionally been told they must
provide a professional standard of
care for the objects. Cook asked the
audience, “But what does that mean
exactly? How do you know if you’re
doing it?” A sea of shaking heads
and shrugging shoulders signaled
that it hasn’t always been clear.


Right: Cherie Cook speaks at the popular StEPs
session at the 2010 Annual Historic Preservation
Conference. Inset: Dr. Paul Katz leads a tour of
Amarillo’s Texas Pharmacy Museum.
aren’t too small to achieve success,”    the workbook format, allows for            museums, she is in a unique position
she beamed.                              flexibility that is missing from other      to receive input from a variety of
     One of those small organizations    assessment programs, he noted. In          cultural organizations about their
is the Texas Pharmacy Museum,            particular, the matrix feature of the      specific needs. According to Rugg,
curated by the second session            workbook, which permits                    museum representatives report
presenter, Dr. Paul Katz. The            organizations to work horizontally         that one of their greatest needs is a
museum helped pilot test StEPs           (approaching all six standard areas        method to identify their current set of
in 2008, and was one of the first         one performance level at a time) or        circumstances and how to use that
enrollees when the program officially     vertically (approaching all three          information to plan for the future.
launched late last year.                 performance levels one standard                 Rugg added that her primary
     Katz, who recently agreed to        area at a time) lets organizations         responsibility is to help the staff,
serve on the StEPs national advisory     customize a system that best fits           volunteers, and trustees at Texas
board, took great care to outline the    their organizational capacities            museums do their jobs more
                          aspects he     and resources.                             effectively. As such, she and TAM
                          values most         The workbook’s inclusion of           staff are devoted to evaluating
                          about the      suggested projects, case studies,          the myriad resources available
                          program.       and group discussion questions are         to museums and other cultural
                          The self-      noteworthy, said Katz, but he claimed      institutions. Acting as a filter of
                          study nature   one of its most valuable features is       sorts, they then provide information
                          of StEPs,      the list of unacceptable practices         exclusively related to the resources
                          along with     included in each of the six standards      that best serve the community.
                                         areas. He found this approach easier            “Only the good stuff makes it
                                         to digest than a similar list that might   through the filter,” she said. “StEPs
                                         be created by an outside observer          is out there, and it’s good.”
                                         pointing out the museum’s errors or             In fact, Rugg views the program
                                         shortcomings. He added that access         as beneficial not just for history
                                         to printed and online resources,           organizations, but for all museums
                                         as well as web-based networks,             and cultural organizations. She
                                         provided a sense of comfort, in that       believes the key to success, however,
                                         he never felt like he had to start         is open and honest evaluation.
                                         from scratch.                                   “Denial is often our greatest
                                              Katz, the sole staff member at his    challenge,” she cautioned. “We’re
                                         museum, firmly believes that even           in denial about what it is that really
                                         the smallest history organizations         keeps us from achieving success.”
                                         will benefit from participation in               Rugg added that museums have
                                         StEPs. Although he has yet to              many options available for learning
                                         determine whether he’ll take a             about standards and creating plans
                                         vertical or horizontal approach to         to achieve them; however, remaining
                                         the program, he confidently stated,         unaware of the standards or
                                         “The Texas Pharmacy Museum will            choosing to ignore them is not one
                                         be a stronger, better-run institution      of them.
                                         because of StEPs.”                              “We will not budge on high
                                              The final speaker was Texas            standards in Texas museums,”
                                         Association of Museums (TAM)               Rugg concluded. ★
                                         executive director Ruth Ann
                                         Rugg. As head of the statewide             This article was written by Carlyn Hammons
                                                                                    of the THC’s History Programs Division.
                                         membership organization for

                                                                                                      TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION
                                                           13
                                                            PROGRAM FOCUS


                                    The Main Street Experience
                              Preserving Texas’ Historic Downtowns Involves
                                    More Than Physical Revitalization




T
Throughout the state, the Texas Main                          Over the previous several decades,   and the town squares, once the heart
Street Program’s (TMSP) visible                          this collective sense of community        of downtown, were ignored.
benefits—revitalized facades, spruced-                    pride often took a detour, from a              “Things started to change in
up signage, pedestrian-friendly                          downtown focus to outside the city        the late 1970s when downtown
streetscapes—are on display much                         limits. At one time, a community’s        revitalization began to be recognized
like the appealing wares showcased in                    commercial center represented a           as an activity worth pursuing,” says
the historic windows of small towns                      vibrant, pedestrian-friendly, relevant    Debra Farst, TMSP coordinator.
and urban centers. Sometimes lost in                     environment. When sprawl appeared,        “This initial effort, which was a pilot
the improvement process, however,                        everything changed. Most goods and        project undertaken by the National
are the abstract concepts of support                     services relocated to strip centers,      Trust for Historic Preservation,
and effort carried out by the people                     malls, and large industrial parks.        brought forth an understanding
involved with bringing a Main Street                     Main Street became bereft of activity     that historic downtowns represent
project to fruition.                                     and prosperity. People moved to           not only a community’s collective
                                                                                 the suburbs.      memories, but they also provide
                                                                                 Cars became       viable economic uses for today.”
                                                                                 essential for          According to Howard Langner,
                                                                                 access to         a TMSP architect, participants
                                                                                 education,        in the downtown revitalization
                                                                                 goods,            process have learned many valuable
                                                                                 and services.     lessons over previous decades that
                                                                                      The          are increasingly taking hold of the
                                                                                 buildings         public consciousness. He suggests
                                                                                 left behind       the following to make preservation’s
                                                                                 represented a     intangible concepts more discernible:
                                                                                 rich tapestry     ■ Old buildings provide a strong
                                                                                 of history.       sense of place and should be viewed
                                                                                 Eventually, a     as primary resources in historic
                                                                                 large number of   downtowns. Many architects
                                                                                 these buildings   have been trained to identify
                                                                                 were disfigured    architectural styles, but they have
                                                                                 by misguided      not been educated in classical design
                                                                                 rehabilitation    techniques. Many of the skills
                                                                                 or lost to        involved in physically repairing and
                                                                                 thoughtless       maintaining historic buildings have
Greenville’s Saturday Market Days draws residents to the downtown                demolition.       been lost. Whenever possible, employ
Market Square.                                                                   The meaning       qualified designers and tradespeople
                                                                                 of downtown       who understand and appreciate the
     From Main Street managers                           was forgotten, leaving us with empty      quality craftsmanship in historic
to local merchants to THC staff,                         storefronts and barren parking lots.      downtown buildings.
these participants share a common                        Vacant buildings came to be seen as       ■ It is important to ensure
passion for bringing Texas’ historic                     eyesores instead of opportunities.        downtown building owners view
downtowns back to life. At the heart                          Gone was the “public living          their properties as valuable assets and
of these individuals’ efforts is a respect               room” of Main Street. The window          not as costly burdens. No building
and concern for their hometowns,                         displays that had once enticed            owner should be expected to invest
native or adopted, short-term or                         customers were neglected, the art         in his or her building if there is no
long-term.                                               deco theater marquees went unlit,         hope of return on the investment.
TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION                                                                                                  www.thc.state.tx.us
                                                                        14
                                                                                                   Fostering Community
                                                                                                   Pride through
                                                                                                   Main Street
                                                                                                   Howard Langner, a veteran architect
                                                                                                   with the Texas Main Street Program,
                                                                                                   has participated in hundreds of
                                                                                                   downtown revitalization projects.
                                                                                                   He offers the following suggestions
                                                                                                   about establishing the conceptually
                                                                                                   abstract value of community pride.
                                                                                                   ■ Each of our towns is worth living
                                                                                                   in and worth visiting. We need to
                                                                                                   look at our communities with fresh
                                                                                                   eyes and ask ourselves, “Why would
                                                                                                   someone visit here? Why would
                                                                                                   someone want to live here?” We
                                                                                                   need to mine the history of our towns
                                                                                                   and recreate quality of life.
                                                                                                   ■ We need to instill increased
                                                                                                   pride in our downtowns. Schools,
Bastrop’s Main Street program fosters community pride with annual festivals and public events.     post offices, retail establishments,
                                                                                                   professional offices, recreational
A community must support its                             expansion or creation of almost           destinations, and residences need to
merchants through direct patronage                       6,400 businesses in their Main            be located near the town center to
or promotion.                                            Street districts.                         create round-the-clock vitality.
■ Think twice when downtown                                   “These reinvestments show that       ■ It’s important to foster awareness
development decisions are made on                        significant economic development           of history in our towns. Not just
behalf of traffic and not pedestrians.                    impact can be realized through            the “Elvis slept here” variety, but
Efficient movement of vehicles                            historic preservation,” Farst says. “As   the most significant aspects of a
around a town means less time                            we move toward the future, we’ll          community’s heritage. The sense of
spent in the community. This is the                      continue to provide encouragement,        “roots” creates pride and purpose for
opposite of what should be achieved.                     hope, and technical services for          a community.
■ Enticing people downtown on a                          communities that have just begun          ■ We should make our towns living
day-to-day basis requires making it                      their downtown revitalization             classrooms for our students. Not on
a desirable place to be. A few park                      journeys and for those that are           an occasional field-trip basis, but on
benches placed in a circle around                        maintaining existing programs.”           a day-to-day “here is how the county
a water fountain does not qualify.                            For more information about           courthouse works, here is how city
People need shade when it is hot and                     existing TMSP communities                 hall works, here is how business
sun when it is cold; they need food                      or how to get involvedd                      transacted
                                                                                                   is transacted” basis. Having our
and drink when they are hungry,                          with the program, call l                             placed
                                                                                                   schools plac in isolated campuses
a place to take the kids to play,                        512.463.6092 or visit                      miles from the downtown is contrary
entertainment, and a variety of                          www.thc.state.tx.us. ★                                  of
                                                                                                    to a sense o community.
goods and services. Without these,                                                                  ■ We need to get people downtown
they will get in a vehicle and go find                    This article was written by                   througho
                                                                                                       throughout the entire year, not just
them elsewhere.                                          TMSP staff.                                            a
                                                                                                        for the annual Christmas Pageant,
     Farst adds that these approaches                                                                   Shopper
                                                                                                        Shoppers Days, or Farm Festival.
                                                         Right: Youth volunteer
are enhanced and supported by                            to pick up trash around                        We need to make downtown the
the TMSP, which has helped                               downtown Mineola.                                     ch
                                                                                                     obvious choice for all things every
communities across Texas benefit                                                                                  The
                                                                                                           day. T less downtown is
from an economic reinvestment of                                                                             seen as a relic and the more
more than $2 billion, the creation                                                                           alive it seems, the more
of nearly 25,000 local jobs, and the                                                                         chance it has for success.
                                                                                                             cha

July/August 2010
                                                                               15
                                                  NEWS IN BRIEF



How to Bake a Memorable                                                                  Slaton Bakery owner
Marker Ceremony                                                                          Robin Wilson displays
The Lubbock County Historical                                                            the replica THC marker
                                                                                         cake made especially
Commission (CHC) held a                                                                  for the bakery’s recent
memorable and tasteful historical                                                        marker dedication
marker dedication on April 10 in                                                         ceremony. Photo by
Slaton. Community representatives    es                                                  Sandy Fortenberry.
and CHC members
appropriately celebrated the
new marker for Slaton Bakery   y
with a full-sized cake and
medallion cookies.
     “The cake was a very
tasty replica of the marker,
with the seal, lettering, the
whole bit!” reported Sally
Abbe of Lubbock.
     The marker (and
cake) commemorated
Slaton Bakery, one of
Texas’ oldest still-
operating bakeries.
The business traces
its origins to 1923,
when Slaton’s Blue
Ribbon and City Bakeries  i
consolidated. In 1943, the
Wilson family purchased the
bakery, and they continue to operate
the popular business.
     Among the bakery’s notable
morsels are its introduction of sliced
hamburger and hot dog buns to
the area, as well as an early offering
of flour tortillas on its menu. The        complete their projects, the grant      conservation treatments. Museums
Wilson family has baked thousands         program timeline is moving up by        that focus primarily on history, have
of cakes—for births, graduations,         one month.                              a budget of less than $350,000, use
weddings, anniversaries, and other            Applications will be available      a written collections management
occasions—over a 60-year span for         on the THC website beginning            policy, and meet other minimum
many of its regular customers.            August 2 and are due on September       requirements are eligible to apply.
                                          8. Applicants can expect award               To learn more about the
                                          notifications directly following the     eligibility requirements, or to discuss
THC History Museum Grant                  THC’s fall quarterly commission         a possible project proposal, contact
Application Period                        meeting at the end of October, and      the THC’s Museum Services Program
Begins August 2                           successful applicants can begin their   staff at history@thc.state.tx.us.
Each year, the Texas Historical           projects immediately. Projects must
Commission (THC) helps small              be completed by July 1, 2011.           San Antonio Golf
history museums preserve our state’s          Popular uses of the funds
heritage by awarding up to $10,000        include purchasing acid-free storage
                                                                                  Tournament to Benefit
in grant money for collections care       supplies, environmental monitoring      Hispanic Heritage Center
projects. This year, in an effort         equipment, collections management       San Antonio’s inaugural Hispanic
to allow museums more time to             software, storage units, and            Heritage Golf Cup Invitational

TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION                                                                                  www.thc.state.tx.us
                                                            16
     National Register News
     The National Register of Historic Places is the country’s official list of cultural resources deemed worthy of
     preservation, including more than 3,000 listings in Texas. Listing affords properties a measure of protection from
     the impact of federally funded projects, as well as access to technical expertise, tax credits, and grant funds to
     facilitate preservation. The following recently listed historic properties represent the real stories reflecting Texas’
     dynamic cultural heritage.
     Brownsville City Cemetery and Hebrew Cemetery—Brownsville,
     Cameron County
     The Brownsville City Cemetery and the Cemetery of the Hebrew Benevolent Society
     of Brownsville and Matamoros reflect the evolving physical and social structure
     in this city on the U.S./Mexico border during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
     Occupying three city blocks, the cemeteries represent the confluence of Mexican,
     Anglo American, Jewish, and Creole funerary practices. The cemeteries were listed
     in the National Register because they reflect critical planning
     decisions made during the city’s early development in the
     19th century and represent the historic ethnic, religious, and
     cultural diversity of Brownsville. The cemeteries were also
     listed at the statewide level of significance as outstanding
     examples of cemetery design and for their vast and distinct
     collection of funerary structures and objects. The cemeteries
     feature notable works of accomplished sculptors and examples
     of regional folk design, retaining an exceptional array of
     decorative fences, mausoleums, grave markers, and plantings.
     Faison House—La Grange, Fayette County
                             The Nathaniel W. Faison House was listed at the local level of significance as an
                             example of vernacular domestic architecture reflecting different periods of 19th-
                             century settlement in Texas. The property consists of three separate volumes joined
                             together by a rear U-shaped porch and courtyard. The period of significance begins
                             with the purchase of the property by Faison in 1866 and ends with the 1920 death
                             of Susan Faison, widow of Peter Faison, whose family constructed the central and
                             last section of the home in 1884 and filled it with the fine furnishings that remain
                                              today. Another significant date is 1870, the year in which freedwoman
                                              Louisiana “Lou Faison” Brown became owner of the residence.
                                              Although it is possible other freedwomen in Texas owned homes
                                              earlier than Brown, no other examples are currently known. The
                                              Faison House is nominated at the state level of significance for its
                                              association with Brown as well as Faison, an early Texas settler who
                                              fought for the Republic and found success in land, cotton,
                                              and merchandising.


Tournament will be held July 24 at            “shotgun start” takes place at 8 a.m.        Lopez and Tony Cherone, general
the prestigious La Cantera Resort             Contests include “closest to the pin”        manager of the Westin La Cantera
Golf Course.                                  and “longest drive” awards, and              Resort, will benefit the planned
     The event will feature                   a Traveling Heritage Cup will be             Hispanic Heritage Center of
entertainment, celebrities, sports            assigned to one of the winning teams         Texas. For more information or
figures, and golfers from San Antonio,         from Texas, Mexico, or Spain.                to sign up, contact Ron Botello
Mexico, and Spain. The tournament                  The tournament, co-chaired by           at 210.241.5767. ★
will begin with a breakfast, and the          San Antonio City Councilman Ray

July/August 2010                                                                                           TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION
                                                                17
                                                        SITE SPOTLIGHT


                               Starr Family Home to Shine
                              Even Brighter After Restoration



P
Part of the Marshall community               foundation shifts, and material                     The THC is responsible for
for more than a century, the Starr           breakdown. Architectural repairs               ensuring the preservation work is
Family Home State Historic Site is a         and accessibility enhancements are             authentic, especially when there is
remarkable example of 19th-century           scheduled to be completed this year            a need for replacing or repairing
architecture and family heritage.            with a primary focus on exterior               materials. Accurate recordings of a
Visitors to the home can see family          restoration including replacement of           building’s creation and maintenance
portraits, hand-carved furnishings,          rotten wood, fresh paint, complete             are important for conservation
and delicate collections of glassware        window restoration, and storm water            and interpretation.
and china. The site’s collection is          drainage system repairs.                            The Starr Family Home has
composed of original pieces from the              “The beauty of historic buildings         become a community cornerstone
Starr family and is now part of the          is that they were put together by hand         where a variety of events take place
authentic experience of viewing the          with individual components that,               such as weddings and family get-
elegant lifestyle of a bygone era. Each      with proper care, can be sustained             togethers. Major activities at the
room of this real place is filled with        virtually forever,” said Glenn Reed,           site include the annual croquet
memories that evoke real stories of          chief architect for the Texas Historical       tournament in June, the Victorian
Texas history.                               Commission’s (THC) 20 historic                 Fair for school children in the fall, and
      The Starr family played an             sites. “Preserving an old structure            the holiday candlelight dinner and
important role in the state’s history        requires an intense analysis of the            tour of the house from Thanksgiving
from the formative years of the              building to determine the cause of             through Christmas.
Republic of Texas through the                each problem so we can stop further                 Due to the site’s ongoing
state’s growth in the late 1800s. Dr.        deterioration. While there may be              preservation projects, visitors are
James Harper Starr was president             many correct treatments, there is only         encouraged to call ahead to ensure
of the board of land commissioners           one correct diagnosis.”                        tours and events remain available. ★
and receiver of the land dues for
Nacogdoches County, secretary of the                                                        This article was written by Sarah Tober of the
                                                                                            THC’s Marketing Communications Division.
treasury for the Republic of Texas, a
local banker, and a prominent land
agent. Starr County was named
after him.
      Dr. Starr bought 52 acres on the                                                Background: Four generations
                                                                                       of Starr family members lived
edge of Marshall in 1870, establishing
                                                                                        at Maplecroft, the family
this site as the family’s home. He                                                      mansion built in the 1870s.
resided there with his wife Harriet                                                      Inset: Portrait of James
and their granddaughters, and                                                            Franklin Starr.
provided property for his children to
create homes for their own families.
      Preservation design work is
now underway at the property’s
architectural centerpiece, Maplecroft,
which housed four Starr family
generations. Though the conservation
effort will require the structure to
be temporarily closed to the
public, it is vital for extending
its life and use.                     Starr Family Home State Historic Site
      A number of factors                407 W. Travis St., Marshall, TX
contribute to the deterioration                    903.935.3044
of old houses including years            www.visitstarrfamilyhome.com
of weathering, wear and tear            Open: Tues.–Sun., 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
by inhabitants and visitors,
TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION
                                                                   18
  The Medallion is published bimonthly by
  the Texas Historical Commission. Address
                                                                                            &TOOLS
                                                                       County Historical Commission

                                                                        TIPS
  correspondence to: Managing Editor,
  The Medallion, P.O. Box 12276, Austin, TX
  78711-2276. Portions of the newsletter that
  are not copyrighted or reprinted from other
  sources may be reprinted with permission.
  Contributions for the support of this
  publication are gratefully accepted. For
  information about alternate formats of
  this publication, contact the THC
  at 512.463.6255.

  TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION
  Commissioners:
  Jon T. Hansen, Chair
  David A. Gravelle, Vice Chair
  Diane D. Bumpas, Secretary
  Thomas E. Alexander      Steven L. Highlander
  Earl Broussard Jr.       Sarita A. Hixon
  Donna D. Carter          Sheri S. Krause
  A. Mario Castillo        Gilbert E. Peterson
  Leslie “Kirk” Courson    Thomas R. Phillips
  John W. Crain            Nancy M. Steves             CHC workshop registrants worked together in regional groups during this year’s Annual Historic
  Lisa A. Hembry           Marcus W. Watson            Preservation Conference to address shared challenges.
  Commissioner Emeritus: T. R. Fehrenbach




                                                       W
  Executive Director: Mark Wolfe
  Medallion Staff:
                                                       With the conclusion of another                       ■ Listen before you leap. Take time
  Heather McBride          Director of Marketing       successful Annual Historic                           to speak with the individual and give
  Barbara Putrino          Editor                      Preservation Conference, the County                  them a chance to explain why they
  Andy Rhodes              Managing Editor
  Judy Jensen              Senior Graphic Designer     Historical Commission (CHC)                          continue to pursue an issue. Showing
  Shayla Groves            Graphic Designer            Outreach team would like to thank                    interest in their concerns may help
                                                       CHC members for attending the                        put both of you at ease.
                ISSN 0890-7595
                Vol. 47, No. 7–8                       conference, especially those who                     ■ Take a backseat. Try to put your
    www.thc.state.tx.us    thc@thc.state.tx.us         participated in the CHC workshop.                    personal feelings (on the issue or
  The Medallion is financed in part by a grant
                                                       After a brief overview of annual                     person) aside to address the matters
  from the National Park Service, U.S.                 reporting results, workshop                          at hand. Regardless of whether or
  Department of the Interior. All of the agency’s      attendees separated into regional                    not you agree with the individual, you
  public programs and activities are operated
  free from discrimination on the basis of race,       groups to discuss common issues                      can acknowledge their interest and
  color, national origin, age, gender or disability.   and to share possible solutions.                     try to understand their position.
  Any person who believes he or she has been           Participants also had the opportunity                ■ Be slow to speak. As a CHC
  discriminated against should write to Office
  of Equal Opportunity, U.S. Department of             to ask questions about their roles                   member, you are not expected to
  the Interior, Washington, DC 20240.                  as CHC appointees and about                          have all the answers all the time.
  The Medallion is available online at www.thc.
                                                       preservation in general. This and                    It is perfectly appropriate when
  state.tx.us/medallionmag/mddefault.shtml. If         future editions of Tips & Tools will                 confronted with a difficult issue (or
  you would prefer to receive The Medallion            address the questions posed.                         person) to take time to gather your
  electronically instead of through the mail,
  please send your name and address to                      Several CHC members asked                       thoughts, research some options,
  thc@thc.state.tx.us. You will be notified by          for recommendations on how to                        and provide a well-worded response.
  email when each new issue is available on the        deal with difficult people. Since the                 ■ Take the high road. Whether the
  THC web site and will no longer receive a
  printed copy.                                        THC relies on CHCs to be the local                   issues are on the level or if they
                                                       face of preservation, it is important                spiral down to personal attacks, the
                 Our Mission                           that a positive impression be made                   priority is to maintain respect for
          To protect and preserve                      on community members and to                          each person and to do whatever you
     the state’s historic and prehistoric              bring others into the preservation                   can to show stewardship of your role
      resources for the use, education,                fold. To this end, here are familiar                 and responsibilities. ★
     enjoyment and economic benefit                     but effective ways to approach
     of present and future generations.
                                                       any situation:
July/August 2010                                                                                                                TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION
                                                                          19
 THIRD NOTICE                                                                              PRESORTED
 Texas law requires state newsletters to                                                    STANDARD
 notify recipients in three consecutive                                                 U.S. POSTAGE PAID
 issues that to continue receiving the                                                      AUSTIN, TX
                                                                                         PERMIT NO. 1938
 publication, they must request it
 once each year. To maintain your free
 subscription to The Medallion, please
 mail or fax this portion of the page
 (including the mailing label) to:

 The Medallion Circulation
 P.O. Box 12276
 Austin, TX 78711-2276
 Fax: 512.463.6374


 Signature                      Date


 Email




                                           W H E R E O N E A RT H . . . I N T E X A S




W
Where on Earth? You tell us! Write to the Texas
Historical Commission, P.O. Box 12276, Austin,
TX 78711-2276. You also may fax your answer to
512.463.6374 or email it to medallion@thc.state.
tx.us. The first three people who correctly guess
the site will be named with the answer in the
September/October issue of The Medallion. The
first correct mail answer will be counted, even if
correct emails and faxes arrive first. Limit one prize
annually per contestant.
Want a clue? This Queen Anne style, 7,100 square-
foot structure (1904) was the only facility of its kind
in this primarily rural region of the Texas Brazos
Trail Region.
                          Answer to the photo from
                          the last issue: The building
                          pictured at left is La Lomita
                          chapel, located four miles
                          south of Mission. Standing
                          on a small hill (la lomita
                          in Spanish), it is located
                          on property awarded as
                          Spanish land grants in
1767. Congratulations to the first readers who
submitted the correct answer: Larry Hunt of
Carthage, Carolyn Nelson of Austin, Sharon Richard
of Sour Lake, and Annette Sotelo of San Antonio.
They will receive prizes from our Texas Heritage
Trails Program, the THC’s regional tourism
initiative, as a token of our appreciation for taking
part in the fun. Thanks to all participants! ★
                                                   www.thc.state.tx.us

				
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