News and Events
The 64-year-old building that once provided classrooms for Mexican American children in San Marcos has been awarded an Official Texas Historical Marker.
A dedication ceremony to commemorate the historical landmark designation will be held at 10 a.m. April 20 at 211 Lee Street, now home of the Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos.
City, County, School District and Texas Historical Commission officials will be on hand for the event, along with Ofelia Vasquez-Philo, Centro founder, and Kate Johnson, chairman of the Hays County Historical Commission. Frank Contreras, who attended the first wood-frame Southside School at the location of the current building, will also share about the history of the school.
The public is invited to the marker dedication ceremony, sponsored by the Hays County Historical Commission in conjunction with the Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos and the San Marcos CSID.
When constructed in 1949 to replace a wooden classroom building, the “Southside School” served Hispanic students and was sometimes referred to as the “Latin American School.” One of the original teachers at the school was Petra Nicola, who was one of very few Hispanic teachers in the district at the time.
In 1965, the school was renamed for James Bonham, a hero of the Alamo, in order to be like the other elementary schools in the district that had already been named for Texas heroes.
A bilingual education program, one of only two in the state of Texas at that time, was initiated at Bonham in 1966. An adult education program for migrant parents of students was also held on the campus, and a Title I pre-school program was offered in the summer. In 1970, a full day kindergarten program began at Bonham.
For the next three decades, the school would be used at different times to house district administrative offices, Early Childhood programs, and the Head Start program. In 2009, the building became the home of the Centro Cultural Hispano, which serves as a community beacon for the preservation, development, promotion and celebration of the Hispanic arts, culture, heritage and values.
The Southside School building is significant in the history of San Marcos public education for many reasons. Although it was built to provide classrooms for Mexican American children in an essentially segregated setting, it eventually housed programs that were innovative and inclusive, designed to provide all children with opportunities for success regardless of their heritage, economic status, home language, or disability. Although the interior of the building has undergone changes, the exterior remains essentially the same as when it was constructed in 1949.
“It is important for the community to preserve this building, so it can continue to be a beacon and a gathering place in the Hispanic community,” Mrs. Vasquez-Philo said.
Mark Wolfe, executive director of the Texas Historical Commission, added, “The Official Texas Historical Marker program helps bring attention to community treasures and the importance of their preservation. Awareness and education are among the best ways to guarantee the preservation of our state’s history. This designation is a tool that will increase public awareness of important cultural resources.”
Texas has the largest marker program in the United States with approximately 15,000 markers.
HCHC’s Ofelia Vasquez-Philo oversaw a Hays County Road Department crew mounting the commission’s new “Historic Texas Cemetery” marker at Cementerio del Rio recently. She was joined by HCHC members Luanne and Jim Cullen for the event, which culminated an almost two-decade progression at the site from abandoned—and largely-forgotten—cemetery site to the manicured and well-maintained historic site it is today. Vasquez-Philo envisions a dedication ceremony at Cementerio del Rio during the next observance of Dia de los Muertos in the fall.
The rotunda of the Hays County Courthouse was the scene for new members of the Hays County Historical Commission at the swearing in ceremony in January.
Christmas Tree in the Rotunda of the Hays Courthouse.
Plan to attend the annual Claiborne Kyle Log House chicken dinner (that's lunch!) this Saturday, September 22 between 11 AM and 2 PM. The event has been going for the last 30 years, and raises funds for the operation of the Claiborne Kyle Log House that was built in 1850. The charge is $7 a plate, $4 for children.
Another free screening of our latest documentary will be this Saturday, Sept. 8 at the Wimberley VFW Hall at 7:30 PM. All are invited.
The film tells what life was like in Hays County in 1941 and relates the stories of 5 veterans who served in the Marines, Army, Navy, and Air Force in Europe and the South Pacific.
Don't miss your chance to see this informative and interesting documentary.
The Hays County Commissioners Court Tuesday presented a Distinguished Service Award on behalf of the Texas Historical Commission to the Hays County Historical Commission for its work and dedication in 2011. The award goes to honor local commissions that have gone above and beyond to preserve, protect and promote the history of their county.
Kate Johnson with driver Ben Rogers and a team of four, head out for the
Wimberley 4th of July Parade. Inside the coach were HCHC members
Dorothy & Eddie Gumbert, and the mayor of Kyle, Lucy Johnson.
TOMBSTONE RETURNED TO RIGHTFUL OWNER
The abandoned, century-old tombstone of a ten-year-old girl, discovered in December, 2011, on a vacant Texas State University lot, was returned to its North Texas cemetery of origin recently. With the help of (Find-a-Grave) research by Texas State graduate student Sarah Marshall , HCHC’s Cemetery Committee was able to make contact with Carrol Alexander, the caretaker for Alexander Cemetery in a rural area of Collin County, near the small town of Weston, Texas. Mr. Alexander gladly accepted the personally-delivered tombstone of Mary Hayes (“Hayse” is actually the family surname)stone in late June and he and HCHC’s Jim Cullen photo-documented the exact match of the stone and its original base.
The latest documentary from the Hays County Historical Commission will be shown on the 68th anniversary of D-Day at the Army Air Field Hangar (at the current San Marcos airport) on Wednesday, June 6, at 7 PM. Admission is free.
This film tells the story of what life was like in Hays County in 1941 with interviews from 5 World War II veterans who served in England, Normandy, The Philippines, and Iwo Jima. It also features original photography from the San Marcos Army Air Field Navigation School, along with an interview with a civilian secretary who worked there while 10,000 navigators were trained in 1943 to 1945.
The interviews with stories from their war experiences are from Bill Butts, San Marcos, who was stationed with the 8th Air Force in England. Augustin Lucio, San Marcos, who was in the Normandy Invasion leading an Army rifle platoon. Travis Garnett, Dripping Springs, who was in the Navy and stationed on the island of Samar in the Philippines. Bill Johnson, Wimberley, and Willie Higgs, San Marcos, who were Marines at Iwo Jima. And Wren Giesen, who worked at the San Marcos Army Air Field.
Make plans to attend this interesting film at the World War II hangar and see the collection of historic planes on display.
Ribbon Cutting for Hays Historical Museum at Courthouse
Linda Coker cuts Chamber ribbon as Kate Johnson with plaque looks on.
Kate Johnson and members of the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce attend the ribbon cutting by Linda Coker at the opening of the new Hays Historical Museum at the Courthouse.
The Hays County Historical Commission has opened two rooms with historic photos assembled by HCHC member Linda Coker, along with a new Historical Theater to show HCHC documentaries and Voices of Hays County. Please contact Linda at 512-705-5913 to ask what times the new Museum will be open.
VOX POP Showing
San Marcos Public Library, 7 PM
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
HCHC January Meeting
Hays County Courthouse, 6 PM
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Buck Winn Showing
San Marcos Public Library, 7 PM
Monday, January 23, 2012
VOX POP Showing in Dripping SpringsFirst Baptist Church, 7 PM
Thursday, January 19, 2012
VOX POP Showing at Buda Onion Creek Senior Citizens Center
After noon luncheon.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
EVENT SOLD OUTOctober 20, 2011
The Hays County Historical Commission has completed another in their series of documentaries on famous folks connected with Hays County, this one about Parks and Louise Johnson and his network radio show, VOX POP.
Parks and Louise were the parents of Bill Johnson, and Bill and MF have made available their collection of stills and recordings from the early days of radio. Parks started the VOX POP program at KTRH in Houston in 1932 and then the Johnson family moved to New York in 1935 when VOX POP went on the NBC Network.
This documentary traces the history of the program with excerpts from World War II and shows around the country. It gives the audience an insight into that time period with radio program development and then comes with Parks and Louise to Wimberley in 1948 as they "retired" and then proceeded to spend the next 20 years developing the Wimberley community.
The documentary was directed by Richard Kidd and produced by Kate Johnson. Interviews were shot at the Library of American Broadcasting at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, in Vermont and Maine. Nine interviews are included in the film, along with rescued footage from 1958 showing the only interview with Parks and Louise.
The Premier showing will include dinner and drinks in a re-created 1940's theater in Johnson Hall at the Wimberley Community Center. Reservations are requested and the cost is $10 a person that can be paid at the door. Please email your reservation to email@example.com by October 15.
Plan to see VOX POP, The Story of Parks Johnson, and learn something about early radio and the development of Wimberley.
Work Continues on Old County Jail RestorationMarch, 2011
NEW MEMBERS OF THE HAYS HISTORICAL COMMISSIONFebruary 22, 2011
Newly appointed and re-appointed members of the Hays County Historical Commission posed in front of the statue of Jack C. Hays at the County Courthouse on February 22, just in time for the March 1 anniversary of the founding of Hays County. They were sworn in for a two-year term by Hays County Judge Bert Cobb, M.D., during the regular Commissioners Court meeting. Seven of the Historical Commission members are new to the 24-member commission. Front row: Luanne Cullen, Richard Kidd, Celeste Zygmont, Madeline Van Brunt, Betty Harrison, Ofelia Vasquez-Philo, SarahAnn Lowther, Dorothy Gumbert, Clemmie New, J. Marie Bassett, Jerry Bullock (middle row) Jeffrey Jordan, Adam Wagner, Marianne Moore, Kate Johnson, Richard Gachot, (top) Shelley Henry, Samantha Bellows, Linda Coker, Robert Frizzell, Jim Cullen. Not pictured: Bonnie Eissler, Mary Giberson, Lu Hickey and ex officio member LaMarr Peterson.
Work underway on restoration of Old Hays County Jail in San MarcosJanuary 20, 2011
LARGER THAN LIFE, The Story of Buck Winn is newest documentary from Hays County Historical CommissionOctober 28, 2010
After 8 months of work and travel around the Southwest to film all of the existing artwork and installations of Wimberley artist and architect Buck Winn (1905-1979), the Hays County Historical Commission has announced the completion of a new 60-minute documentary.
LARGER THAN LIFE, The Story of Buck Winn tells the life story of Buck and shows all of his existing artwork, bas-relief sculpture, architectural designs, and inventions. Buck specialized in doing large artwork for building decoration, all of his projects were "larger than life." Buck and Kitty Winn lived in Wimberley from 1941 until her death in 1978 and his in 1979.
This is the first project that includes all of his major work, including those pieces that have been destroyed as buildings were bulldozed. The Hays County Historical Commission visited and photographed 18 locations and interviewed 8 individuals around the southwest.
The documentary was directed by Richard Kidd and produced by Kate Johnson. Generous support was donated by Hays County residents and organizations to cover the production expenses of this project. Music for the documentary was provided by James Dick, The Miro Quartet, and Eugene Rowley. The film was narrated by Bob Michaels.
Plans are being made to schedule showings in Hays County and copies of the DVD will be made available to schools and libraries. Individuals may purchase the HD-DVD for $15. from this web site in the shop order section. If you would like to schedule a presentation of the documentary for your group, please contact Richard Kidd at the following email. firstname.lastname@example.org
HCHC Stagecoach in Kyle 130 Year Celebration Parade
Historical Commission Leads ParadeJuly 12, 2010
As the Grand Marshall of the 2010 Wimberley 4th of July Parade, Chairman Kate Johnson of the Hays County Historical Commission is joined by Wimberley Mayor Bob Flocke; Hays County Commissioner for Precinct Two Jeff Barton; Kyle Mayor Lucy Johnson; and Historical Commission member Bonnie Eissler. The group rode in an 1850ís era reproduction stagecoach, and the entry received third place overall as "Best Parade Theme." This is the second year in a row that the HCHC stagecoach, a crowd favorite, has been part of the Wimberley parade. The parade was held this year on July 5. The route stretched from the Wimberley Market Days parking lot, across Cypress Creek, along the town square, and down 3237 to the old First Baptist Church.
The Commissioners Court honors HCHC chair Kate Johnson
HCHC Chair Kate Johnson to Receive Leadership Award
For her leadership in the preservation of Texasí heritage, Kate Johnson, chair of the Hays County Historical Commission (HCHC), will receive one of the Texas Historical Commissionís most prestigious awards.
Johnson will receive the John Ben Shepperd County Historical Commission Leadership Award at the THCís annual Historic Preservation Conference in Houston April 23.
The award recognizes outstanding leadership by a county historical commission chair in carrying out an aggressive and well-balanced preservation program. Several members of the HCHC, who nominated Johnson, will join her when she receives the award at the THC Preservation Awards Dinner.
During her three appointments as chair of the HCHC, Johnson has established a record of vision, research, and support of a wide range of historical preservation activities in Hays County. Most prominent in the past year was her campaign to educate the public about the life and times of county namesake Jack C. Hays. That effort resulted in a 30-minute documentary about Hays, along with a curriculum guide, which has been distributed to schools and libraries across the county.
Also a high priority on Johnsonís agenda is the restoration of the 1870ís-era Hays County jail, one of the countyís most threatened public (National Register) buildings. The now-progressing rehabilitation of the jail is due in large part to Johnson, who has devoted countless hours working with the Hays County Commissioners Court and Hays County Preservation Associates, as well as other grant-funding sources, to secure the necessary funds for such an undertaking.
Among other activities Johnson inspires members of the HCHC to pursue are a county-wide oral history project, cemetery restoration and documentation, and identification of potential historic marker topics and locations. Research and planning is also underway for the production of a documentary about Texas muralist and sculptor Buck Winn.
Hays Historical Commission Donates DVD’s to Wimberley ISD
CAPTAIN JACK DVD'S GIVEN TO SCHOOL DISTRICT
HCHC Treats Sheriff's Department
San Pedro Cemetery 100th Anniversary
Everyone is invited to come celebrate the 100th anniversary of the San Pedro Cemetery, located at the corner of Posey Road and Old Bastrop Hwy (21/El Camino Real) in San Marcos on Saturday, November 7 from 2 to 4 pm. Unlike many cemeteries in Hays County, its park-like setting is popular with families today, full of colorful blooming plants and lush greenery.
Mexican Mint Marigold and red Cramoisi Superior and Eutin roses are in full fall flush now, along with other pinks and lavenders, just in time for La Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) or All Souls Day on November 2 and All Saints Day on November 1. Dia de los Muertos is traditionally the day Mexican-American family members visit cemeteries to remember relatives who have died and spruce up their graves.
Crosses, saints and virgins, which are a defining characteristic of Mexican-American cemeteries, cover the San Pedro Cemetery landscape and come in many forms and materials. Some crosses are the Spanish 'clover', while others are made in straighter lines with stone cement and tile. The most colorful and common is the mosaic tiled cross. The mosaic tiled cross memorial, El Madero, built in 1933 in the center of the cemetery, has a stepped pyramid shaped base constructed of stone and cement with shells embedded along the edges. The most popular saint depicted in this cemetery though is the Virgin of Guadalupe, who is considered to be a national symbol of Mexico.
Local Mexican-Americans established the San Pedro Cemetery Association in 1909 when most cemeteries in Texas were segregated by ethnicity. Luis Rosales and others helped collect money to purchase approximately two acres of land at the corner of Posey Road and Old Bastrop Highway. The cemetery by-laws list forty-seven men as founders and stated that persons of all means and all faiths had the right to bury their loved ones. Records from 1915 indicate the association had grown to almost three hundred members. With their numbers still growing, another two acres was purchased in 1933.
Local Mexican-Americans established the San Pedro Cemetery Association in 1909 when most cemeteries in Texas were segregated by ethnicity. Luis Rosales and others helped collect money to purchase approximately two acres of land at the corner of Posey Road and Old Bastrop Highway. The cemetery by-laws list forty-seven men as founders and stated that persons of all means and all faiths had the right to bury their loved ones. Records from 1915 indicate the association had grown to approximately three hundred members, so in 1933 another two acres was purchased.
If you have never visited San Pedro, now is the time. Put November 7 from 2 to 4 pm on your calendar. Family members with relatives or friends buried there are encouraged to bring photos to share as well as stories of loved ones. In case of rain, the ceremony will take place November 14, same time... same place. For more information call 512-557-0274.
Hays Historical Commission to Screen New “Captain Jack” Documentary
Captain Jack C. Hays and his Texas Rangers are riding again in Hays County, and the public is invited to watch the action unfold.
After months of planning, filming and editing, the Hays County Historical Commission has completed a new documentary on Hays, entitled “Captain Jack, The Story of John Coffee Hays.” The 30-minute film tells the story of Hays County’s namesake from his arrival in Texas in late 1837 to his death in Oakland, California, in 1883.
- Oct. 11 at Jack C. Hays High School (4800 Jack C. Hays Trail in Buda)
- Oct. 18 at the Alkek Theatre at Texas State University (The theater is located on the first floor of the Alkek Library, which is situated behind the LBJ Student Center. Parking is free on Sunday afternoons, and the closest parking will be in the Alkek Parking Garage just off Comanche Street or the Wood Street Parking Garage by the Student Center)
- Oct. 25 at the Wimberley Playhouse (450 Old Kyle Road in Wimberley)
- Nov. 1 at Thurman’s Mansion in Driftwood (Located near the Salt Lick at 17900 FM 1826)
“Captain Jack” features historical re-enactments of Jack Hays meeting with Sam Houston, recruiting Texas Rangers in San Antonio, patrolling south Texas, surveying land, and meeting his future wife, Susan Calvert. Additional scenes cover Hays and his Rangers fighting Comanche Indians on Walker's Creek, leading a wagon train west to California, becoming the first sheriff of San Francisco, and founding the city of Oakland.
The project was directed by Richard Kidd and produced by Kate Johnson with period music from the Celtaire String Band and The Gillette Brothers. The Celtaire String Band will be featured at the San Marcos showing to perform a short set of their songs. The Gillette Brothers will be on hand for the Driftwood screening.
Support for the project came from many citizens, foundations, and companies in Hays County, along with the County Commissioners.
Groups interested in scheduling a showing of the documentary may contact Richard Kidd at .
Ingalsbe Funds Cementerio del Rio Project
Hays County Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe graciously funded the full cost ($1500) for a special cemetery restoration project. Ingalsbe’s funds enabled HCHC to secure the professional stone conservator services of Wimberley’s Don Hudson in righting and leveling four large Woodmen of the World tombstones. Those stones had fallen over the many years of neglect at Cementerio del Rio, where HCHC restoratiion efforts continue.
Earlier this year, Richard Gomez of San Marcos contracted to complete the fencing of the over four acre site, deeded to Hays County in 1873. Prior to the fencing project, cattle from adjoining property had freely roamed the historic old Hispanic cemetery on their way to and from the San Marcos River. The site sadly shows too many scars from almost a century of neglect, though HCHC work in the 1990s brought it back from the edge of extinction.
Ofelia Vasquez-Philo video gets public debut
San Marcos Academy was the site for a delightful HCHC-hosted July evening debuting the video history of Ofelia Vasquez-Philo. The second production from the studio of Richard Kidd offered to the public in the summer of 2009, the instant classic is the latest in the “Voices of Hays County History” series.
More than sixty people enjoyed the beautiful Academy library setting, among them a sizable contingent of longtime HCHC member and community leader Vasquez-Philo’s family. Commission Vice-Chair Shelly Henry served as the site host and welcomed the enthusiastic crowd that included friends and supporters from across the county. Chairman Kate Johnson offered her welcome, as well, updating the group on HCHC’s other current projects that include producing a documentary on the life of Jack C. Hays…and restoring the 19th Century Hays County Jail.
The “Voices of Hays County History” is a continuing project of the HCHC oral history committee. More than a dozen Hays County “Voices” have been videotaped, with Richard Kidd handling production, Bonnie Eissler providing technical support, and several members, including Shelly Henry, Betty Harrison, and Jim Cullen interviewing.
HCHC shows Barton-Johnson video
Highlighting onetime “Buda Boys” Bob Barton and Moe Johnson, the Hays County Historical Commission recently presented its latest “Voices of Hays County History” installment on the longtime friends and Goforth-Buda-Kyle civic pioneers. The occasion was a gathering of Hays CISD, Kyle, and Buda residents at Hays High School’s Burdine Johnson Theatre. Retired HCISD administrator Betty Harrison interviewed Barton and Johnson, assisted by HCHC member Bonnie Eissler, with the entire piece, as always, professionally produced by Richard Kidd. An appreciative crowd of almost 60 attended, among those in the audience HCISD’s first board president, Red Simon, and its newly-arrived superintendent, Dr. Jeremy Lyon.
Hays Historical Commission Honored
The award recognizes county historical commissions that have demonstrated a dedication to several of the THC's programs as well as preservation efforts that lead to a greater understanding of state and local history.
"The commitment of Hays County's preservation efforts demonstrates an enthusiasm for saving the real places of Texas," said THC Executive Director Larry Oaks. "Your service has helped to enrich the lives of others through history, ensuring the preservation of our state's past into the future."
The Hays County Historical Commission has a number of ongoing projects including cemetery research and preservation, recording oral histories, and planning the renovation of the old county jail. The group meets monthly at historic locations throughout the county. More information can be found on the HCHC website, www.hayshistoricalcommission.com.
Cemetery Committee Visits Driftwood
HCHC Cemetery Committee members Bob Flocke, Dorothy Gumbert, Linda Coker, and Jim Cullen enjoyed a March 23, 2009, visit to a pair of isolated Hill Country cemeteries near Driftwood. Following the unfailing directions of the Hays County Cemetery Inscriptions, Vol. I book written by Jo Ann Hearn and Dorothy Kerbow, the group contacted Scott Marshall for a successful visit to the Reaves Cemetery, then sought out the site of Driftwood’s Old Community Cemetery.
Marshall has contained the Reaves Cemetery with a chain link fence to protect the gravesites from livestock, for which he is to be thanked, and he continues periodic maintenance at the site. As described by Hearn and Kerbow, the Old Community Cemetery—not far from Reaves Cemetery as the crow flies—contains only one stone, that of a mother Darthula and daughter Nettie, marking their same day, October 1, 1883, deaths.
Burns Sons’ Hill Country Gravesite Re-Consecrated
Scott did the research on the Burns Sons’ Gravesite, a history rolling back to the site’s early Hays County landowners. The Texas Historical Commission has officially designated the site as historic and the official state marker will soon be placed at the site. Approximately 35 people attended the re-consecration, the Hays County Historical Commission represented by Jim and Luanne Cullen.
Back row L-R: Lu Hickey, Linda Coker, Bob Flocke, Linda Keese, Jim Cullen, LaMarr Petersen, Richard Kidd, Robert Frizzell and Marianne Moore
Not pictured are members Stephanie Cruz, Richard Gachot, Dorothy Gumbert, Shelley Henry, SarahAnn Lowther, Clemmie new Zeke Palacios and Gary Rush.
Newly appointed members to the Hays County Historical Commission
Newly appointed members to the Hays County Historical Commission met recently at the Hays County Courthouse in the County Commissioners Court Room in San Marcos for an organizational meeting. Chairman Johnson told them they would become "the arms and legs for the county, state and nation historic trusts. That the commission members would know everything about how to apply for any historic designation." It's a tall order, but newer members were cheered by long-term members like Ofelia Vasquez-Philo, who have served ably since the commission's inception.
“Journey to California” Documentary Completed and Available for Group Showings
The Hays County Historical Commission has just finished a documentary about Capt. Jack
C. Hays and his 1849 trip to California and becoming the first sheriff of San Francisco.
Members of the Historical Commission recreated this trip west and traveled the same trail
to San Francisco, visiting the Hays burial site in Oakland and with the current San Francisco Sheriff, Michael Hennessey. It's a great opportunity to learn more about the
famous Texas Ranger that Hays County is named after.
This documentary is available for free showing to your group or meeting. Please contact
Richard Kidd at 512-858-4443 to make arrangements.
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