Milam County Historical Commission
Milam County, Texas
                          MILAM COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION
                       Thorndale Chamber of Commerce, Thorndale
                                    Meeting Minutes
                                    April 10, 2017

The Milam County Historical Commission met at the Thorndale Chamber of Commerce in Thorndale, Texas on April 10, 2017.  The meeting was called to order by Chairperson Lynn Young at 10:03 a.m.
 
Chair Young welcomed members and guests and circulated the attendance and work related hours sheet. Chair Lynn Young then led the pledges to the flags of the United States of America and Texas.
 
Lynn graciously thanked our hosts, the Thorndale Chamber of Commerce, Jack and Beth Brooks.  Lynn also welcomed new members to the commission, Zane and Eunice Stigall.

The minutes of the February 13, 2017 meeting were approved as presented by motion of Lucile Estell and Randy Billingsley.  The motion was adopted.
  
Darleen Tucker presented the Treasurer's Report as follows:
For the month of March, 2017, the beginning balance was $13,316.30, revenue was $982.57 and disbursements were $29.75. After deducting $4,000.00 reserved for the Rosenwald School, the actual balance for the month ending March 31, 2017 is $10,269.12. 

The MCHC Preservation Fund reflected a beginning balance of $5,172.47, revenue of $2.98 (interest income), no disbursements for an ending balance on March 31, 2017 of $5,175.45.

Motion was made to accept the Treasurer's Report as presented by Randy Billingsley, seconded by James Bradford and adopted.

Lynn Young reminded all members to turn in their money collected for book pre-sales.

Jane Becker, Vice President of the Thorndale branch of Prosperity Bank, presented an interesting history of the almost 100 year old bank.  She displayed old photographs and newspaper clippings and invited all to visit the bank following the meeting.
Committee Reports:

a. Bridge Committee: Jack Brooks - Joan Ratliff reported that Encore will provide lights for Bridge Park.

b. CLG - Geri Burnett expressed appreciation to Perry and Perry for the use of their lift and employees to remove the remainder of the stained glass windows in the historic Wallis home in Rockdale.

Geri also reported that our grant application for a video on the historic waterways of Milam County was not approved.  However, suggestions were made for other avenues for the video.  Additionally, the CLG Committee would be assessing the condition of all of the historical markers in the county and prioritizing repairs.

A discussion followed on the condition of the Courthouse and needed maintenance and repairs.  Lynn explained the budgetary constraints due to the economic environment in Rockdale and that she has requested assistance from the Texas Historical Commission to prioritize repairs.

c. Preservation Grant Fund:  Denice Doss reported that the $5,000 from the City of Rockdale had been received which will be used for the Rockdale Historical Society ($2700) and the Kay Theater ($2300).   The SPJST Lodge in Buckholts has requested an extension on their grant from 2016.

d. Cemetery Committee: Jack Brooks discussed the work needed at the Jewish Cemetery and Old City Cemetery in Rockdale.  The Texas Jewish Historical Society has $525 in funding and Mr. Lipsitz has contributed $500 for fencing, headstone repair and erosion control at the Jewish Cemetery.

Jack advised that the City has $1700 allocated for the Old City Cemetery.    Approximately $1600 would be needed for a historical marker at the Cemetery. Wallace Jones chairs the Rockdale Cemetery Committee.

e. Marker Committee - Joan Ratliff
Joan suggested that a portion of the Hotel Occupancy Tax funds may be available for a historical marker for the Old City Cemetery.  The Cemetery received a Historic Cemetery Designation in 2016 as a result of the research provided by students at Texas State University.

Old Business:

a. “Historic Bridges of Milam County” book:  Lucile Estell and Geri Burnett reported that the books have been received and will be stored at the Rockdale Chamber of Commerce.  To date, 268 books have been sold. Future books signings are scheduled for:
April 18, Milam County Museum, Cameron – 1:00 pm
April 20, Lucy Hill Patterson Library, Rockdale - 6 – 7:00 pm
April 12, 2017, Thorndale Chamber of Commerce, 1:00 pm

b. El Camino Real de los Tejas National Trail report:  John Pruett reported on the visit to Gause Survey site by the Members of the Board of Directors of the El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail and the Milam County Historical Commission.  Lynn mentioned the Texas Parks and Wildlife would be filming sites in Milam County for its weekly PBS series and magazine.

c. Historic Wallis home:  Lynn advised she had appointed a committee consisting of Annette Stone, Geri Burnett and herself to determine the best way to sell the salvageable items before the historic home was demolished for the new Police Station.  Lynn has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the City that any funds raised could be used for the restoration of the stained glass which would be placed in a City building.  Lynn advised a yard sale was set for May 6th and asked for volunteers to help with the sale.  Geri reported that the Crown Garden Club had removed some of the historic plants and replanted them in the Old City Cemetery.

d. Rosenwald School:  Geri Burnett advised there had been no change in the status of the deed, therefore no further work could be one on the site.  The county funds were designated to Rosenwald School and could not be used for another site. 
Strategic Plan – Joan Ratliff:  No report
Old City Hall public hearing -  A Town Hall meeting was held April 6th at the Lucy Hill Patterson Library in Rockdale regarding the planned Police Station.

New Business:
Lynn distributed copies of HB 3418 and HB 4146 and encouraged members to contact their representatives and express opposition to it.  Lynn will testify before the Urban Affairs Committee on April 11th in opposition to HB 3418.
James Bradford moved that copies of “The Bridges of Milam County” books be given to each past and current County Judge and County Commissioner as well as to each of the Libraries and High Schools in the county.  The motion was seconded by Geri Burnett and approved.  Lynn encouraged the Commission members to attend the Commissioner’s Court presentation on April 24th.

Lynn reported that the Executive Committee recommended the story boards located in Cameron and Gause be removed as they are faded and inaccurate.  Joan Ratliff moved to accept the recommendation of the Executive Committee.  Lucile Estell seconded the motion and it was approved.

Chairperson Young asked if there was any objection to creating a Milam County Historical Commission Facebook page.  Hearing none, it was approved by consensus.
Lynn reminded the members to pick up and distribute the Bridges books which they have pre-sold.

Announcements:
Chairperson Lynn Young announced the next meeting would be June 12th at the Beard Rock House in Milano.

Chairperson Young thanked everyone for supporting the efforts to preserve, protect and promote the history of Milam County. James Bradford moved to adjourn the meeting at 11:53 a.m.  The motion was seconded by Randy Billingsley and adopted.
Respectfully submitted,


Annabelle Hodge-Heine, Secretary

                        
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                           MILAM COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION
                    San Gabriel Christian Church, San Gabriel, Texas
                              Minutes - February 13, 2017

The first meeting of the Milam County Historical Commission for the year 2017 met at the San Gabriel Christian Church in San Gabriel, Texas, on February 13, 2017.  The meeting was called to order by Chairperson Lynn Young at 10:05 a.m.

Chair Lynn Young then led the Pledge to the flags of the United States of America and Texas.  Lynn circulated the attendance and work related hours sheet.

Lynn graciously thanked our hosts, the San Gabriel Christian Church, Annabelle Hodge-Heine and Carole Simank.  Annabelle Hodge-Heine welcomed visiting guests Zane Stigall and Eunice Stigall.  Lynn also warmly welcomed new members to the commission, Randy Billingsley and Holly Jentsch.

The corrected minutes of the December 12, 2017, meeting previously emailed to members were accepted by motion of Geri Burnett and seconded by Randy Billingsley.  The motion was adopted.
 
Darleen Tucker presented the Treasurer's Report as follows:
For the month of December, 2016 the beginning balance was $12,679.00, revenue of $204.85. After deducting $4,000.00 reserved for the Rosenwald School, the actual balance for the year ending December 31, 2016 is $8,883.85.
 
The MCHC Preservation Fund reflected a beginning balance of $9,175.47, revenue of $535.93, disbursement of $550.00, (2016 grant payment to Milam County Museum) for an ending balance on December 31, 2016 of $9,161.40.
 
January 2017, reflected a beginning balance of $12,883.85, revenue of $183.15 from Milam County Historical Bridges book sales, including $4,000.00 reserved for the Rosenwald School, leaving an actual balance of $9,067.00.

The MCHC Preservation Fund showed a beginning balance of $9,161.40 with revenue of $5.97, interest income.  Disbursements included $4,000.00 to Rockdale Historical Society leaving an ending balance on January 30, 2017, of $5,167.37.

Motion was made to accept the Treasurer's Report as presented by Randy Billingsley, seconded by James Bradford.  The motion was adopted.

Lynn Young reminded all members to turn in their money collected for book pre-sales.

OLD BUSINESS:

a. “Historic Bridges of Milam County” book:  Lucile Estell and Geri Burnett reported that the books will be shipped on March 20 or March 21.  Geri displayed an advance copy. The Rockdale Chamber of Commerce has agreed to store the books in their offices.  Posters provided by the publisher will be placed throughout the county for advertisement purposes when the books arrive. Several local businesses have agreed for us to place books in their businesses for consignment.  Geri reported book pre-sales are going very well with $2,445.00 having been sold, still owing $4,752.00 to be paid thirty days from date of receipt of books.  Scheduled book signings are:
     April 7, 2017, Lucy Hill Patterson Library from 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
     April 18, Milam County Museum, Cameron – 1:00 pm
     April 20, Lucy Hill Patterson Library, Rockdale - 6 – 7:00 pm
     April 12, 2017, Thorndale Chamber of Commerce, time TBA

b. El Camino Real de los Tejas National Trail report:  John Pruett announced a lot of activity in this area.  John Pruett and Lynn Young serve on the Board of Directors. John recommended that anyone interested in this field become a member. John reported the possibility of the development of a Model Trail Community with Milam County leading the effort. John noted that it is very imperative that the public be educated in the archaeological history.  Members of the Board of Directors will be visiting the Gause Survey site in February.

c. Historic Wallis home:  This historic home was built in the 1880's near the railroad and is believed to be the oldest home in Rockdale.  Geri Burnett reported that the home was destroyed by fire about one year ago.  The City of Rockdale has purchased the property to build a new Police Station.  MCHC has permission to enter the property to remove the Victorian stained glass windows.  One window in particular, located on the west side of the home, shows promise for possible salvage in making mementos or other items of interest.  Annette Stone and Friends of the Library suggested the possibility other salvageable items in the home might be used for the same purpose.  Some relics are unsalvageable.  It was also mentioned by Geri that plants on the grounds of the property will be transplanted to various locations at opportune times.  This project is ongoing.  Work is still in progress.

d. Rosenwald School:  Geri Burnett reported conferring with John Reddington, Milam County Assistant District Attorney, who advised they have monetarily settled with other citizens but will not pursue restitution of the $6,000.00 donated to Rosenwald School by MCHC for the re-roofing project. Mr. Bean was paid the $6,000.00 but failed to complete the project for various unacceptable reasons. This appears to be a lost cause.

OTHER OLD BUSINESS:  None

NEW BUSINESS:

a. Old City Hall public hearing:  Chair Lynn Young announced a scheduled public hearing on March 2, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. at The Patterson Center,  Rockdale, Texas, to discuss the future of the Old City Hall.  Various suggestions have been submitted and will be heard at this time.  Lynn asked that all MCHC members be present if possible to voice their opinions and input.

b. Rancherio Grande visit:  Dr. Estell reported on the planned visit February 21, 2017 and encouraged the MCHC members to attend.  Presentations will be made by Sergio Ireguas, Archaeologist and Steven Gonzalez, Executive Director of the El Camino Real National Historic Trail. Dr. Estell encouraged all to read Texas in the Middle 18th Century by Herbert E. Bolton.

c. The Central Texas Historical Commission:  The Central Texas Historical Commission was organized January 25, 2015.  The Association is dedicated to the preservation of Central Texas history and culture; to the support of state and local historical society’s museums, and archives; and to the teaching of all areas of history related to the Central Texas region.  Their recent publication featured Rainbow Courts.  http://www.centexhistassn.org/

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

a. Bridge Committee: Jack Brooks
Chairperson Lynn Young reported in the absence of Jack Brooks that Perry & Perry have placed Sheckles and Galbreath Bridges on their new pylons at Bridge Park.
 
b. CLG-Geri Burnett:  Geri Burnett reported that our grant application for a video on the history waterways of Milam County was not approved.  However, suggestions were made for other avenues for the video.  She also reported the CLG Committee would be assessing the condition of all of the historical markers in the county and prioritizing repairs.

c. Preservation Grant Fund:  Denice Doss reported that the committee met in January. She explained that the City of Rockdale decided to restrict the expenditure of their $5,000 contribution to historic properties within the city limits.  The Committee selected two recipients:  Rockdale Historical Society ($2700) and the Kay Theater ($2300). Other recipients outside the city of Rockdale include the Milam County Historical Museum ($700) and the El Camino Real National Historic Trail ($1,000).
 
d. Cemetery Committee:  Jack Brooks
James Bradford, Jack Brooks and Holly Jentsch visited the Liberty Hill Cemeteries and straightened headstones.  James and Holly reported, in the absence of Jack, finding the old cemetery to be in good condition but the new cemetery in need of care.  This is possibly due to some conflict as to the actual ownership of the new cemetery.

e. Marker Committee - Joan Ratliff
In the absence of Joan, it was reported by Lynn Young that there are no applications pending.  She also shared with the members the Historical Marker Maps of Milam County from the Cameron Herald and Thorndale Champion newspapers.

Annabelle Hodge-Heine gave a brief history of the town of San Gabriel and the San Gabriel Christian Church. The Stigalls provided a brief history of San Gabriel Baptist Church and the school.

Chairperson Lynn Young announced the next meetings to be on April 10 at the Thorndale Chamber of Commerce and visit to Prosperity Bank and June 12 at the Beard Rock House in Milano.

Chairperson Young thanked everyone for supporting the efforts to preserve, protect and promote the history of Milam County. The meeting was adjourned at 11:20 a.m. by motion from Randy Billingsley, seconded by Geri Burnett.  The motion was adopted.

Respectfully submitted,

Annabelle Hodge-Heine, Secretary




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Minutes of meetings
2017
Milam County Historical Commission - Milam County, TX
Statue of Ben Milam at Milam County, TX Courthouse
Old Junior High School Building, Rockdale, TX
Milam County Courthouse - Cameron, TX
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