Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dedication Ceremony Held for Boonville Jail Marker

Members of the Brazos Heritage Society and several community leaders were in attendance at the Boonville Building at 2490 Boonville Road in Bryan on Friday, September 28, 2012, for the unveiling and dedication of the community historical marker for the Boonville Jail.  The Boonville Building, owned by the Duncum family, is located on the site of the old jail.

Society President Nat Hilliard welcomed everyone to the ceremony, and specifically recognized County Judge Duane Peters and Bryan Mayor Jason Bienski. 

Brazos Heritage Society Community Marker
Following the introductions, Dan Beto, the Society’s Vice President, gave the invocation.  He was followed by Sheila Fields, Research Chair for the Society, who provided background information on the Boonville Jail and how the community marker became a reality.  Henry Mayo, Chair of the Brazos County Historical Commission, spoke next about some of the leaders of old Boonville and offered words of thanks to the Society for taking the lead on this project.

Justin Duncum, speaking on behalf of his family, noted their interest in the Boonville community and expressed their thanks to members of the Society who reached out to them with the proposal to have a community marker on their property.

Following the remarks, members of the Duncum family unveiled the marker.

Sheila Fields with members of the Duncum Family
Other members of the Brazos Heritage Society present at this event included Treasurer Beverly Myers and Judge Tom McDonald, Of Counsel.

The Bryan-College Station Eagle was represented by reporter Cassie Smith and award winning photographer Stuart Villanueva; their coverage of this event, appearing in the September 30, 2012, edition of the newspaper, may be found at this link:

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Where in Brazos County? September Contest

The Brazos Heritage Society has been conducting a monthly contest since March of this year in which readers of Heritage Brazos are asked to identify a structure or a location in Brazos County. 

In this latest contest, readers are being asked to identify the item in the accompanying photograph and its location.  Submissions may be sent to Dan Beto at  The submission received by October 15, 2012, with the greatest specificity will be declared the winner.

The winner of this contest will be provided a book – Historic Brazos County.

Past and current members of the Society’s Executive Committee are ineligible to participate.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fall Membership Meeting Held

On September 27, 2012, members of the Brazos Heritage Society gathered at the Matthew Winsper Knobel Memorial Gazebo in Heritage Park for the fall membership meeting and social.

After convening the meeting, President Nat Hilliard called on Judge Tom McDonald, who provided a report on the Boonville Historical Marker and an update on the Queen Theatre restoration.

Tom McDonald
Darrell Lovelette, Director of Bryan’s Parks and Recreation Department, and Blaine Brezina, who is working on the Heritage Park Master Plan as part of fulfilling the requirements to become an Eagle Scout, discussed plans for the planting of trees in the foreseeable future.  Mr. Lovelette also responded to questions about park maintenance issues.  It was noted the Society has received more than $1,100.00 in contributions for the purchase of trees and Keep Brazos Beautiful has committed to providing a number of trees as well.

Darrell Lovelette and Blaine Brezina
President Hilliard provided a status report on the Harvest Tea, scheduled for October 27, 2012, in the Abbott-Blakely-Chavis House in College Station’s historic College Park neighborhood.  She also asked for volunteers to assist with this event.

Beverly Myers, the Society’s Treasurer, reported the Society was still awaiting word on a grant request to fund the restoration of the Astin vintage clothes.  She also advised that some of the clothing would be featured in an exhibit at the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History.

On a final note, President Hilliard advised the Society would participate in the Bryan Christmas Parade on December 14, 2012, and that the Society’s Christmas Stroll in Heritage Park and the East Side Historic District will be held on December 15, 2012.

Prior to and following the formal meeting members gathered in the gazebo to enjoy a selection of delicious refreshments, to become better acquainted with one another, and to learn more about the work of the Society.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Boonville Days Living History Fair 2012

Join the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History for the 7th Annual Boonville Days Living History Fair on Saturday, October 6, 2012, at the Brazos Center, 3232 Briarcrest Drive in Bryan, Texas.  This event will take place from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

This year marks the 4th Annual Buffalo Stampede Half Marathon for 5K Race at 7:30 AM.  In addition, there will be a Chuck Wagon Cookoff.

Celebrate the history of the Brazos Valley at Brazos County’s only living history fair.

For more information about this event and much more, visit the following link:

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Where in Brazos County? August Contest Winner

On August 26, 2012, the Brazos Heritage Society posted its sixth monthly photo contest on Heritage Brazos, where readers of this electronic newsletter were asked to identify a building and its location in Brazos County. 

The announcement for this particular contest may be viewed at the following link:

The person who was the first to correctly identify the location of this building, which has been a store and a beer joint known for serving good hamburgers, was Henry Mayo, a local surveyor, historian, and Chair of the Brazos County Historical Commission.  This building is located at the intersection of Farm Roads 50 and 1687, in an area commonly known as Mudville or Steele’s Store.

According to the Handbook of Texas Online,
Mudville, also known as Steele’s Store, is located at the intersection of farm roads 50 and 1687, on the Southern Pacific Railroad eleven miles west of Bryan in far western Brazos County.  The area was settled in the 1860s and became known as Mudville for the mud common to this floodplain of the Brazos and Little Brazos rivers.  In 1878 a post office, called Steele’s Store, was opened in the store owned by Henry B. Steele, and the names Steele’s Store and Mudville seem to have been used interchangeably by local residents, with Mudville sometimes referring to the wider rural area served by the community.  According to some sources the population was three-fourths black at this time.  Many Italians were farming in the area.  In 1884 Steele’s Store had an estimated population of 150 and two churches, three cotton gins, a steam gristmill, and two general stores.  The community became a station on the Hearne and Brazos Valley Railway in 1891, and by 1896 claimed a population of 350.  In 1904 a school for whites at Steele’s Store had sixty-eight pupils and one teacher.  In 1930 the community comprised an estimated 300 inhabitants and fourteen businesses.  In 1940 it had a church, a school, four businesses, and a number of scattered dwellings.  The post office closed in 1950, and the school had consolidated with Bryan by the 1960s.  In 1988 the community had a number of scattered dwellings and was designated Mudville on maps. In 1992, the Texas Historical Commission placed a historical marker at the site.  [Mark Odintz, “MUDVILLE, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 15, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association].
Congratulations, Henry.  Arrangements will be made for you to receive you prize.