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2015 Annual Meeting Report

Written by Brazos Heritage President on . Posted in Blog

Brazos Heritage Society met on Saturday, February 21 from 3-6 p.m. at the Brazos Center in Bryan for our 2015 Annual Meeting.

Here are the highlights of that meeting:

We had approximately 10 members and several guests form the community join us for the meeting.

Mr. Casey Eichhorn, Education Director for the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum gave an excellent, and very well-received, talk on the history of the Rangers. In fact, the talk ran long because everyone was so engrossed in the topic and asked a lot of questions. We were very glad to have Mr. Eichhorn join us. He enjoyed his visit with us (he’s an Aggie!) and expressed an interest in future collaborations with BHS.

After Mr. Eichhorn’s talk, Mr. Randy Haynes presented on the history and current status (as much as known) of the Cavitt House. With the uncertain state of the house’s future, this was a timely and appreciated talk.
 

After Mr. Haynes’ presentation, I gave a short update on the Turner-Peters Dogtrot Cabin project and Temple Freda.

I then led a short discussion about doing a future symposium on buying and preserving historic homes. This idea was proposed by Mrs. Mary Wells of College Station. I believe this is an excellent idea and this will be one of the ventures we’ll be working on this year.

We then held a short business meeting. I read the report from our Treasurer, Mrs. Beverly Myers, who could not attend. The organization currently has just over $7000 in funds available, including an $800 donation from Hochhein Prairie Branch #219. I can provide you with an exact dollar amount if you would like the numbers.

While our bylaws do not require us to maintain a written budget in order to operate, I believe that this is a good idea and I will be working on pulling one together over the next couple months. Several times in the past we have had one, so I will build off the information I’ve received from Mrs. Nat Hilliard and Mrs. Colleen Batchelor to develop what I hope will be a permanent working document. While a budget makes good business sense, it is also crucial if we want to pursue any outside grant funding.

I also read the report from our Events Chair regarding the outcomes of last year’s 4th of July in Heritage Park, Boonville Days, and our Liendo Plantation day trip. This coming year, we will not be doing any day trips due to low attendance, but we are already gearing up for 4th of July. We also plan to participate again in Boonville Days as this is a good public relations event for us. Our other proposed event will be the symposium that I mentioned earlier.
 

Finally, we held our yearly elections. Our nomination committee met and the current slate of officers agreed to serve for another year. We opened up the floor for nominations at the meeting. Not receiving any further nominations, Mr. Randy Haynes moved that the slate of officers be approved. This motion was seconded and passed with no dissent.

After the meeting, many of us stayed around and chatted while enjoying a nice variety of finger foods and punch.

I want to personally thank everyone who was able to make the meeting. For those who could not, we missed you. I hope to see you at other events through the year.

As always, if you have any questions, concerns or ideas please feel free to contact me. I value hearing from our membership in order to best represent your interests in how we pursue historic preservation and education in Brazos County.

Regards,

Stephanie Hilliard

President

2015 Annual Meeting

Written by Brazos Heritage President on . Posted in Announcements, Events

Join us on Saturday, February 21 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Brazos Center for the Brazos Heritage Society’s annual meeting. This year our speaker comes all the way from the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco to tell us about the history of Texas’ famous lawkeepers. We will follow the talk with our business meeting and elections. A reception will be held after the meeting.

You do not need to be a current Brazos Heritage Society member to attend.

We hope you will join us!

President’s Message – November 2014

Written by Brazos Heritage President on . Posted in Blog

EVENTS
We’ve had a busy summer and fall. In July, of course, we put on our annual 4th of July in Heritage Park. It was very successful; we had a great turnout both in terms of exhibitors and guests.

Our next event was the first weekend in October with Boonville Days. Unfortunately, because we were somewhat short-handed for that booth, we didn’t get any photos.

Finally, we did a day trip to Liendo Plantation’s Civil War Re-enactment Weekend on Sunday, November 21. As always, members enjoyed viewing the pre-Civil War plantation house, the many display booths, and the
afternoon re-enactment of what a Civil War battle might have looked like.

PROJECTS
Brazos Heritage Society is currently involved with two preservation projects: the Turner-Peters Dog-Trot Cabin project that will form the center of the new Boonville Historic site and the restoration of Temple
Freda, the area’s first Jewish synagogue.

UPCOMING
Mark your calendars for Saturday, February 21, 2015 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. for our BHS annual meeting. Our guest speaker will be from the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum. A reception will follow.

FOR THE FUTURE
What I particularly wanted to cover in this issue is our future focus. The organization has a rich history spanning several decades. We’ve seen both ups and downs in terms of membership, community involvement, etc.

One thing that any organization must deal with as they reach maturity is maintaining relevance for the audience that they serve. Brazos Heritage Society is no different. Over the past few months, the Executive Committee has been discussing ways to increase our visibility and relevance within the community, as both have diminished over the years. Because of this diminishment, our resources are also less, forcing us to reassess what activities we can realistically support.

Our July 4th event is a foundational, and growing, opportunity for community outreach and one we fully plan to continue. Unfortunately, due to a variety of circumstances, we are not currently able to continue putting on our annual Tea or the Christmas Stroll. The Tea in particular is very cost- and labor-intensive to hold. While at times it has functioned as an effective fundraiser, in recent years it has not brought in enough money to justify the expense and time.

One thing that the Executive Committee did vote to continue was our Day Trips. For those who don’t know, we organize group trips to area historical events such as the Camp Hearne Open House, Liendo Plantation’s Civil War Re-Enactment, and the Museum of the American GI Open House. We are always on the lookout for additional trips/venues. Typically, members receive a discount on admission (if there is a charge to attend), or on food if the event itself is free. Typically, attendees meet at the event, gather long enough for either a meal or to hand out tickets, and then are free to explore the event on their own. These trips provide a benefit to members at a modest cost to the organization.

Obviously, our involvement in the two preservation projects mentioned earlier in my message fulfills our mandate for historic preservation and provides yet another opportunity to increase our visibility on top of our social events. Additionally, all of our events and projects let us network with not only the general public but with other organizations in the area that contribute to preserving local history. We will continue leveraging both of these to our fullest advantage. Specifically, networking with other organizations will allow us to effectively liaison with the public and direct them to the appropriate resource for their needs.

One area receiving far too little attention in the past few years has been our educational focus. While we once had a presence in the local school districts, that is no longer the case. Although we cannot do as much in terms of events as we once did, the advent of modern technology WILL allow us to bolster our educational presence at a minimal cost. To that end, one thing that came out of our Board discussions was a consensus that we increase our educational efforts via technology through our web page plus interactions on social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

If you look at our website, you’ll see that we’ve already begun this process by posting information about the Tuner-Peters Dog-Trot Cabin project, including providing an opportunity to donate to the project through our website. If the Temple Freda page is not up by the time you receive this newsletter, it will be shortly after.

Furthermore, we plan to provide a variety of other resources on the website, such as genealogical links, historical links, etc. This project is underway and will be ongoing as we are able to pull together information. Sheila Fields (Secretary and Research Chair) will be assisting with this, as will our new member, Stephanie Snyder, who recently joined the Research committee.

Long story short, our current circumstances in terms of membership numbers and involvement, as well as our finances, are requiring us to rethink where we focus our time and energy. Ultimately, this may not be a bad thing because it will let us re-balance our efforts. Additionally, a greater educational profile may very well increase our public visibility to the point that we gain members. AND, we hope that this focus will also position us to successfully compete for grant funding which will, in turn, increase our financial resources and allow us to return to providing social events at a later date.

So, that was the bad news – which is really a mixed bag of both limitations and opportunities.

The good news is that the Brazos Heritage Society recently received a donation from Hochheim Prairie Insurance Branch #219, a farm mutual insurance company that has been serving Texans since 1892.* They recently sent us a check in the amount of $800! It was a very pleasant surprise and will provide some much-needed cash to help us keep moving forward. I am deeply grateful for their support and want to express my gratitude to President Dwight Miller, in particular, for this windfall.

Ultimately, continuing as a successful organization in the 21st century will require us to shift our paradigm in certain areas of operation. However, as I promised in my initial President’s Letter, any changes made in function or focus will always seek to honor both the original purpose of the Brazos Heritage Society, its rich history, and the hard work of all the members – and leaders – who came before our current team.

BHS does not consist of just its Executive Committee. We depend on our members for their support, their enthusiasm, and their ideas. I am always open to questions, ideas, and even criticism. Hopefully, we will manage your organization in such a way that criticism will be few and far between! Either way, please take the opportunity to dialogue with us and let us know your thoughts and ideas. Sometime early next year, I hope to develop a survey that will give us a more formal avenue for member input. I’ll keep you posted on this project.

In the meantime, you can reach me by email at brazos.heritage@gmail.com or by phone at 979-777-4924. You can call or text me at that number. I’m also always happy to make time to meet in person if needed or if you would just like to chat.

 

(*Disclosure: I am a board member for Branch #219. However, I was not directly involved in the final
decision to donate to the Brazos Heritage Society, nor did I determine the amount of that donation.)
_________________________
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Historical Presentation

Written by Brazos Heritage President on . Posted in Events

On Friday, August 1, 2014 at 7:30 p.m., the Brazos Heritage Society is sponsoring a presentation titled “The Texas Presidency: How David G. Burnet, Sam Houston, Mirabeau Lamar, and Anson Jones Shaped Texas History.” The presenter, Ben Zimmer, is the son of local College of Medicine professor Warren Zimmer and a sophomore majoring in history and Asian studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

This event will be held at the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History’s Discovery Room. It is free to the public and I would like to encourage all Brazos Heritage Society members to attend and support this young man’s scholarly research into Republic of Texas history. A reception will follow the presentation.

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