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Fall 2009

Heritage Brazos Brazos River Snagboat, 1911


HOLIDAY HIGH TEA Sunday December 6, 2009 Seatings at 1:30 and 4:00

Astin Mansion 506 W. 26th Street Bryan

Tickets are Twenty-Five Dollars For Reservations, Please Call (979) 822-5326



President’s Column If you were unable to attend this year’s Fourth of July celebration in Heritage Park, you missed a festive afternoon and unseasonably delightful weather. Two or three hundred people turned out for the patriotic pageant, as well as the music, hot dogs, bicycle parade, antique car show, and free tour of the Cavitt House. We owe a special dept of gratitude to Glynis Gore, who was chief organizer, as well as to the many adults and children who helped in ways too numerous to mention. If you’d like to see some photos, you may do so at our new website <>. This has been a long time coming, we know, but the new site has several new features (with some additional ones in the works), and there is no danger of it being lost in cyber-limbo the way our last one was. One noteworthy feature allows you to listen to MP3 files of past episodes of Fran Lamb’s Heritage Highlights program. We are presently working on another new feature, to be called Past and Present, which will display side-by side photographs of Brazos county scenes as they appeared in the past and today. If you have interesting old photographs taken from identifiable locations that we could scan, please contact me at <>. We are not about to make the Brazos Heritage Society a virtual organization, and fully intend to continue flesh-and-blood functions such as the Forth of July and Holiday High Tea (see notice left), but we are at the same time working to use technology to improve service and lower costs. One way we can lower cost is either to post future newsletters on the website, or distribute them using e-mail. After careful deliberation, the Board has decided to continue printing and mailing a newsletter, but to give members the option of receiving this material electronically. The Executive Director and I have spent more time than we care to recall puzzling over our membership rolls, and confess we cannot ascertain which members are current, and which delinquent, in paying their dues. We plan to carry everyone to the end of 2009, and then to drop the names of members who haven’t paid since the new Executive Director and Treasurer came on board last spring. So please return the membership-renewal form on page 3. If you would like to become more involved with the Heritage Society and local historic preservation projects, or know someone else who would, please consider nominating yourself or them to the Board of Directors. We expect at least two vacancies in the very near future, and everyone on the Board has been outlived their original term of office. It’s not an onerous job, but we could use some help. Send nominations to <>. Jonathan M. Smith

West Side Historic Resource Survey Underway

Books Published by the Brazos Valley Heritage Society The Life and Death of Boonville costs $15.00; Historic Brazos County, $25.00. Orders many be placed with <ulrikesmith>, or Brazos Heritage Society, P.O. Box 1776, Bryan, Texas 77806. Please add $2.50 for shipping. Wendy Patzewitsch, Ph.D., is writing a new book about Bryan for the Images of America Series. BHS Executive Director, Ulrike Smith arranged this deal. The book will be out next year

On March 10, 2009, the Bryan City Council authorized the expenditure of $10,000 to use as matching funds for a Certified Local Government grant awarded by the Texas Historical Commission. The $10,000 grant is to be used for a historic resource survey of the area immediately west of Downtown Bryan.  The $20,000 project will consist of hiring a historic preservation consultant to conduct this survey.  The survey will provide a strong foundation for protecting the historically significant properties within the project area. Many properties within the project area are in danger of demolition by neglect.  In recent years there has been renewed interest in the project area, spurred by its close proximity to downtown.  In addition to neglected properties, there are properties in the process of being renovated.  The ultimate goal of this project is to provide a basis to establish historic landmarks or districts to prevent historically significant properties from falling into a further state of disrepair, or to prevent alterations that destroy their historic integrity. The project area is generally bounded by William Joel Bryan to the north, Bryan Avenue to the east, vacant land and West 31st Street to the south and the area around West 28th Street and Brazos Avenue to the east.  Currently, City Staff has completed an initial survey of the area. Digital photos have been taken of all buildings in the target area and an initial survey form was completed for each property.  A preservation consultant is vital for preparing a preservation plan and identifying the historically significant, eligible for the National Register, and endangered or neglected properties within the area from information previously compiled by City staff. Staff is currently negotiating a contract with a historic preservation firm and hope to have the details finalized and the project started by the end of the summer.  The project duration is expected to be one year.  A historic resource survey includes evaluating each property within the project area and evaluating its historic significance, either architecturally or culturally, within the community.  The final report will include preservation recommendations for the area and archival quality photographs for the historically significant properties, to aid in future preservation work.  For more information contact Julie Fulgham, Project Planner, City of Bryan, (979) 209-5030

Echoes from the Carnegie Columns Did you know that buildings on Main street burned multiple times? That until the 1930's the telephone book gave addresses as "Main Street," "Bryan Street," etc? That the post office renumbered the whole town of Bryan in 1925—no splitting of even and odd numbers to different sides of the street, just a row of numbers up one side and down the other. [By the next Sanborn map, things were back to normal.] Identification of what building was where (downtown) has long been a puzzle crying out to be solved. In September, Ms. Ferguson and I began to lay the framework of a local history building database by using the telephone books and city directories from the 1930's to enter information on the owners and occupants of various buildings in the downtown area. Needless to say, this project

Volunteers Needed for the

Holiday High Tea December 6, 2009

At a Tea Table Constantin A. Korovin 1888

If you are interested in helping set up, serve, or clean up, please contact Ulrike Smith at, or 822-5326.

will not be completed on our watch (Ms. Ferguson retires 21 January 2010), but will have to be carried on by future library staff members. Local building history is fascinating, and frustrating; but the "Ah, Ha!" moments far, far outweigh the down moments. In his notes titled "North Main Street in Downtown Bryan," Bill Page tells of large fires in February, March, and August of 1874; May of 1875; March of 1909; and November of 1914 (just to name a few). These same notes also tantalize us with tidbits like "the old brick building, formerly owned by Mrs. John B. Mike and recently purchased by Allen Smith, on North Main Street, is being wrecked;" "the Sam Lorea building, formerly occupied by the Oriental Cafテゥ;" "Woodyard Building;" "tree planting sponsored by the late Col. J. W. Tabor in 1872, and which at one time provided luxuriant shade for delight of man and beast along Main Street (the last of these cottonwood trees was cut down in 1932);" and " Jo-Nel Coffee Shop at 2135 North Main Street, a new location." These are just a few of the local history snippets that beg to be located, on a city map and in our local history. For those of you who enjoy the Internet, come see the Carnegie Center's Facebook page窶馬ot all technology is always bad. Nan Ross Carnegie Librarian

Membership Renewal The Brazos Heritage Society depends on its members to sponsor events and promote historic understanding and historic preservation in Brazos County. Membership dues are tax deductible. ____

Family Membership



Individual Membership



Business Membership



Heritage Club


Name: _________________________________________________________ Address: _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ Phone: ___________________ Brazos Bottoms 1939

E-mail ________________________

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T h e

From the Papers “The Bryan Appeal learns that from the 1st of last September to the 5th of February, Calvert has shipped 12,278 bales of cotton, and Bryan, to February 12th, 14,1593 bales cotton and 15,903 hides, besides much wool, pecans, beef, etc. The cotton shipped from Navasota is estimated at 8000 bales.” Galveston News, February 24, 1873. “Bryan is a pretty town, evidently desirous to follow in the wake of its ambitious neighbor [Waco], and, with an active trade, several newspapers and churches, a fine court-house, and a prospective agricultural and mechanical college in its neighborhood (nearly finished) designed by the skillful architect Lamour, will admit, in its own opinion, of no superior.” The Daily Picayune (New Orleans), December 23, 1874) From a 1911 Map

Brazos Heritage Society P.O. Box 1776 Bryan, Texas 77806

BHS Newsletter 2  
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