Friday, December 28, 2012

Happy New Year

Members of the Executive Committee of the Brazos Heritage Society wish you all the very best for 2013.

Simply stated, may you be safe these last days of 2012 and may you find the new year to be significantly better than the old.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Stroll Well Attended

The Brazos Heritage Society’s Christmas Stroll in the East Side Historic District and related activities in Heritage Park on December 15, 2012, proved to be an overwhelming success.

 Four houses, beautifully decorated for the Christmas season, were opened for the Stroll.  Those opened included the home of Linda Roberts, better known as the Clary House, at 601 East 30th Street; Susan and Mitchell Roy’s home at 616 East 31st Street; the home of Isabel and Todd McPartlin at 501 East 31st Street; and Harriet and Phil Smith’s home at 705 East 31st Street.

In addition, two homes on opposite sides of Heritage Park, while not opened to the public, provided refreshments to Stroll participants.  Nat and Dan Hilliard at 615 East 30th Street and Donna and John Van Duyn at 615 East 31st Street served wassail and cookies.  

Throughout the evening the “Sweet Strings on the Brazos,” a mountain dulcimer band, provided beautiful Christmas music from the Matthew Winsper Knobel Memorial Gazebo in the Park.  The Park was decorated for the Christmas season, with hundreds of twinkling lights on the Gazebo and light poles.

A big hit of the evening was the opportunity to ride in the horse drawn carriage around the neighborhood, which was provided as part of the price of admission to the Stroll.

On the day following the Christmas Stroll, Isabel McPartlin, whose home was on the tour, sent a message to Society President Nat Hilliard; the relevant parts read as follows:

Hope ya’ll are having a wonderful Sunday!  

First, I would like to thank all of those who organized the Christmas Stroll event yesterday.  As first time participants we (Todd and I) don’t have anything to compare it to but the music, the carriage ride, and the wassail were great touches.  This combined with the gift of perfect weather from God made for an incredible evening!  

Todd and I were thrilled to be asked to participate and to be considered among the three other beautifully decorated homes on the tour.  

Nat – The signs you made were adorable and the feedback I heard from those who came through was nothing but good stuff.  Well done!  

Thank you again all!  

Merry Christmas!

Perfectly said, Isabel.  The 2012 Christmas Stroll was thoroughly enjoyable and brought back remembrances of Christmases past.

The Society’s Executive Committee is grateful for all the effort by so many people that made this such a successful event.

The Smilebox below provides additional photographs taken during the evening of the Stroll.

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Monday, November 5, 2012

A Christmas Stroll Scheduled

On December 15, 2012, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM, the Brazos Heritage Society will host a Christmas Stroll in the East Side Historical District and Heritage Park.

Ticket sales for home tours will be in the park from 6:00 PM until 8:00 PM; tickets for adults are $6.00 and tickets for children under 12 years are $4.00.  

Hidden Oasis Carriage Company will provide horse drawn carriage rides in the neighborhood at no additional costs for those with tour tickets.  

Come see hundreds of twinkling lights in Heritage Park and listen to festive Christmas music provided by “Sweet Strings on the Brazos,” a mountain dulcimer band.  Please bring a chair if you would like to sit and enjoy the music longer.  

Portions of five historic homes will be open and some homes will be providing free refreshments for the Stroll.

Honor Those Who Served

The Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial Board of Directors will be hosting the annual Veterans Day program at 4:00 PM on Sunday, November 11, 2012, at the Veterans Park and Athletic Complex in College Station.  

The event, held at the Louis L. Adam Memorial Plaza, is a reverent and patriotic opportunity for members of our community to honor all of our veterans and the sacrifices they have made for our freedom.  There will be a formal reading of the veterans’ names being added to the Wall of Honor.

This year’s keynote address will be delivered by Eddie J. Davis, President of the Texas A&M Foundation.  Members of the A&M Corps of Cadets, Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band, and Corps Center Guard will also participate in the ceremony at the Wall of Honor at Veterans Park.

For additional information, visit

Exploring History Lunch Lecture Series Reminder

The College Station Historic Preservation Committee and the Senior Advisory Committee have developed an outstanding Exploring History Lunch Lectures Series for 2012.  Please join them on November 14, 2012, at the Aldersgate Church, as they present:

Second Thoughts: Presidential Regrets with Their Supreme Court Nominations
Featuring author William T. Harper

The luncheon is $5.00 per person, payable at the door, and begins at 11:30 AM in the Aldersgate United Methodist Church at 2201 Earl Rudder Freeway in College Station. 

Parking is available in the main lot to the south of the building.  Enter through the main double doors, take a left, and you will be directed to the meeting room.   In case you are not familiar with this facility, it is located just north of Academy, Gander Mountain, and Dickey’s, on the frontage road between Southwest Parkway and Harvey Road. 

Reservations are required and must be made with Marci Rodgers, Senior Services Coordinator, College Station Parks & Recreation Department, at or by calling 979-764-6351.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Planting Trees in Heritage Park

On Saturday, October 20, 2012, Eagle Scout candidate Blaine Brezina and a host of volunteers were in Heritage Park planting trees. 

According to Blaine, the 2oth was a “great success.”  Bob Holmes with the Bryan Parks and Recreation Department and 16 volunteers, many from Boy Scout Troop 383, planted the following trees: 3 Natchez Crepe Myrtles, 4 Dynamite Crepe Myrtles, 2 Redbuds, 7 Lacebark Elms, 3 Live Oaks, and 9 Lantana.  The trees were planted in accordance with the approved Master Plan for the park.  Many of the trees were donated by Lowes in College Station and Keep Brazos Beautiful.   

To date the Brazos Heritage Society has received a little more than $2,000 in contributions for trees.  Many of these contributions were given in honor or memory of people.  Donations for trees were received from Dan and Donna Beto, Dorothy Bing, Jenny Bulhof, Dan and Nat Hilliard, Dena Kahan, Kyle and Elizabeth Kovel, Homer and Beverly Myers, Susan Ohendalski, Bookman and Florence Peters, Mervin and Annette Peters, the Brazos Heritage Society, and Paul and Dorothy Van Riper. 

On Saturday, October 27, 2012, there was another good turnout of volunteers, who were responsible for planting 2 Mesquites, 9 Vitex, 2 Crepe Myrtles, a Redbud, and a number of Lantana around the gazebo.  In addition, the Yaupon bushes were moved from the gazebo to the sides of the park benches.  According to Blaine, the project is starting to come together.

The next planting will take place on Saturday, November 10, 2012. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

No Winner for the September Contest of Where in Brazos County?

Sadly, no one submitted a correct answer for the September “Where in Brazos County?” Photo Contest, which was posted on this electronic newsletter on September 29, 2012, at:

The photograph shows a marker found in the center of the Matthew Winsper Knobel Memorial Gazebo in Heritage Park in Bryan, Texas.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Union Pacific Steam Locomotive Coming to Area

The historic Union Pacific No. 844 steam locomotive will be stopping in Navasota and Hearne.  

This beautiful engine will be stopping in the downtown Navasota on Monday, October 29, 2012, from 10:30 AM to 11:00 AM.  The city will be blocking off Railroad Street from Holland to Washington Avenue for visitors to safely view the train.

The engine will proceed north, passing through Bryan at the West 29th Street crossing at South Bryan Avenue around 11:50 AM, and a continuing to Hearne, arriving at 1:00 PM.

The train will remain in Hearne at West 4th Street and South Market Street for the remainder of Monday, October 29, 2012, and all of Tuesday, October 30, and Wednesday, October 31; on those two days it will be on display from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

On Thursday, November 1, 2012, the train will depart Hearne at 8:00 AM and travel northwest, stopping in several cities before reaching its destination of Cheyenne, Wyoming, on Thursday, November 8, 2012.

It is well worth driving to Navasota or Hearne to see this fascinating piece of transportation history.

Additional information about this engine and others may be found at this link:

Friday, October 26, 2012

Camp Hearne Historic Site to Host Third Annual WWII Living History Event

Camp Hearne is bringing World War II history to life during its third annual “A Day in the Life…” living history event on October 27, 2012, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

Camp Hearne, a WWII prisoner-of-war base camp located on FM 485 northwest of Hearne, Texas, has been touted as the best documented POW camp in the United States. Many folks simply do not realize almost 432,000 German, Italian, and Japanese prisoners were housed in the United States during WWII.  Camp Hearne, where more than 4800 mostly German prisoners were detained, is the perfect historic site to tell this story.

You will be able to visit the WWII POW Camp Exhibit, walk the trails to prisoner-built remains, interact with WWII living historians as they “show and tell” their collections, watch weapons demonstrations and view WWII vintage vehicles.  Put on an olive drab shirt and helmet and hop aboard My Gal, a restored jeep, waiting for your photo-op. To really get in the spirit of this day in the past, don your parents’ or grandparents’ 1940s apparel and just make-believe. 

 This tribute is an acknowledgement of contributions made by all Americans during a most difficult time: our fighting soldiers abroad, our service men and women protecting our homeland, our citizens working in the factories and farms, our children gathering scrap iron and rubber, and our families sacrificing their fathers, sons, and brothers.  All contributed to win the war and protect our freedoms.

For additional information, visit or contact Cathy Lazarus or Melissa Freeman at 979-314-7012.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Brazos Heritage Society at Boonville Days

On October 6, 2012, the 7th Annual Boonville Days Living History Fair was held at the Brazos Center.  This was a wonderful event that highlighted life in historic Boonville. Members of the Brazos Heritage Society were present and contributed to this learning experience

Nat Hilliard, Society President, showed how butter was churned, which was a big hit with attendees.  Beverly Myers, the organization’s Treasurer, provided a demonstration of English paper piecing.  In addition, Sheila Fields, Research Chair, had an informative display about the history of Boonville.

Randy and Stephanie Hilliard, Heritage Park Co-Chairs, were present and recorded activities through photographs and a written report.  Stephanie’s comprehensive report of this educational event may be read by going to her blog – Where Hearts Meet Needs: Highlighting the Work of Non-Profit Organizations in My Community and Beyond:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Harvest Tea Cancelled

It is with regret we report the Harvest Tea, scheduled for Saturday, October 27, 2012, at the historic Abbott-Blakely-Chavis House in College Station, has been cancelled due to poor ticket sales.  

The Brazos Heritage Society will consider holding a tea in the spring of 2013.  

Persons who purchased tickets have been notified of the cancellation, and refunds will be made this week.