Saturday, May 19, 2012

Where in Brazos County?

Commencing in March, the Brazos Heritage Society began conducting a monthly contest in which readers of Heritage Brazos are asked to identify a structure or a location in Brazos County. 

In this third contest, readers are being asked to identify the building in the accompanying photograph and its location.  Submissions may be sent to Dan Beto at

The winner of this contest will be treated to a Starbucks coffee by Society Events Coordinator Fran Lamb.  In addition, as part of the prize, the winner will be provided a book – Historic Brazos County.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Historic Allenfarm Tour

On May 9, 2012, the Millican Heritage Society sponsored a tour of the historic Allenfarm, located in Southern Brazos County, made possible through the generosity of Bill Terrell, who provided a history of the farm and the area.  Approximately 20 people attended this wonderful experience, several of whom were members of the Brazos Heritage Society.  Prior to the tour, lunch was served under the shade of the large Cottonwood trees by officers of the Millican Heritage Society.

Information about Allenfarm may be found on The Handbook of Texas Online at the following link:

There were a number of historic buildings open for the tour, including a train depot, farm house, blacksmith shop, company store, barber shop, houses once used by sharecroppers, a farm office, and an outhouse.  Some people were deterred from using the outhouse during part of the visit because there was a live chicken snake inside on the bench.

The tour was very informative and provided a glimpse of Brazos Valley farm life, both past and present.  Persons who participated in this educational experience expressed gratitude to members of the Millican Heritage Society and Bill Terrell for making this tour possible.

Found below is a Smilebox presentation containing a number of photographs taken on May 9, 2012.

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New Issue of Texas Insights

The Texas State Historical Association, in cooperation with its partners, is proud to offer Texas Insights, an electronic newsletter designed to share opportunities for Texas teachers and students while promoting effective instructional practices.  The newsletter is distributed via email in August, October, January, March, and May.

The May 2012 issue of this electronic publication may be accessed by visiting the following link:

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Wipprecht House Ceremony

On the afternoon of May 6, 2012, approximately 25 people gathered at 500 East 29th Street in Bryan, Texas, to attend the unveiling and dedication of the Recorded Texas Historic Landmark Marker for the Wipprecht House, now the home of the law practice of Philip Banks and his daughter, Amy Banks.  Attending the ceremony were members of the Brazos County Historical Commission, representatives of the Brazos Heritage Society, and interested citizens.

Welcoming those in attendance was Henry Mayo, Chair of the Brazos County Historical Commission, who also served as master of ceremonies.  Speaking about the Wipprecht family and the history of the house were J. Russell Bradley, Jr., DDS, R. Bruce Buechler, MD, and Philip C. Banks, JD.  Following the informative and entertaining presentations the Texas Historical Marker was unveiled by Phil and Amy Banks.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, those in attendance were invited inside the law offices for refreshments and for tours offered by Phil, Martha, and Amy Banks.

For the ceremony’s printed program, Phil had prepared a brief written account of the Wipprecht family and their house.  The text of that brief history follows:

The person responsible for the construction of the house at 500 East 29th Street in Bryan, Texas, was Walter Wipprecht.  Walter was born at Sisterdale, Texas, in 1864 to a German immigrant family.  Walter graduated from Texas A&M in 1884 and became the first graduate student in the school’s history in 1885.

Walter grew up to be a successful businessman who gave back years of service to his community and years of devotion to his family.  Walter Wipprecht had the house at 500 East 29th Street constructed for his mother and sister on their return to Texas from Germany.

Walter hired the great builder Charlie Jenkins and his draftsman brother George to construct this house.  The care and attention to detail, the precision and workmanship of the construction are readily apparent 114 years later.

When the home was inspected in 2001, the inspector said it was in better condition than the majority of new construction home he examined.  The combination of the Jenkins brothers building the house for Walter Wipprecht resulted in a significant building that has stood the test of time. 

Walter was a trained scientist and scholar who was also the President of the Bryan Telephone Company and the Bryan Press Company.  He was elected to serve five times as the Brazos County Tax Assessor and was President of the Aggie Alumni Organization.  Walter served as an instructor in chemistry and physics at Texas A&M as well as the first chemist for the Texas Experiment Station.  He served as Comptroller of Texas A&M for many years.

Walter took over the house from his mother and sister and later left it to his daughter, Ida W. Kernodle.  Her estate conveyed the property to Dr. and Mrs. Bruce Buechler, who sold it to the present owners, Philip and Martha Banks.  Thus only three families have owned this magnificent house over 114 years.

The citizens of Brazos County owe Dr. and Mrs. Buechler and the Banks family a debt of gratitude for their efforts to preserve this beautiful piece of history.

Found below is a presentation containing photographs from this event.

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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Plan to Attend the Antiques Sideshow

The 2012 Antiques Sideshow – the Brazos Valley’s version of the Antiques Roadshow – will be held on Saturday, May 19, 2012, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM in the library of Fannin Elementary School, located at Baker Street and 29th Street in Bryan. 

Doors will open at 9:45 AM with reviews beginning at 10:00 AM.  Doors will close at 1:30 PM to allow for all who have entered to visit with a reviewer.  A $10 donation per consultation will admit visitors to meet with a reviewer.  Five reviewers will cover the following categories: art, vintage jewelry, china and glassware, dolls and toys, linens and quilts, books, and political ephemera.  No furniture will be allowed due to space constraints.

Parking is allowed on the street and in areas reserved for PTO members and school staff.  Signs will be posted to direct people to the event.

So dust off your attic treasures and Grandma’s hand-me-downs and join us on May 19th for an exciting day at the 2012 Antiques Sideshow!

For additional information, contact Fran Lamb at

Friday, May 4, 2012

Wipprecht House Historical Marker Dedication Scheduled

The Banks law firm and Brazos County Historical Commission will be holding an unveiling and dedication ceremony for the newly designated Recorded Texas Historic Landmark – The Wipprecht House.  The Queen Anne style house, located at 500 East 29th Street in Bryan, was constructed by George and Charlie Jenkins.  It has been described by preservation consultants as “one of the few intact Victorianera houses in the City.”

In addition to the architectural historic significance, the Wipprecht family made significant contributions to agricultural science and had great influence in keeping A&M College in College Station.

The dedication ceremony for the marker will be held at the home at 2:00 PM on Sunday, May 6, 2012. 

Historical information on other historic marker sites in Brazos County can be found online at

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Where in Brazos County? April Contest Winner

On April 19, 2012, the Brazos Heritage Society posted its second 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 winner of the April 2012 “Where in Brazos County?” photo contest is Warren Hohertz – a master at the barbecue pit and a mean piano player – who successful identified the building appearing in the photograph as the Union Baptist Church, located on FM 974 near Edge.

According to The Handbook of Texas Online,

Union is a small rural community on Farm Road 974 about fourteen miles northeast of Bryan in northern Brazos County.  This settlement probably began by the early 1900s. County highway maps in the 1930s showed a church, school, and scattered dwellings in the area.  Though Union still appeared on maps in the late twentieth century no population statistics were available.  [Laurie E. Jasinski, “UNION, TX (BRAZOS COUNTY),” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed April 22, 2012.  Published by the Texas State Historical Association].

Congratulations, Warren.  Arrangements will be made for you to accept your prize.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Electronic Newsletter First Year Report

Heritage Brazos, the electronic newsletter of the Brazos Heritage Society, had its inception in May 2011.  After a year in existence, the Society’s newsletter has had 2,584 online visits. 

While the vast majority of those visits were from within the United States, the newsletter’s website was also viewed by people in the following countries (listed in alphabetical order): Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Hong Kong, Hungary, India Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Malaysia, Namibia, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and Vietnam.

In decreasing order, the ten countries with the most visits are: United States – 2,256; Russia – 90; United Arab Emirates – 50; Canada – 24; France – 19; United Kingdom – 18; Germany – 17; Thailand – 16; Poland – 8; and Egypt – 5.

The Society’s online newsletter contains all the information as the one mailed to members, and much more.