BCHC recognized for distinguished service

Lew K. Cohn/Burnet Bulletin


Special to the Bulletin

Last month, the Burnet County Historical Commission was honored by the Texas Historical Commission as they were awarded the Distinguished Service Award (DSA), which recognizes County Historical Commissions that document well-rounded preservation programs and efforts. Burnet County commissioners recognized them at their Tuesday, July 9 regular meeting, after BCHC Chair JoAnn Myers reported on the accomplishments of the commission's volunteers.

The THC reported a 2018 total of 447,079 volunteer hours, the monetary equivalent of more than $11.3 million, from 189 counties. The BCHC, one of the 80 recipients of the DSA, racked up 4,936 of those volunteer hours, equaling a $125,522 value to Burnet County. Volunteer hours have grown exponentially since 2016, when the BCHC had 30 volunteers who contributed 2,815 hours, valuing at $67,954.

The BCHC's activities reported to the THC included 10 regular meetings held during the year as well as eight committee meetings, researching and reviewing applications for historical markers, maintaining an inventory of subject markers in the county, which is available on the BCHC website, and participating in community planning events with the preservation of historic and cultural resources kept in mind.

One BCHC appointee is a member of Burnet's City Historic Board that provides approval for any repair or change to property in the city's historic district; two appointees are contributing to the Burnet city tourism guide book, which will include County historic sites; two appointees serve on the Marble Falls Parks Committee, which has led the effort for the Marble Falls cemetery to be designated a Historic Cemetery and approved for a Texas Historic Marker; various appointees are members of a committee formed to restore the historic pioneer home, the Fuchs' House, now owned by the City of Horseshoe Bay; several appointees are members of the Board of Directors for the Fort Croghan and Falls on the Colorado Museums; and the BCHC provides input to each of these committees and Boards.

The BCHC continues to record oral histories of County residents, adding to their collection of 18 recordings.

The biggest event the BCHC worked on last year was the fundraiser held to benefit Fort Croghan, which raised $4,900 for the improvement of Fort Croghan, emphasized heritage tourism, and was promoted in April as an opportunity to celebrate Texas and San Jacinto Day as well as to preserve Fort Croghan.

The BCHC did not accomplish all of this on their own. They partnered with the Burnet County Heritage Society, caretakers of the museum and grounds, Burnet CISD, local merchants, scouts, car clubs, and crafters, in addition to their own CLG committee for planning and work during the event.

The Daughters of the Republic of Texas led the opening ceremonies, the Boy Scouts raised the Texas and United States flags, and members very successfully sold specially designed tote bags and T-shirts, handmade wagon train dolls, Burnet County History books, gift baskets, and a fried catfish meal.

The BCHC advertised with flyers distributed to local businesses, the Chamber of Commerce, and released articles in the newspapers throughout the Burnet County and surrounding counties as well as through social media and radio.

“The result was truly a community effort to put on the fundraising event, while bringing attention to not only the fort itself, but also to the need for preservation efforts,” said Myers. “Many visitors came from outside Burnet County who had never heard of Fort Croghan and said they would definitely come back during the summer.

“Proceeds enabled a new roof for the museum and other much needed improvement items for the fort,” Myers added.

In planning for the 2019-2020 term, the BCHC is developing criteria for requesting funds from the Ina Cooper bequest, working on the possibility of a fundraiser for the Fuchs' House, researching more Texas Rangers for recognition, applying for more historical markers on sites and properties, and seeking more publicity to emphasize preservation and heritage.

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