On February 22, 2014, the Brazos Heritage Society held its annual membership meeting at the Brazos Center in Bryan, Texas. At 2:00 PM President Dan Beto called the meeting to order, and immediately called on Deborah Cowman, Executive Director of the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History, with whom the Society has enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship over the years. Dr. Cowman provided a few welcoming remarks and shared information on some of the exciting things going on in the Museum.
The program for this year’s meeting was delivered by Randy Haynes, a Senior Planner with the City of Bryan and a past President of the Society, who spoke on “Preservation Partners.” This thoughtful presentation, which generated quite a bit of discussion, identified a number of organizations and agencies involved in historic preservation and the extent of their involvement. Mr. Haynes also discussed the work of the City of Bryan Historic Landmark Commission and some of the topics under consideration.
Following Mr. Haynes presentation, Mr. Beto provided a few remarks on what had transpired over the past year, citing both progress and disappointments. As for the disappointments, Mr. Beto said:
On August 13, 2013, the Society lost Floyd M. Jones, a past President. For those of you who don’t recall, Dr. Jones attended last year’s membership meeting and had a great time sharing stories during the reception.
Then on January 2, 2014, Dorothy Van Riper, a founding member and a generous supporter of the Brazos Heritage Society, unexpectedly passed away.
And on January 18, 2014, former Brazos County Commissioner Billy Beard died. Now Billy was not a Society member, but we all owe him a debt of gratitude, because he is responsible for cleaning up the Boonville Cemetery. Before he made this one of his projects, the cemetery was a disgrace.
Now I don’t want to dwell on the passing of these three wonderful people, but they each left a legacy that warrants recognition.
On a more positive note, Mr. Beto reported the Society has a new website, thanks to Vice President Isabel McPartlin and her husband. The Society’s electronic newsletter – Heritage Brazos – continues to carry information relevant to the mission of the organization and the interests of the membership. The Astin Clothing Collection, entrusted to the Society many years ago, now has a home with the Heard-Craig Center for the Arts in McKinney, which is the repository for many Astin family items. In addition, the Society provided financial support to the A&M Garden Club for the Richard Carter Park restoration project and to the Brazos Valley African American Museum.
Following his remarks, Mr. Beto began conducting the business of the organization. The first order of business was the approval of the minutes for the 2013 Annual Membership Meeting. Sheila Fields moved that the minutes be approved, and Nat Hilliard seconded the motion; the motion carried.
The Treasurer’s Report, prepared by Beverly Myers, who was unable to attend due to illness, was presented by Mr. Beto. Briefly summarized, the Society has $1,952.61 in a checking account and $8,400.23 in a certificate of deposit, for a total of $10,352.84. As for membership, there are 37 member units in the Society: six individual members ($10.00); 20 family members ($15.00); 10 heritage members ($100.00); and one life member (honorary). Mr. Beto noted that 2014 membership dues are now being accepted. Stephanie Hilliard moved that this report be accepted, and Sheila Fields seconded the motion; the motion carried.
Tom McDonald, Of Counsel to the Executive Committee and who is involved in a number of activities and organizations that share a common purpose – the preservation of our heritage – provided a detailed report on the progress of the restoration of the Queen Theatre and a list of individuals and businesses providing in kind support. He also discussed activities of the Downtown Bryan Association. Judge McDonald reported that St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church will celebrate its 100 anniversary of its worship facility on April 27. He advised the William Joel Bryan Chapter No. 14 of the Sons of the Republic of Texas has finally secured permission from the state to move the Turner-Peters Dogtrot Log Cabin from Grimes County to Brazos County, and that once restored it will be placed adjacent to the Boonville Cemetery. Judge McDonald reported that most of the funds for this project have been raised but that more is needed. He concluded his remarks with a discussion of the restoration of Temple Freda, which has just been deeded to the City of Bryan. Randy Haynes also joined in on this discussion.
Next on the agenda was Stephanie Hilliard, Co-chair of the Events Committee, who spoke about past and planned activities. Upcoming events include the Spring Tea, the Museum of the American G. I. Open House, several proposed day trips for members of the Society, Independence Day festivities in Heritage Park, and Boonville Days.
Sheila Fields, Chair of the Research Committee, recalled the Society’s work in creating a community marker for the old Boonville Jail site; she advised that while there was no current project in the works, she was receptive to considering other community markers for appropriate sites.
Linda Roberts, Char of the Eastside Historic District Committee, was unable to attend the meeting due to a conflict. She provided a written report, which each member received. Mr. Beto advised that this report required no action but encouraged those present to read it.
In the absence of Beverly Myers, Chair of the Nominating Committee, Mr. Beto gave that report. It was the recommendation of the Nominating Committee that the following slate of officers be approved: Stephanie Hilliard for President; Isabel McPartlin for Vice President; Sheila Fields for Secretary; and Beverly Myers for Treasurer. Mr. Beto asked for nominations from the floor, and there were none. Judge McDonald moved that the slate be approved by acclamation, and Randy Haynes seconded the motion; the motion carried.
Mr. Beto congratulated the newly elected officers. He encouraged anyone interested in serving in a leadership role to speak to the new President. He closed the meeting by thanking the members of the Executive Committee for their conscientious service during his term.
The meeting adjourned at 4:00 PM, after which a reception was held in the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History.