60 Years...and Counting! by David D. Martinez On January 11, 2014, the Texas Historical Foundation will celebrate the 60th anniversary of its founding. In addition, THF’s award-winning Texas HERITAGE magazine was first published in November 1983, which means that the publication is 30 years old. This is an exciting time as the organization reaches several historical milestones and continues it mission of preserving all things Texas. 60 is a big number. Only a few lucky couples ever reach 60 years of married life together, and those about to turn 60 years of age can attest to the importance of that watershed event. But more important than the enormity of this number are the accomplishments that go along with it. Since 1954, THF has provided millions of dollars to support thousands of worthwhile historical preservation and educational projects across this great state. Some of the most notable gifts went to: the Armstrong County Museum for the restoration of the Charles Goodnight home and ranch buildings near Claude; the Chisholm Trail Heritage Museum in Cuero, housed in a beautifully restored 1903 building, that honors the area’s cattle and cowboy culture (see page 18); and Houston Arts and Media, which will be able to complete an eight-part documentary series “Birth of Texas” thanks to THF assistance (see page 4). The Texas Historical Foundation was also proud to be a supporting partner in other smaller projects, including the restoration and preservation of the Fulton Mansion in Rockport, Llano’s Red Top Jail, and St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Umbarger. Another THFsupported undertaking—not of the bricks-and-mortar variety—was one at The Star of the Republic Museum in Washington-on-the–Brazos, which helped find and bring together the descendents of the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence. To honor its commitment to public history education, the Texas Historical Foundation gave grants that promoted and helped Texans young and old learn about their heritage. The Historic Waco Foundation received
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funding to provide traveling trunks that focus on area history to local educators at no cost. The Gault School of Archeology continues to study evidence discovered in Bell County from settlements of early man, which indicates habitation of that area some 10,000 years earlier than originally thought. THF’s grant to the Gault project made possible the promotion and distribution of “An Adventure in Time,” a video explaining the findings and importance of the work being done at that site. The astute reader might notice that many of these THF-supported projects share a common link: they are located in smaller rural communities with limited resources and manpower. While these areas may not get attention and financial backing from other organizations or major funders, these are just the kind of quality projects that THF seeks to fund. In many cases, with the Foundation’s endorsement and financial support, these small groups in rural communities can catch the eye and gain further support from other philanthropic groups that might otherwise overlook them. This is a noteworthy accomplishment that should bring great pride to every person who supports the Texas Historical Foundation. Ten years from now, new leaders of the Texas Historical Foundation will celebrate another organizational milestone and, hopefully, many more accomplishments. They will build on this record that I speak of today and reach new heights; through our collective voices, though, we will acknowledge that this work in historical preservation and education is important and warrants continuation. Because from the very beginning we have all understood one simple guiding principle: “For Texas we will—and for Texas we must!” God Bless Texas! David D. Martinez of Corsicana is chief operating officer of United Building Maintenance Enterprise of Dallas. Send comments about this column to: THF, P.O. Box 50314, Austin, TX 78763.
Published on Jan 22, 2014