BCHC honored for seventh year

Lew Cohn/The Highlander
The Burnet County Commissioners Court honored members of the Burnet County Historical Commission on Tuesday, June 26, after the BCHC received the Distinguished Service Award from the Texas Historical Commission for the seventh year in a row.





By Lew K. Cohn

Managing Editor

The Highlander

Members of the Burnet County Historical Commission proudly received another Distinguished Service Award on Tuesday, June 26, from the Texas Historical Commission during the regular Burnet County Commissioners Court meeting.

It is the seventh consecutive time the BCHC has received the award, which honors the county commission's efforts to preserve and promote local history. Burnet County was one of 80 recipients of the award in 2017.

BCHC chairman JoAnn Myers said 29 members from the local commission provided some 3,180 volunteer hours in 2017.

“That is the same as an in-kind donation to the county of $76,000,” Myers said. “Statewide, the Texas Historical Commission reported more than 400,000 volunteer hours for the state for that period and that is valued at more than $10 million. That is quite an accomplishment for volunteers statewide.”

Myers gave commissioners a report on some of the projects which earned the commission recognition from the state. A nine-member committee has launched an oral history project “to capture local history and preserve memories from our aging citizens who were a part of that history,” Myers said.

“We have interviewed 20 already and we have a lot more on the list and we will continue that in 2018,” she added.

In 2017, another committee recognized 13 Burnet County “Women of Note,” honoring them with a luncheon and with certificates and biographies of their contributions. Those honored include Jane Knapik, Mary Jane (Ott) Allen, Myrl (Stewart) Allen, Ada Reed McGill Brewer, Marjorie Bronk, Estelle Bryson, Annie May Cowan, Kate Craddock, Lucille Debo, Madolyn Frasier, Birdie Harwood, Emma Lee Miller and Johnnie Mae (Brooks) Wheeler.

Last July, as a result of research spearheaded by Carole Goble to research historic businesses within Burnet County, the very first Texas Treasure Business Award in the county went to First State Bnak of Burnet, which has been in business for more than 100 years, including more than 50 years in the same location. A reception at the bank, organized by Tommye and John Potts, honored this achievement.

The First State Bank was chartered October 5, 1908, with 31 shareholders. The first officers were W. W. Taylor, president, and W. C. Galloway, cashier. It was first located in a two-story brick building on the southwest corner of Pierce and Jackson Streets, on the square. They have been at their present location at Pierce and Washington street since 1964.

The Texas Treasure Business Award program pays tribute to businesses that have provided employment opportunities and support to the state's economy for 50 years or more. Created in 2005 through legislation authored by Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio) and sponsored by Rep. Charles “Doc” Anderson (R-Waco), the program recognizes well-established Texas businesses and their exceptional historical contributions to the state's economic growth and prosperity.

Myers said an education committee led by former Burnet CISD teacher Samantha Melvin has developed a curriculum for use by local schools which incorporates artifacts from Fort Croghan in Burnet.

“Teachers can use that curriculum in their classrooms or at the fort and they can borrow traveling kits that may be checked out and used in the classroom that go with the curriculum,” Myers said.

Myers also noted the BCHC hosted a regional training workshop for the Texas Historical Commission in Burnet which brought 84 participants from throughout the state to the area.

Also, the local commission took part in the purchase and dedication of historical markers at the iron bridges at Russell Fork and North San Gabriel in Joppa and held a successful fish fry fundraiser at Fort Croghan to raise money to help with continued preservation efforts.

“That is just a small part of what we have done, but we have been able to conitnue this work for preservation projects not just because of our members, but in large part, because of the support of the county judge and commissioners,” Myers said. “I want to thank you for your encouragement; your financial support has enabled us to plan and complete many important projects for the county.”

County Judge James Oakley saluted the members, noting “the preservation of history is a big responsibility and I am excited and enthusiastic about the work you do.”

Precinct 1 Commissioner Jim Luther Jr. gave a special thank you to the commission as his father, the late Jim Luther Sr., was interviewed this year as part of the Oral History Project, prior to his passing last month.

And Precinct 2 Commissioner Russell Graeter told the commission of his appreciation for their work as well.

“It is amazing when a group of people with soft, kind hearts get together to do the work you do,” Graeter said. “It is not for you, but for our future, that you do this and the people who are coming up behind us who will be able to look and study the history of this area.”

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