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.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Resolution Honoring Brooks Cofer

On September 3, 2012, Brooks Cofer, a longtime supporter of the Brazos Heritage Society, passed away following a brief illness.  In recognition of Brooks’ many contributions to the community, on September 24, 2012, the Society passed the following resolution.


WHEREAS, D. Brooks Cofer, Jr., was born on May 13, 1922, in College Station, Texas.

WHEREAS, Brooks graduated from the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, where he was a member of the Corps of Cadets and Editor-in-Chief of the Battalion.

WHEREAS, Brooks earned a law degree from Washington and Lee University School of Law.

WHEREAS, Brooks served his country honorably in the United States Army, both on active duty during World War II and its aftermath, and in the U. S. Army Reserve, from which he retired as a Lt. Colonel.

WHEREAS, Brooks practiced law in Brazos County from 1953 to 2012; during that period he served as Assistant County Attorney (1955-1960), County Attorney (1960-1969), and District Attorney (1969-1972).  Commencing in 1972 Brooks went into private practice, working tirelessly for the citizens of Brazos County and assisting those in need.

WHEREAS, Brooks devoted countless hours supporting various charities and community organizations.

WHEREAS, Brooks was a longtime supporter and member of the Brazos Heritage Society.

AND WHEREAS, Brooks passed on to his final reward on September 3, 2012, at the age of 90.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Brazos Heritage Society shall expend $225.00 to purchase a tree for Heritage Park in memory of D. Brooks Cofer, Jr.

            APPROVED by the Executive Committee of the Brazos Heritage Society on this 24th day of September, 2012.

                                                                             Nat Hilliard
                                                                                                Nat Hilliard, President

Friday, October 12, 2012

Harvest Tea Scheduled for October

On the afternoon of Saturday, October 27, 2012, the Brazos Heritage Society will host Victorian teas at the beautiful Abbott-Blakely-Chavis House, located at 701 Hereford Street in College Station’s historic College Park neighborhood.  There will be two seatings at the Harvest Tea, the first at 1:00 PM and the second at 4:00 PM.  Everyone is encouraged to wear their best hat; awards will be presented.

The Abbott-Blakely-Chavis Home was built in 1934 in College Station’s historic College Park neighborhood.  The original one-bedroom, one bath structure typified the modest style of construction promoted by New Deal legislation designed to increase the number of homeowners.  

The first owners, John Paul and Virginia Abbott, had long ties to Texas A&M University.  Virginia was the daughter of one of the earlier faculty members in the School of Agriculture.  She married John Paul, who moved to College Station from Ohio in 1925 to teach English.  He later became Chair of the Department of English, then Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences where he spent much of his career.  After serving for a period as Provost, he retired after 50 years at Texas A&M University.  

The home was purchased from the Abbotts by Dr. Craig Blakely and Karan Chavis in 1996.  Dr. Craig Blakely is the Dean of the School of Rural Public Health which gives the house the unique distinction of having had deans as its owners.  Karan Chavis is the Assistant Dean for Planning and Evaluation in the College of Medicine.  

In the fourteen years they have owned the home, the Blakely-Chavis’s have significantly enhanced the property, adding comfort and functionality while preserving the historic charm and bountiful personality of the original residence.  

The price of admission to the Harvest Tea is $40.00 per person, which includes a tour of the home.  For reservations, please call Beverly Myers at (979) 229-9414.  Tickets must be purchased in advance.  Seating is limited so make reservations early.  

Proceeds from this event will go to fulfilling the mission of the Brazos Heritage Society.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

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 October 17, 2012, at the Aldersgate Church as they present:

Hidden Treasures of the Cushing Library
Featuring Dr. Mary Manning

The luncheon is $5.00 per person and begins at 11:30 AM in the Aldersgate 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 the Southwood Community Center at 979-764-6351.